Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Urban wind turbines

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ssc's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2005
    Location
    New York's beautiful Hudson Valley
    Posts
    155

    Urban wind turbines

    We just received a building permit application for a wind turbine on a single family lot in our small city. Our woefully out of date zoning ordinance does not, of course, mention wind turbines and we are having a good deal of trouble figuring out what to do with this application. I think we will have to send it to the zba for a determination, but I will have to give them some advice. I would be very interested to hear of any experience with residential wind turbines - both regulatory and practical. How are other areas regulating them?And has anyone here permitted one in an urban (or even suburban) area?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by ssc View post
    We just received a building permit application for a wind turbine on a single family lot in our small city. Our woefully out of date zoning ordinance does not, of course, mention wind turbines and we are having a good deal of trouble figuring out what to do with this application. I think we will have to send it to the zba for a determination, but I will have to give them some advice. I would be very interested to hear of any experience with residential wind turbines - both regulatory and practical. How are other areas regulating them?And has anyone here permitted one in an urban (or even suburban) area?
    Putting aside turbulence and lowered efficiency for a moment, last city I worked in the county halted all permits because the rich people didn't want the visual 'blight' affecting property values, but prior to that there were strict height limits above ground and that was it. City banned them. Anyway,

    If it is a 3-blade turbine on a horizontal axis with small nacelle - what we all picture - then the key is how high is the tower and does this mean the guy wires are to be spaced on adjacent property? Do your regs cover, say, HAM radio antennae with similar guying problems? Second, aesthetics: how high is the projection above roofline and most importantly trees? If your regs are silent then you'll need good details of the blade lth and nacelle size for ZBA to determine visual impact. The blades will create noise as well and you'll need something from the manufacturer to write in the report.

    If this is a turbine on a vertical axis, then you have a lot more wriggle room wrt heights and guying, but visual impact is bigger. Someone's gonna have to make a call on a case-by-case basis until you figure out if you want to spend the time writing a reg.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ssc's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2005
    Location
    New York's beautiful Hudson Valley
    Posts
    155
    It is a 25 foot high vertical turbine, but proposed in the side yard of a corner lot, so highly visible. It meets height requirements for an elevator, tower, etc. but not for a accessory structure - those are limited to 12 feet. I wish the applicant would just propose some nice roof-mounted solar panels instead!

  4. #4
    Here is a link to a 2009 Ontario Municipal Board decision that you might find helpful.

    Go to http://www.omb.gov.on.ca and enter PL081385 in the search box.


    Regards, Ralph

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,859
    As coloGL pointed out, my main concern would be that turbines are not particularly effective unless they can be at least 30 feet above the highest object in the immediate area (trees or buildings). So, aside from safety issues, visual blight or the ability to adequately secure it within your property's footprint, there is the question of whether it is responsible to promote a form of energy production that may, in the end, not be particularly effective.

    All that being said, I once read an article about how Britain was considering paying homeowners to install more stealthy turbines on homes, tying them collectively into the grid. Verticle turbines that fit into exhaust vents and the like. Each one doesn't produce much, but tie a million into the grid (along with solar panels they were also proposiing to install on private homes) and you just might have something.

    Which is all to say, not all turbines are the same and while most people think of the tower model, there may be less obtrusive forms coming online.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    5,023
    The great state of california has regulated them as an "allowed use by right"

    California State Law
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    As coloGL pointed out, my main concern would be that turbines are not particularly effective unless they can be at least 30 feet above the highest object in the immediate area (trees or buildings). So, aside from safety issues, visual blight or the ability to adequately secure it within your property's footprint, there is the question of whether it is responsible to promote a form of energy production that may, in the end, not be particularly effective.

    All that being said, I once read an article about how Britain was considering paying homeowners to install more stealthy turbines on homes,
    We don't regulate wasteful appliances like DVRs on private property either.

    But I do like the 'million microturbines' idea.

    Nonetheless, the ZBA will have to make a decision. Hopefully they won't direct you to come up with a reg by a date certain.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    36
    perhaps this site will be of help.

    http://www.awea.org/

    i found some of their publications informative.

    also, i've written regs into a form-based code that's up for adoption this month.

    http://www.ci.hayward.ca.us/forums/S...tfbcforum.shtm

    see section 10-24.270

    we decided to limit turbines to vertical axis since the code area is intended to be very urban.

    cheers.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ssc's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2005
    Location
    New York's beautiful Hudson Valley
    Posts
    155
    Well, we finally decided it meets all zoning requirements - setbacks, height, etc. so we let it go. So, we'll see what happens!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by ssc View post
    So, we'll see what happens!
    Got your elevator phrases for the three phone calls from NIMBY Neighbors (NN)?

    Down the road a bit we had a school district install PV panels on all its facilities via a contractor. One school had a couple loud NN complain and they didn't install the panels on that school. Presumably the Patriot-Americans didn't have kids in that school and don't mind being more inefficient.

    But I digress. Cool. Hopefully they can generate a little power too.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Uses Planning for wind turbines
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 28
    Last post: 17 Nov 2014, 12:41 PM
  2. Wind turbines on billboards
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 21
    Last post: 23 Aug 2010, 12:36 PM
  3. Replies: 6
    Last post: 04 Sep 2007, 1:14 PM
  4. Wind Turbines
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 01 Apr 2003, 1:42 PM
  5. Backyard wind turbines
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 31 Jul 2001, 6:40 PM