Wind Turbines – ZTA2009-001



Public Hearing to provide recommendation to Board of Supervisors on zoning text amendment with respect to wind turbines




Mark Graham, Amelia McCulley, Bill Fritz






November 17, 2009


ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   










In February 2008, the County Board of Supervisors (Board) reviewed Community Development’s annual work program and directed staff to include consideration of an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would allow wind turbines.  In May 2008, staff presented the Planning Commission an overview of the subject to solicit direction.  This was followed by four additional worksessions, including  a combined Board/Planning Commission worksession in May 2009.  Following that May 2009 worksession, a Board member, David Slutzky, and two Planning Commission members, Marcia Joseph and Bill Edgerton, agreed to help staff prepare a draft concept.  On October 6, 2009, the Planning Commission reviewed this draft concept, approved a resolution of intent to amend the Zoning Ordinance in support of this concept, and directed staff to proceed to public hearing.  (Attachment A)


Staff has prepared an ordinance amendment for public hearing that reflects the reviewed concept. (Attachment B)    The purpose of tonight’s meeting is to provide a public hearing where comment can be received on the proposed ordinance amendment before the Planning Commission forwards  a recommendation to the Board.  Anticipating a Planning Commission recommendation, a Board public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for December 9, 2009.



Goal 2:  Protect the County's Natural Resources

Goal 4:  Effectively Manage Growth and Development



Staff believes the ordinance amendment in Attachment B accurately represents the Planning Commission’s direction. 


Staff considers the following to be the important elements of this proposal:


Next, staff notes there appeared to be diverging opinions on the Planning Commission as to whether Tier I small wind turbines should be allowed within the County’s Entrance Corridors.   As drafted, a Tier I small wind turbine would be allowed in the Entrance Corridors.  If the Planning Commission recommends Entrance Corridors to be considered with Tier II small wind turbines, meaning it requires a waiver by the Planning Commission rather than administrative permit by the Agent; this is a relatively simple change to the definitions within this ordinance amendment.  The ordinance amendment could be forwarded to be Board with this recommendation.         


Finally, staff will also discuss an effective date with the Board.  Assuming the fees are adopted on December 2, 2009, staff plans to recommend a February 1st effective date.  This will give applicants advance notice of the fee change and staff time to modify application forms. 



No need for additional funding or staff resources is anticipated with this ordinance amendment. This proposal would treat small wind turbines the same as other uses regulated by the Zoning Ordinance’s Supplemental Regulations.   For Tier I applications, which only require a Building Permit, staff believes the administrative costs are captured within the permit fees.  For Tier II applications, staff recognizes the cost of such waivers or modifications does create some additional cost to the County which is not offset by fees, the same as other waivers or modifications of Supplemental Regulations.  Staff anticipates the County will see very few Tier II applications over the next several years.  Rather than establish a fee for this review at this time, staff recommends monitoring this review activity and include a recommendation on waiver fees with the next regularly scheduled review of Zoning Ordinance fees.     



Staff recommends approval of the Zoning Ordinance amendment as presented in Attachment B.  If the Planning Commission recommends any changes to Attachment B, staff will include these at the Board’s public hearing.       



A-    October 7, 2009 Executive Summary

B-    ZTA 2009–001, Small wind turbines

Return to memo