Monday, Nov. 13, the Dyer County Legislative Body convened inside of the courthouse for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Prior to the meeting, was a public hearing regarding Wind Energy Conversion System policies.
The Wind Energy resolution was initially presented before the CLB during October’s meetings, at which time commissioners requested the item be brought back before the Planning committee for slight revision.
While there are no plans to incorporate wind energy into Dyer County at this time, the need to create criteria for county approval was prompted by a new state law prohibiting the creation of a WECS, which will be effective in January of 2018.
Below are the amended criteria for WECS:
1. The definition of Wind Energy Conversion System was given more detail and a definition of Accessory Wind Energy Conversion System was created. Defining accessory wind energy conversion systems would allow individuals to place them on their properties as accessory uses.
2. The setback of WECS from inhabited structured was reduced from 2,500 to 1,200 ft. The WECS shall be set back from residences, churches, public roads, hospitals, businesses, railroads and power line right-of-ways or 1.1 times its own height (from the maximum height of the rotor blade) from its own property line, whichever is greater.
3. The tower used to support a WECS shall be adequately anchored, meeting applicable standards, as certified by a professional engineer. Guyed wires shall be identified with visible and reflective objects, such as plastic sleeves, to a height of 8 ft. above ground.
4. The height limit of 175 ft. was eliminated with the stipulation that any WECS exceeding 200 ft. shall obtain approval from the FAA.
5. The minimum rotor blade tip clearance from grade shall be 40 ft.
6. The minimum rotor blade tip clearance from any structure shall be 40 ft.
7. The minimum lot area for installation of a WECS shall be 10 acres.
8. No sound attributed to the WECS in excess of 55 dB shall discernible from any residence, business, church, hospital, or other inhabited structure.
9. There shall be no signs on the WECS other than the name of the manufacturer, which may only be affixed to the base of the tower or the nacelle. No sign shall exceed three square ft. in area.
10. There shall be no lighting on or directed to the WECS.
11. A WECS shall have an automatic braking, governing, or feathering system to prevent uncontrolled rotation or over speeding. Emergency shut-off information shall be posted on the tower in an easily viewable location.
12. A WECS shall employ an anti-climbing device or be designed to prevent climbing and other unauthorized access.
13. All WECS shall be installed in compliance with standards of the National Telecommunications Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission so that locations do not produce electromagnetic interference with the signal transmissions of nearby fixed broadcasts, re-transmissions, of fixed broadcasts or antennae reception for radio, television or wireless phone or personal communications systems.
14. A WECS shall be removed when the device or equipment is no longer operating or when it has been abandoned. A WECS shall be deemed abandoned when it has not produced electrical energy for 12 consecutive months. In the event a WECS is damaged, the 12-month time period may be extended for its repair at the discretion of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
15. WECS, which become inactive for a period exceeding 1 year shall be removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense and the site shall be returned to its natural state. The includes the obligation to dismantle and remove from the site all electrical generating equipment, cables, panels, foundations, buildings and ancillary equipment. To the extent possible, the operator shall restore and reclaim the site to its pre-project topography and topsoil quality. Any agreement between the operator and landowner for removal to a lesser extent that set forth in this paragraph shall be required prior approval by the board. The restoration activities must be complete within 18 months from the date the WECS becomes inactive.
16. The applicant shall submit to the board a decommissioning plan describing the manner in which the applicant anticipates decommissioning the project. The plan shall include a description of the manner in which the applicant will ensure that it has the financial capability to carry out the restoration requirements. The board may, from time to time, request the operator to submit a report describing how it is fulfilling this obligation. The board shall decide if it is prudent to include provisions that ensure financial resources will be available for decommissioning. This may include bonding or other methods of guaranteeing performance, such as establishing an escrow account into which the developer/ operator will deposit funds on a regular basis over the life of the project, which would allow Dyer County to have access to the escrow account for the explicit purpose of decommission in the event of default. Financial provisions shall not be so onerous as to make the operation of WECS unfeasible.
After some back-and-forth discussion among Building Inspector John Pleasant and county commissioners, the public hearing was closed with none in objection.
During the CLB meeting, Planning committee member Dob Johnson presented the revised Wind Energy resolution for CLB approval. With all in favor, a motion to accept the WECS resolution was approved by the county commission.
In other business:
• Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box presented commissioners with a courtroom security brief.
• Budget committee Chair Debbie Bradshaw Hart presented the CLB with 6 transfers of funds. With all in favor, the appropriations were approved by the CLB.
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