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Tipton County changing future wind farm setbacks; Turbines must be half-mile from residential dwelling

The setbacks for the placement of future wind turbines in Tipton County have been changed to 2,640 feet from the nearest residential dwelling.

Members of the Tipton County Plan Commission voted Thursday on several proposed changes to the county’s wind ordinance.

The commission set as the minimum setback distance at 1,500 feet from a wind turbine to the nearest property line, but then added the provision that a turbine has to be a half-mile (2,640 feet) from the nearest residential structure.

Commission members also approved a recommendation that no wind turbine be located within one mile (5,280 feet) of a municipal boundary or county boundary.

Jason Henderson, president of the Plan Commission, said residential non-participating property owners could waive the setback requirement in writing.

The proposed changes to the wind ordinance would not impact the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in northwestern Tipton County being planned by juwi Wind.

The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals earlier approved a conditional use permit with the conditions the turbines can’t be placed within 1,500 feet of a non-participating residential property line and required a property value guarantee.

The BZA will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Tipton High School auditorium to consider juwi’s proposed property value guarantee.

Henderson said he will work with an Ad Hoc Committee of six local residents to develop a procedure for complaints filed against the wind farm operator. He said the process has to include an arbitrator and a fee for filing of a complaint.

Several other changes in the county’s wind ordinance were approved by commission members including:

All lighting shall adhere to but not exceed requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration. The ordinance will include a provision for an FAA approved Aircraft Detection System to activate the red lights on the top of the tower when aircraft approaches the wind farm.

Limited shadow flicker from the passage of the turbine blade between the sun and the residence to not more than 30 minutes per day and not to exceed 30 hours in a year. Future wind companies will be required to use the latest technology to prevent shadow flicker.

Set the noise level at 5 decibels above the ambient sound levels for an area. Applicants have to present information from an independent acoustical engineer to determine the ambient noise level.

Members approved a “Good Neighbor” notice requiring companies to provide written notice to all property owners within 1,320 feet of a wind farm. The notice has to be delivered within 30 days prior to any official action being taken. The notice should include a map, opportunity to meet with company officials and a list of county government steps required to obtain approval for a project.