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Property setbacks only answer to solving turbine controversy

A diagram recently distributed in the media, and by people who support responsible turbine siting, has caused controversy. The diagram illustrated the size of the area of land impacted by the erection of a wind turbine, and stated that landowners would be limited in their ability to build on their own property if a turbine was placed nearby. Some have called this misinformation, so I will correct it by stating that landowners would not be able to safely build on portions of their own property if a turbine is sited nearby.

The County Master Plan’s purpose is to protect the Health Safety and Welfare of all Huron County residents. That is the sworn duty of all public servants.

The wind turbine manufacturer Vestas set safety standards for its maintenance personnel. Their safety manual states “If a runaway operation should occur, the plant must be evacuated immediately by running upwind, and access to the surrounding area in a radius of at least 500 metres must be restricted” (500m is 1,640 feet). But current Huron County zoning allows turbines to be constructed 1,320 feet from homes. This often turns significant portions of neighboring people’s property into evacuation zones.

Huron County’s Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith has stated that the zoning ordinance restricts placement of wind turbines, but does not restrict from building on adjacent property as long as the building complies with zoning ordinance. Therefore, they can build there if they chose to.

Would that include lease holders and non-lease holders? If so, do non-lease holders have to ask the developer’s permission to build on their own land?

Huron County’s wind zoning ordinance obviously contradicts published Health, Safety and Welfare standards and thus places non-leaseholders at risk.

Is there an answer to something of this magnitude? Yes! Reanalyze the present ordinance while under a moratorium and then enact property line setbacks for wind turbines.

Finally: in a county that is mired in wind turbine controversy I believe all constituents should be treated fairly and no one should be referred to as an “anti-wind” constituent.

Louis J. Colletta

Huron County Resident