Support Small Wind in Baltimore County- Help Pass Bill 62-10!

Posted on July 26, 2010. Filed under: News, Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , |

**UPDATE** June 30, 2010: County Councilman Moxley is supporting Bill 62-10. Here’s his note to Gary:

Dear Mr. Skulnik,

Thanks for the email.  I am supporting the bill.

Sincerely,

Sam Moxley

Baltimore County residents- support a new bill introduced by Councilman Gardina to promote small wind turbine installations in Baltimore County via a five year pilot program.

Get informed with the fact sheet and talking points below from Baltimore County Climate Coalition (BCAN’s Baltimore County Offshoot)

BALTIMORE COUNTY WIND TURBINE BILL – The Facts

  • Currently wind turbines cannot be erected as a matter of right in Baltimore County.
  • Without a specific zoning law, turbines will continue to be subject to legal challenges and lengthy, costly and uncertain zoning processes.
  • Bill 62-10, “Zoning Regulations – Small Wind Energy System PILOT Program”, introduced by Councilman Vince Gardina on July 6, would set up a 5-year pilot program for small turbines.
  • Wind turbines could be installed as accessory to commercial agricultural and institutional uses in the RC zone (outside the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, or “URDL”), and in manufacturing zoned parcels that are not next to residential properties.
  • Residential wind turbines are excluded from the pilot program.
  • “Wind farms” are not permitted.  Turbines must be for the property owner’s own energy needs, although excess energy can be sold back to the grid.
  • Once approved and erected, a turbine can stay up after the pilot program ends unless it is unsafe or out of operation for a year.
  • Applicants must apply for a building permit that includes a site plan demonstrating that the turbine meets limitations on height, setbacks, noise levels and other safety and aesthetic performance standards.
  • Ground-mounted turbines can’t be taller than 80 feet on lots of one acre or less.
  • For larger lots, ground-mounted turbines are limited in height by the property’s setback requirements and Federal Aviation Administration standards.
  • Ground-mounted turbines can’t be closer than 1.1 times their height from the nearest property line nor closer than 1.5 times their height from a neighbor’s house.
  • Roof-mounted turbines must meet the building’s height and setback restrictions.
  • Turbines can’t exceed 55 decibels as measured at the neighbor’s property line.
  • Meteorological towers (METs) can be erected to gather wind data for the site for a period of one year.  METs are NOT a prerequisite for erecting a turbine and can be erected after the 5-year pilot program sunsets.

BALTIMORE COUNTY WIND TURBINE BILL- Talking Points

  • Currently wind turbines cannot be erected as a matter of right in Baltimore County.
  • Without a specific zoning law, turbines will continue to be subject to legal challenges and lengthy, costly and uncertain zoning processes.  This bill came about because of a neighbor vs. neighbor lawsuit over a proposed turbine.
  • Bill 62-10, “Zoning Regulations – Small Wind Energy System PILOT Program”, is limited in scope and duration, informed by best practices around the state, and responsive to concerns raised at the Council hearing on the Planning Board recommendations.
  • Councilman Gardina worked closely with the Maryland Energy Administration on technical requirements and the County’s Planning Department on safety and aesthetic issues.
  • Limits:
    • The pilot program will sunset in 5 years.
    • Residential turbines and wind farms are excluded.
    • Turbines are permitted only as accessory to commercial agricultural and institutional uses outside the URDL and in manufacturing zoned parcels not adjacent to residential properties.
    • Height limitations, setbacks, noise levels and other performance standards are prescribed in the bill and vetted through the building permit process.
  • Seventeen other counties in Maryland and several municipalities have wind turbine ordinances on the books or in process, including our neighbors Howard, Carroll, Harford and Anne Arundel counties.
  • Wind turbines, or wind mills, have been used for hundreds of years in Baltimore County, particularly on farms.  The pilot program will protect the traditional, historical land use practice of harvesting benign, renewable energy to power operations on one’s own property.
  • Baltimore County has many properties with microclimates suitable for wind turbines.
  • The pilot program will improve the economic competitiveness and viability of Baltimore County’s agricultural, manufacturing and institutional communities by reducing energy costs.
  • The pilot program will support Baltimore County’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the County by 10% by 2012.
  • The pilot program will continue Baltimore County’s leadership tradition in environmental stewardship.
  • The pilot program will support the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 25% by 2020 – a legal requirement of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009 – and the renewable energy initiatives in the state’s Climate Action Plan.

IMPORTANT DATES:

July 27 Work Session, 2 PM. County Council will take public testimony on the bill.

August 2 Legislative Session, 6 PM. County Council will vote on the bill.

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: