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Chapter 100 Wind Energy Systems

                                      TITLE VII SPECIAL ORDINANCES

                                                          CHAPTER 100

                                                 WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS

Section 7-100-1           Purpose
Section 7-100-2           Definitions
Section 7-100-3           Permits
Section 7-100-4           Zoning Districts and Rules Regarding Use
Section 7-100-5           Violation
Section 7-100-6           Repealer
Section 7-100-7           Severability

SECTION 7-100-1    PURPOSE
The purpose of this ordinance is to establish rules for construction and operation of wind energy systems, in order for health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of Belle Plaine.

SECTION 7-100-2    DEFINITIONS
            1)   Wind Energy System (WES) – An electrical generating facility comprised of one or more wind turbines and accessory facilities, including but not limited to: power lines, transformers, substation, and meteorological towers that operate by converting the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy.

            2)   Residential WES – A facility which usually consists of a single wind turbine, tower, and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity of not more than 10kw (kilowatt). It is intended to reduce on-site consumption of electricity. Such a WES may also receive power from the local utility company. Excess power generated may be used by the utility company.

            3)   Noncommercial WES – A facility which has a rated capacity of less than 100kw or less, which is intended to produce electricity primarily on-site for its own use. Excess power generated and not needed for on-site use may be used by the utility company.

            4)   Commercial WES – A facility which is intended to produce electricity specifically for sale to a utility or use off-site. Any WES which has capacity of 100kw or more will be considered a commercial WES.

            5)   Watt-The international system of units’ standard of power, equivalent of one joule per second.

            6)   Kilowatt – Equal to 1000 watts of electricity.

            7)   Guyed Tower – A tower that is supported by guy wires and ground anchors.

            8)   Lattice Tower – A self-supporting tower with three or four sides, with an open steel framed structure used to support equipment.

            9)   Monopole Tower – A tower consisting of a single pole, constructed without guy wires and ground anchors.

            10)  Total system height – The height above grade of system, including the base, tower, generating unit, and attached blades or rotors.

            11)  Fall Zone – This is the area that is furthest distance from the tower base in which tower will collapse in the event of structural failure.

SECTION 7-100-3    PERMITS
The construction of any WES within corporate limits of the City of Belle Plaine requires a building permit. The application for a building permit shall be accompanied by evidence that local utility company (Alliant Energy, their successors or assigns) has received at least twenty (20) days notice of the intended construction and use of a WES. The permit shall also contain the local utility companies consent to the connection of the WES to the power grid. No permit shall be issued for a WES unless it meets all criteria in this ordinance, any exception to this ordinance will only be granted by resolution of the City Council.

SECTION 7-100-4 ZONING DISTRICTS AND RULES

  1. Districts
    Residential Zoning Districts
    Residential WES is authorized, provided that the owner-operator complies with the construction and use rules as stated below:

1)       Approval-All Residential WES’s that are constructed and used must be of type approved by the American Wind Energy Association and the U.S. Department of Energy. Overall height of WES shall meet FAA approvals and City Ordinances. The Residential WES shall not rated to produce or generate more than 10 kilowatts of electricity and have approval from the local utility (Alliant Energy, their successors or assigns) prior to the operation of WES.

2)      Set-back Rules – The area regulations, contained in Belle Plaine Code of Ordinances Section 8-96-6 through 8-96-18, regarding lot area, front yard, side yard, and rear year shall apply to location of the WES. The Wes tower may be no closer to real property, boundaries than that distance equal to the total system height of the WES (tower height plus the length of the blade).

3)      Tower Configuration – WES tower 50 feet or less in total system height with a monopole design shall be installed in a Residential District. Height of the WES tower is restricted by the fall-zone regulation. A roof mounted WES is allowed as long as they meet national and state building codes. Towers with guyed wire are prohibited in the residential district.

