The City Planning Commission will begin discussions today on regulations to control the erection of wind turbines in New Philadelphia.
The action comes following the completion of a wind turbine at the Schoenbrunn Inn and Conference Center on W. High Avenue in December.
Mayor Joel Day said he favors restrictions.
“In order to protect our residential and business areas, I’d like to see them restricted to just the industrial zoning areas of New Philadelphia,” he said following Monday’s City Council meeting.
Tthere are no current restrictions on wind turbines, and they could potentially be built in any part of the city.
“It all speaks to doing orderly planning in the city,” the mayor said. “Everything has its purpose and its ideal location. That’s what we’re going to try to achieve.”
The wind turbine is expected to generate an average of 250 to 300 kilowatts of electricity daily. The structure rises 160 feet from the ground. It is mounted on a base made with about 300,000 pounds of concrete, which is reinforced with steel. The blades are 40 feet long.
The city had stopped work on the project Nov. 17 because the company building the wind turbine had not obtained the needed permits. Work resumed after the company obtained permits from the city, the East Central Ohio Building Authority and Federal Aviation Administration.
Day said that Mike Scolati, the city’s zoning and building code administrator, has worked hard to put together a sample ordinance to regulate the structures.
“I understand what Schoenbrunn is trying to do,” the mayor said. “From a marketing standpoint, they’re saying they’re a green motel. The wind turbine and the solar panels they’ve erected on their roof illustrate that. If you’re trying to separate yourself from your competitors, this is one way to do it.”
He added, “There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of wind turbines in this part of Ohio. We don’t have enough wind. From everything I’ve read and what’s been told me, you need a sustained 7 mph wind in order to turn the blades to generate electricity. We just don’t have that on a regular basis in the Tuscarawas Valley.”
Day predicted that the planning commission would have a good discussion on the subject.
In other business, Day reported to council that Jennifer Syx and her Insite Advisory Group of Fairlawn will assist the city in revising the Community Reinvestment Area property tax abatement with Menard’s Inc., which plans to begin construction this year on a store and warehouse on Bluebell Drive at the site of the old Super Kmart. Syx’s company helped craft the original Menard’s agreement in 2015.
It has to be revised to reflect the new construction start and completion dates, as well as expected employment and payroll numbers.
The revisions may require new legislation, which council would have to approve. Syx is working with Law Director Marvin Fete to write that legislation.
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