NEWPORT – A proposal to bring the area’s first wind-energy facility has two Carteret County jurisdictions preparing new and amended ordinances to regulate tall structures, such as wind turbines.
The Newport Board of Commissioners adopted the town’s first tall structures ordinance at its November meeting. The ordinance establishes a height limit, setback and noise requirements, and includes a measure to protect property values near the facility.
Town planner Bob Chambers said the ordinance includes a property value protection requirement. That requirement would establish grounds to protect non-participating property owners who own tracts within two miles of the facility that have been devalued because of the facility. The ordinance states that such losses could be recouped from the wind energy facility’s owner.
The loss must accompany an appraisal and be filed within 10 years of the alleged loss.
It’s an addition to the ordinance they felt was an important protection.
“We thought it was pretty significant,” Chambers said.
The Newport ordinance also sets a maximum height limit of 550 feet, and for large utility-size wind turbines, there is a 2,500-foot setback requirement from the turbine to the non-participating property line. A non-participating property is property not part of a project.
“We’re not prohibiting anything, but if they are permitted in our zone they have to play by the rules,” Chambers said.
No applications have yet been made at the town or county level, but plans have been proposed for a wind energy facility to be located in the county.
Under new state legislation, anyone seeking to construct, operate or expand a wind energy facility in North Carolina is required to get a permit from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
A Texas-based company has begun that process.
Torch Renewable LLC has proposed plans for a wind and solar energy facility that would be located on more than 7,000 acres in the Newport area.
Most of the proposed site is land owned by Weyerhauser, with about 150 acres private property. A portion of the site is located within the Town of Newport’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and the rest within the county’s jurisdiction
The proposal calls for about 40 wind turbines as well as solar panel farm. The company plans to sell power from the facility to Duke Energy Progress.
While a permit application has not yet been filed with the state, a scoping meeting, one of the first steps in the application process, was held earlier this month in Wilmington with the applicant and agencies involved in the permitting and review of the project, according to DENR information.
The meeting included representatives from Torch, several divisions in DENR, Carteret County and the Town of Newport, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries and military organizations.
In addition to a state permit, town and county approval will be required.
Chambers said that the area within the town’s ETJ is zoned by R-20 and R-20A. Wind energy facilities are only allowed by conditional use permit within the R-20 zone.
Carteret County has had a tall structures ordinance in place for several years, but several text amendments were approved this week.
County Planning Director Jim Jennings said several text amendments were approved to minimize adverse impacts to military airspace over the county.
He said the wording primarily makes it clear that anyone seeking a tall structure permit in the county must prove to the county planning board that there won’t be adverse impacts to military airspace
He said that they also reviewed the ordinance for improvements in light of new ordinances being developed in nearby counties.
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