A wind ordinance has been on the books for many years. But, with advancements in wind technology, the ordinance needed updating, especially with the possibility of wind turbines coming to Ingersoll Township.
Township consultant Rob Eggers shared the following details of the Ingersoll Township Wind Ordinance at the Dec. 18 meeting of the Ingersoll Township Planning Commission. Eggers, Spicer Group president, has been involved with about 25 municipalities concerning wind turbines.
• Work on the ordinance began at a public hearing on March 22, 2017. At that time when the township board heard that wind turbines were a possibility, a decision was made to update the ordinance.
• At the March 22 meeting, a one-year moratorium was enacted.
In the following, participating parcels are those that have signed leases with the wind developer. Non-participating parcels are those that have not signed a lease.
• What is the right distance from a turbine to a house? For participating parcels, that distance is 1,400 feet. For those non-participating parcels, any turbine would have to be 2,000 feet from the property line.
From any roadway, a turbine would have to be 1.5 times the height of the turbine from the road right-of-way. Any utility corridor is the same, 1.5 times the height. The height we are talking about is tip-height, when the blades are extended and it would be just under 500 feet.
“You would have 750 feet or so from those corridors or roadways,” Eggers said. “It would be 1.0 times from drains or streams.”
• What are the height regulations for individual turbines? – The height would be 499 feet from the tip, at its highest point, to the ground.
“Once you get 500 or over, you get into FAA regulations kick in,” Eggers said.
Any wind turbine less than a height of 65 feet does not need a special use permit.
• Underground power lines – Every turbine has power lines from the turbine to the substation.
“All those have to be a minimum of 5 feet below grade and below drain tile if it goes through farmland,” Eggers said.
• Sound levels – On participating parcels there is a sound regulation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., which is a sound level (Leq) of 50 dBA. The sound regulation for nighttime is 45 dBA. Leq is the average of the sound over a measurement of time, which is 10 minute intervals.
On non-participating parcels the sound regulations they would be 45 dBA from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 35 dBA from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The measurement is a hard and fast number called an Lmax. This means that the sound may never exceed that dBA at a home.
• Aircraft detection units – Aircraft detection units are attached to the turbines. The units would prevent the red lights from flashing intermittently all night long. They would only flash when a plane was in the vicinity.
“The FAA has just recently allowed it. I think there is just one other one in the country. It’s out West,” Eggers said.
• Flicker effect – Shadow flicker on participating is limited to 30 hours per year. It is 25 hours per year on non-participating parcels.
• Decommissioning of turbines – Decommissioning happens when the wind turbines are ready to be torn down or are not being used. The township wants to make sure that the decommissioning is to be paid by the developer and not the township. So, there is a security that will be put aside for this. They have to be removed 6 feet below the ground.
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