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Wind turbine ordinance receives final approval

An ordinance aimed at tighter control over construction of such structures as wind turbines was given final approval Tuesday by county officials.

During a regular meeting of Mason County Fiscal Court, the second reading of Ordinance 14-04 was unanimously passed by commissioners Phil Day, Pat McKay IV, Annette Walters and Judge-Executive James L. “Buddy” Gallenstein. The action is the result of nearly one year of discussion about a possible wind turbine farm proposed in May’s Lick by Duke Energy Renewables.

The ordinance amends county Ordinance 05-08 to require permits to construct otherwise non-regulated structures or facilities creating electric power, creating an inspection program for such projects, and requiring fees therefore, and otherwise mandating the creation of safety standards for such structures or facilities.

Under the ordinance, “a development and construction permit is hereby required prior to construction or erection of any wind powered electric generating plants, any solar powered generating plants, any other object which is a merchant electric generating facility as defined in KRS 278.700 (2), provided that any facility or structure which is regulated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Public Service Commission, and service facilities in connection with a regulated utility’s structures or facility, shall be exempted from the permit requirements and otherwise are not subjected to this ordinance.”

The ordinance calls for: a pre-construction notice of at least 180 days before submission of an application for a construction permit…; a construction permit reviewed by the judge-executive; an application fee of $2,500; inspection schedule during and after construction; and structure and facilities standards, which are yet to be adopted.

Structure and facilities standards would include but are not limited to: electric transmission lines and station; height/blade clearance; lighting; noise; nuisance issues such as shadow flicker; water resources.

Issuance of construction permits as outlined in the ordinance are also prohibited until the development of standards outlined in the document are adopted.

In other business, the court:

— Approved the second reading of Ordinance 14-05 related to a budget amendment for a grant for work to be conducted on the Tanyard House on Maddox Alley.

— Approved the first reading of Ordinance 14-06 to close Pumpelly Lane Road.

— Learned work on the Flat Fork Road bridge should begin in three weeks.

— Accepted a bid from Chesapeake Containment Systems Inc. in the amount of $104,247 for the installation of Phase 4/5 Geocomposite Drainage Net at the Maysville-Mason County Landfill.

— Accepted a bid from Fisher and Barger in the amount of $62,800 to install a temperature control system at the Mason County Detention Center.

— Approved department reports from the Mason County sheriff, treasurer, landfill, recycling and solid waste center, animal shelter, and detention center.

The next regular meeting of the Mason County Fiscal Court will be held May 13, at 9 a.m.