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Wind energy ordinance moves forward  

Credit:  Marla Toncray | The Ledger Independent | maysville-online.com ~~

The first step has been taken by county officials to ban industrial wind turbines from Mason County.

After months of discussion and listening to concerned citizens, Wind Energy Ordinance 14-09 had its first reading Tuesday during Mason County Fiscal Court.

The ordinance must undergo a second reading and vote before it becomes official within the county. That vote is expected to take place at a special meeting on Sept. 30.

The 26-page ordinance is based upon the facts and findings of the Mason County Joint Planning Commission at an August 2014 meeting. The recommendations were the culmination of months of discussion, public meetings and a trip to an Indiana wind farm by JPC board members.

In summary, the ordinance will ban large-scale industrial wind turbines in the county, except in already designated industrial zones. The ordinance will allow mid to small scale turbines for accessory use at a principal site, not for the purpose of sending the energy across electric transmission lines.

Restrictions on large industrial wind turbines include: turbines can only be located in areas of the county zoned rural industrial (I3); one mile set back distances without any waivers whatsoever, from the following: property lines, public roads and right-of-ways, community zones, incorporated cities/towns, platted subdivisions, public or semi-public structures such as schools and/or churches, historical landmarks, cell towers, electric transmission lines, railroads, and to strictly follow any regulations as set out by the Kentucky Airport Zoning Commission; noise restrictions not to exceed 30 dB(A) scale at any non-participating property line and less than 50 dB(C) scale.

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.

“It’s about as prohibitive an ordinance that you can have,” said County Attorney John Estill.

Ordinance 14-09 also repeals Ordinance 14-04 passed in April which addressed permitting for such construction projects as a wind turbine farm. The ordinance was a stop gap measure by county officials to give the Joint Planning Commission time to do its job in setting recommendations.

Ordinance 14-04 required 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.

In other business, the court heard the first reading of Ordinance 14-10 to address residential treatment centers in the county. The measure comes less than a week after a meeting of the Joint Planning Commission to address the definition of what a residential treatment center is.

A contingent of citizens from around the county, and primarily from Minerva attended the meeting to voice objections to such a facility being in agricultural zones.

Board members of the JPC voted to exclude such facilities in agriculture zones, allowing such centers in the B-2 Highway Business Zone and the I-1A Light Industrial Zone. The definition of a residential treatment center, as set forth under the recommendation is: “programs offering medical and non-medical detoxification from all substances, long term treatment following detoxification, which includes individual, group and family counseling. The residents of such treatment programs do not leave the program premises for work or other assignments or activities …facility is licensed by Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services.”

County Commissioners will vote on the residential treatment center ordinance at the Sept. 30 special meeting of Mason County Fiscal Court.

A copy of Ordinance 14-09 can be found online with this story at www.maysville-online.com

Source:  Marla Toncray | The Ledger Independent | maysville-online.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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