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Botetourt to host public forum Tuesday on wind turbine ordinance  

Credit:  By Laurence Hammack | The Roanoke Times | April 20, 2015 | www.roanoke.com ~~

The possibility of a commercial wind farm in Botetourt County will get its first public reaction on Tuesday.

County residents and others are invited to a public forum from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Greenfield Education and Training Center in Daleville.

The focus of the presentation will be on wind energy in general and the details of a proposed ordinance that would regulate power-generating wind turbines in the county.

But there’s little question the process is being driven by Apex Clean Energy, a Charlottesville company that has expressed an interest in building up to 25 turbines on North Mountain, about 5 miles northeast of Eagle Rock.

Should those plans go forward, they likely would be governed by an ordinance the county’s board of supervisors and planning commission have been working on since February. Final action is expected later in the spring.

Details of the proposed ordinance, as well as general information about utility-scale wind turbines, will be available through posters and other displays at about a half-dozen information stations set up in a Greenfield conference room. There will be no formal presentation, so people can come and go as they please during the forum.

County staff will be on hand to take comments and answer questions. The county will distribute a survey, which will also be posted on its website, as part of a public comment period expected to last through May.

Although details could change, the draft ordinance currently calls for a 500-foot height limit on the turbines, which would be placed on ridgelines in certain areas, including those zoned for agriculture, manufacturing and forest conservation.

Noise generated by the turbines, which can sound like a giant dishwasher, could be no louder than 60 decibels when heard from the nearest property line.

And setback language in the proposed ordinance would require the turbines to stand no closer than 110 percent of their height from the nearest property line and 150 percent of height from the nearest occupied building on an adjoining property – a precaution designed for the unlikely event of one of the turbines toppling over.

Virginia currently has no commercial wind farms. A proposal for up to 18 turbines on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County drew fierce opposition from some residents five years ago, and those plans have since been placed on hold.

Apex officials have said that if they decided to build in Botetourt, the turbines could be spinning by 2017 or 2018, producing enough electricity to power 20,000 homes while providing economic benefits to the county.

Source:  By Laurence Hammack | The Roanoke Times | April 20, 2015 | www.roanoke.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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