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JPC to set wind turbine recommendations

The Maysville-Mason County Joint Planning Commission will meet Wednesday, Aug. 6, to determine its final recommendations on wind turbines in Mason County.

Since May 2013, the subject of a possible wind turbine farm in May’s Lick and neighboring Fleming County has dominated discussion at Mason County Fiscal Court meetings.

In February, the matter was put before the JPC for the purpose of drafting any recommendations on the regulation of wind turbines in the county.

The JPC has continued the process of drafting recommendations, despite the fact two companies, Duke Energy Renewables and NextEra Energy Resources, both officially discontinued potential wind turbine projects in the county in May of this year.

Zoning Administrator Matt Wallingford said Friday no public comment will be taken during Wednesday’s meeting, which is the final duty of the JPC’s involvement on the subject related to zoning guidelines.

In meetings held in June and July, board members agreed upon restrictions on large industrial wind turbines to include: turbines could only be located in areas of the county zoned rural industrial (I3); set back distances would be one mile, 5,280 feet, from property lines; property owners who sign agreements with wind energy companies would receive no waiver on the set back limitation; and sound levels would be restricted to 30 decibels or less.

Existing locations of rural industrial zones in the county are: on the western end of the county in Dover; at the western end of the city limits on Kentucky 8 near East Kentucky Power Cooperative; and in the eastern end of the county in Plumville near the Carmeuse Lime and Stone mine.

The recommendations, if adopted by county officials, would eliminate the threat of large industrial wind turbines of being located in agriculture zoned areas.

The JPC also recommends a no waiver clause, meaning land owners who have, or might, sign leases with wind energy companies for placement of a large wind turbine, wouldn’t be able to join the parcels together to get around the one mile set back.

The JPC has also decided to treat small to mid-scale wind turbines as accessory use by right.

The accessory use classification is attached to windmill power produced at a principal site, for use only at that site.

An example of an accessory use turbine is located on the property of the Mason County Area Technical School on Kenton Station Road. Considered a small turbine, it produces energy specifically for use at the school and not for other sites or purposes.

Under the recommendation to classify small to mid-scale turbines, the following restrictions will be recommended to the Mason County Fiscal Court.

The maximum height in every zone of the county will be 75 feet; setbacks will be 1.1 times the distance of the height of the structure from a structure; sound levels will be less than 30 DSA and less than 50 DBC; abandonment and decommissioning requirements; insurance coverage; speed control and electrode magnetic control.

During Wednesday’s meeting, board members will fine tune the language of the final recommendations. The recommendation will be sent to county and city governing bodies, who will have the duty of drafting and voting upon, ordinances related to wind turbine zoning.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall Commission Chambers.