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Neighbours not happy about 72 foot tower in subdivision; Small-scale wind turbine going up at Craigleith home

The Blue Mountains bylaw enforcement staff issued a stop-work order on construction of a wind turbine at a residential property in Craigleith, but it may not last.

With a smaller generator on the turbine, the owner may not need any permission from the town or the MOE to go ahead with construction of the 72-foot structure.

A landowner on Kimheather Crescent (off Timmons St. in Craigleith) began preparations to erect a 3.5 kW wind turbine on his property, but was forced to stop on September 23 when a bylaw enforcement officer discovered he had no building permit from the town.

A turbine of this wattage requires both a building permit and approvals from the Ministry of the Environment as a renewable energy project.

The town then received a building permit application on October 1, for a 72-foot tall, 3.5 kW wind turbine to be located approximately 25-feet from the house and 35-feet from the property line.

To secure this building permit, the landowner will have to demonstrate they have Ministry of Environment approvals in place. According to David Finbow, The Blue Mountains director of planning and building services, this has not been done. Therefore the town has not issued a building permit. But that may be a moot point if the landowner reduces the wattage of the turbine.

The owner of the property, Paul Gruppuso, refused to comment on the project.

The Green Energy Act permits the property owner to build and install the turbine without permits using the same tower (72-feet high) and propellers but installing a smaller generator (less than 3 kW).

Heather Pollard, district supervisor for the Owen Sound district MOE, said there’s been no application made to the MOE. However, she said it’s her understanding the landowner will change the turbine to a 1.5 kW model, which will not require renewable energy project approval.

If the turbine is under 3 kW, it will not require a building permit from the town either.

“The municipality has no control over these things at all,” said Finbow.

Nothing can be done on a municipal level to stop a wind turbine less than 3 kW from being installed in The Blue Mountains.

The turbine will still be subject to the rules set out in the environmental protection act, which dictates noise limits. However, the turbine can be built and the MOE would investigate noise on a complaints basis following the construction of the turbine.

“A turbine can’t operate in a way that causes adverse impacts to surrounding environments or community,” said Heather Pollard.

Other residents on Kimheather Crescent believe there will be adverse impacts on their neighbourhood.

“I’m devastated,” said Brian Withers. “It’s terrible … We don’t want it at all.”

Withers found out about the turbine when he saw a flat bed truck arrive to the property carrying wind turbine parts. He said the turbine tower is assembled, but lying on the ground because the foundation isn’t yet complete.

Withers said he’s concerned about noise and potential decrease to property values because of the sight of a wind turbine in the nieghbourhood.

Withers said he doesn’t know how much noise will come from the turbine, but he expects it will be noisy due to the propellers.

“It’s the wrong thing in the wrong place,” said Withers. “Anything like this, that gets mounted up to this height, that doesn’t regard the neighbourhood that’s here is unbelievable.”

Withers said Kimheather court is a “good residential community” with “high-end homes” and it’s been well-established. He believes a wind turbine on 108 Kimheather will hurt property values a lot.