A City lawmaker wants location restrictions on future turbine construction after one of the biggest issues over the controversial Na Pua Makani Wind Farm in Kahuku.
Under Honolulu’s city land use ordinance, the minimum distance requirement for wind turbines from property lines is the height of the turbine.
For example, the ones being built in Kahuku are 568 feet tall. AES Hawaii, the company behind the project says the closest turbine to a home is about 1,700 feet.
However, legally the company could build it within 568 feet.
Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi has introduced a resolution to change that.
“After everything the community of Kahuku has gone through, I think the one lesson definitely learned is that the process wasn’t followed in a way that really addressed the community’s concern about how close these turbines are to farms, homes and schools,” Councilmember Tsuneyoshi said.
If passed, Tsuneyoshi’s resolution would require that companies build turbines of more than 100 kilowatts at least five miles away from property lines.
“The idea is to start with five miles and see what the industry comes and tells us and what they think is right. But if we’re looking at the health and safety of our communities, five miles is a good distance away to make sure we don’t have any issues with the public health and safety issues we’re having now,” Tsuneyoshi said.
Councilmember Tsuneyoshi says this measure would not impact the Na Pua Makani project which is already under construction. However, she says it could give peace of mind to other residents who fear their community could be the next wind farm location.
“Even though we couldn’t stop what was going on within our community, we’re hoping that for future project, this will help them and that they wouldn’t have to suffer the health effects that these current turbines will have,” Ku Kia’i Kahuku’s Kamalani Keli’ikuli said.
According to Councilmember Tsuneyoshi, the main focus should be to protect the health and safety of all residents.
The Council will hear the resolution at a meeting in January.
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