FARGO – Fargo city commissioners approved looking into allowing wind turbines in the city on Monday night, Feb. 10.
Commissioner Tony Gehrig, who said he was considering installing one at his home, said city laws apparently don’t allow the wind turbines because of noise and height restrictions.
He asked that the planning department lead a study of allowing them in residential areas.
The motion, which passed 4-1, drew a heated response from City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, who voted against it.
Piepkorn said he didn’t want to look out his windows at his home at any wind turbines.
“I don’t want the city filled up with these eyesores,” he said. Besides the “eye pollution,” he said they are also known to kill birds.
Piepkorn said if someone wanted to put up a wind turbine there’s plenty of room in the rural parts of North Dakota.
Gehrig responded that he doubted if 200 of them would pop up in the city over the next many years.
Despite the fact that some say they aren’t economically feasible at this time, he said, the “technology has come a long way.”
Commissioner John Strand said it could help in the climate change fight, too.
In a letter to the commissioners, City Attorney Erik Johnson raised other issues, including safety because of the electricity being produced and structural concerns.
“Tall towers,” he wrote, “must be structurally safe.”
He also urged several city departments to weigh in on the proposal.
The city planning department will lead the study and evaluation. Any change to wind turbine rules would have to be included in the city’s land development code.
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