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Barstow ordinance will see minor changes

City of Barstow staff made some minor changes to an alternative energy ordinance before presenting it last week for a first reading vote. City of Barstow Councilman Merrill Gracey said he was especially appreciative of one change.

At the June 16 meeting, he asked staff for a requirement for some kind of lighting on wind turbines to alert pilots who may be flying air­craft nearby. Changes in the ordi­nance called for a flashing red or flashing medium intensity white obstruction light.

“Having had many towers, wind generators, power lines, whatever, appear in windshield of a helicop­ter landing off site – thank you for addressing that,” Gracey said. “(Unmarked structures) cheated me of many heartbeats through the years.”

The Council on July 7 voted 5-0 to approve the first reading. According to the staff report, the purpose of the ordinance is to address the increasing demand for alternative energy and reduce the government barriers to roof-mounted photovoltaic systems. Although most applications for alternative energy have been for residential installation of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, the report says other forms have been considered and proposed. In addition, the report said this particular industry is frequently changing and may require regular amendments to the ordinance to address new technological advances. The report said the ordinance is intended to reduce risk and impacts.

Here are four things to know about the alternative energy ordinance: 1. Wind generators are required to be located behind the primary building. Not within the front or street side yard and a minimum of 1.1 times the overall structure height from all property lines. But in no case should it be less than 100 feet from any property line.

The wind generator shall be located so that it does not exceed the evening noise standard at any property line. Noise generation shall not exceed 60 dBA at any property line .

2. Commercial energy production systems should be located on a minimum of 10 acres of land and screened from public view.

Photovoltaic systems are recommended for roof-mounted applications for single-family, multi-family, commercial and industrial installations.

3. The ordinance should not be construed as a city requirement that land uses be equipped with electrical vehicle charging capacity.

New multiple-family residential development that provides one AC Level 2 electrical charging station for each 10 residential units shall be accorded incentives such as density bonuses, reduction in parking standards, reductions in setbacks as approved by the planning department.

4. In the event that the solar or wind energy generating system is not in operational condition for a consecutive period of six months, or ceased operation, operations for that use shall be deemed to have been discontinued. The Code Compliance Department or Planning Department will send written notice to the permittee advising of the discontinued use and require that the use be removed form the site.