4)      Base Design – WES monopole towers shall be mounted on a 6 foot pad of concrete, 48 inches deep (8.5 cubic yards of concrete) and to mounting rods at least three feet into concrete, with an 8 foot electrical grounding rod installed.

  1. Commercial Zoning Districts
    Non-commercial WES is authorized in this zoning district provided that the owner-operator complies with the construction and use rules as stated below:

1)       Approvals-Non commercial WES is allowed in Commercial Zoning Districts, they are to be the type approved by the American Wind Energy Association and the U.S. Department of Energy. Overall height of WES shall meet FFA approvals and City Ordinances. The Non-commercial WES shall be rated to produce or generate less than one hundred (100) kilowatts of electricity, primarily to be used on-site of a business.

2)      Set-back Rules – The area regulations contained in Belle Plaine Code of Ordinances.

3)      Tower Configuration – WES tower 100 feet or less in total system height with a monopole tower design is allowed in a Commercial Zoning District. Location of the WES shall be restricted to the fall-zone within the owner-operator parcel of land.

4)      Base Design – is the same as for the Residential WES.

  1. Industrial Zoning Districts.

Commercial WES is authorized in this zoning district provided that the owner operator complies with the construction and use rules as stated below.

1)   Approvals – All Commercial WES that are constructed and used must be of type approved by American Wind Energy Association and the U.S. Department of Energy. Overall height of WES shall meet FFA approvals and City Ordinances. There is no restriction as to the amount of kilowatts of electricity this WES may produce. The owner-operator’s main objectives are to produce and distribute electricity.

2)   Set-back rules – Only restriction is as to the fall-zone, if the WES topples over it must fall within owner-operator’s parcel of land.

3)   Tower Configuration – Commercial WES tower shall be of monopole design with no restriction as to height other than the FFA.

4) Base Design – This is to be determined by the WES manufacturer’s specification.

Additional construction and use information for all WES’s:

Clearance of Blades – No portion of the WES rotor blades shall extend within twenty (20) feet of the ground. No blades shall extend over parking areas, driveways, or sidewalks.

1.)      Fall-zone Clearance – All WES structures shall be constructed as to allow for a fall-zone within the owner-operator parcel of real property and no dwelling structure shall be located within the fall zone of a WES tower.

2.)    Sound – No WES shall be operated that emits any noise exceeding 65 decibels.

3.)    Electrical Components – Construction and maintenance of the electrical components of the WES shall conform to the requirements of the National Electric Codes.

4.)    Color and Finish – All WES surface finishes shall be malt or non-reflective.

5.)    Lighting – Lighting intensity and frequency of strobe shall adhere to but not exceed requirements established by the FFA permits and regulations Red strobe light is preferred.

6.)    Signs – One sign, no larger than four square feet, shall be installed to base of the tower. The sign shall include a notice of no trespassing, a warning of high voltage, and a phone number of owner-operator in case of an emergency.

7.)    Fencing – To limit access to the tower, a six foot non-climbable fence shall be erected around the base of the tower.

8.)    Maintenance – All WES shall be maintained in good, safe, operational condition.

9.)    Insurance – The owner-operator of a WES shall maintain casualty and liability insurance at all times.

10) Removal – When a WES ceases to be used at least 120 days in a calendar year, for any reason other than maintenance, it shall constitute a public nuisance. In such an event the WES and its base shall be dismantled and removed from the real property site within six months from the last day that the WES was used or operational.

SECTION 7-100-5    VIOLATION
Any violation of this ordinance shall be considered a municipal infraction punishable by civil penalty of $750.00 for the first offense and $1,000.00 for second and subsequent offenses.

SECTION 7-100-6    REPEALER

All ordinance and part of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed.

SECTION 7-100-7    SEVERABILITY

If any section, provision, or part of this ordinance shall be adjudged to be invalid or unconstitutional, such adjudication shall not affect the validity as a whole of any section, provision, or part not adjudged invalid or unconstitutional.

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