Accessibility Statement

Chapter 13, Article 08 Zone District Regulations - 0817 Wind Energy Conversion Systems

13-817. Wind Energy Conversion Systems

 

A.     Purpose.

The purpose of this section is to provide standards for placement of Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECSs) within the City of Rock Springs, while achieving the following goals:

(1)   Promoting the safe, effective and efficient use of WECSs in order to reduce consumption of fossil fuels associated with production of electricity; and

(2)   Preserving and protecting public health, safety, welfare and quality of life by minimizing the potential adverse impacts of WECSs; and

(3)   Establishing standards and procedures for siting, design, engineering, installation, operation and maintenance of WECSs; and

(4)   Promoting wind energy development to meet some or all of the electrical energy needs of a property through WECSs placed on that property. Development of large-scale WECSs for export of wind energy is not consistent with the purpose or intent of this ordinance.

 

B.     Definitions.

(1)   "A-Weighted Sound Level (dbA)" means a measurement of sound pressure level, which has been filtered or weighted to progressively deemphasize the importance of frequency components below one thousand hertz (1,000 Hz) and above five thousand hertz (5,000 Hz). This reflects the fact that human hearing is less sensitive at low frequencies and at extremely high frequencies, relative to the mid-range of the frequency spectrum. This area of sensitivity also corresponds to the human speech band.

(2)   "Decibel (db)" means the measurement of a sound pressure relative to the logarithmic conversion of the sound pressure reference level often set as zero db (A-weighted). In general, the quietest sound humans can hear is near zero db (A-weighted) and the loudest range of human hearing without pain is near one hundred twenty db (A-weighted).

(3)   "FAA" means the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.

(4)   "Guy cable" means any cable or wire that extends from a wind energy conversion system to the ground or supporting structure for the purpose of supporting the system structure.

(5)   "Meteorological tower" (Met Tower) means a facility consisting of a tower and related wind-measuring devices, which is used solely to measure winds preliminary to construction of a small wind energy conversion system. 

(6)   "Micro wind energy conversion system" means a building-mounted wind energy conversion system (either a vertical or horizontal axis turbine) that has a rated nameplate capacity of One Kilowatt (1 kW) or less and projects no more than fifteen feet above the highest point of the roof. All micro wind energy conversion systems shall be attached to a principal structure.

(7)   "Rated nameplate capacity," means the maximum rated output of electric power production equipment. This output is typically specified by the manufacturer with a "nameplate" on the equipment.

(8)   "Shadow flicker" means the visible flicker effect when rotating blades of the wind energy conversion system cast shadows on the ground and nearby structures causing a repeating pattern of light and shadow.

(9)   "Small wind energy conversion system" means a wind energy conversion system consisting of a tower, a turbine, and associated control or conversion electronics that generates power for an individual property for the purpose of reducing onsite energy consumption with a rated nameplate capacity of twenty-five kilowatts (25 kW) or less per system. This includes, but is not limited to, storage, electrical collection and supply equipment, and transformers. Excess electrical power generated, and not presently needed for onsite use, may be utilized by the utility company.

(10)  "System height" means the vertical distance from ground level to the tip of the wind generator blade when it is at its highest point. If the wind energy conversion system is installed on a roof, the system height is equal to the roof height (as measured from the ground level to the base of the WECS) plus the vertical distance from the roof to the tip of the wind generator blade when it is at its highest point.  (See Ordinance book for diagram)

(11)  "Tower" means the monopole, guyed monopole or lattice structure that supports a wind generator

(12)   "Turbine" means the parts of a wind energy conversion system including the blades, generator and tail. The definition of a turbine includes both horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) and vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT).

(13)  "Turbine clearance" means the distance between ground level and the lowest point of a turbine blade in its rotation.

(14)  "Wind Energy Conversion System" (WECS) means any wind energy conversion system that converts wind energy into electricity through the use of a Wind Generator and includes the rotor, tower, pad transformer (if any) and associated equipment. For the purposes of this ordinance, WECSs may be classified as either micro or small, dependent upon rated nameplate capacity.
(Amended Ord. 2012-11, 1-2-13)

 

C.     Micro wind energy conversion systems.

(1)   Permitted Accessory Use. Micro wind energy conversion systems shall be permitted as an accessory use in all zoning districts other than the Open Space (O-1) Zoning District, subject to the requirements herein.

(2)   Maximum system height. Micro wind energy conversion systems shall not exceed the maximum building height for the district in which they are located nor shall they exceed 15 feet in height above the supporting building height. For those zoning districts without a maximum building height, maximum system height shall be equal to the supporting building height plus 15 feet. If the supporting building height plus 15 feet exceeds the maximum building height for the Zoning District, the applicant may seek a Conditional Use Permit for placement of the Micro WECS for a height not to exceed 15 feet above the maximum district height, provided the following findings can be made:

(a)    That the proposed Micro WECS shall not adversely impact any neighboring property owner's view.

(b)   That the proposed Micro WECS height is the minimum needed for installation of a Micro WECS on the principal structure.

(c)    That the proposed Micro WECS shall not adversely impact the general health, safety or welfare of the neighborhood.

(3)   Sound. Micro WECSs shall not exceed fifty (50) dbA, as measured five feet above ground level at the closest property line. The maximum sound level, however, may be exceeded during short-term events, such as utility outages and/or sustained high winds.

 

D.     Small wind energy conversion systems.

(1)   Conditionally permitted use. Small wind energy conversion systems shall be conditionally permitted, as an accessory use, pursuant to the following:

(a)    Residential Zoning Districts (R-E through R-6) - conditionally permitted only when accessory to an institutional (church, school, college, public building, etc.) use and pursuant to meeting the general requirements of this section.

(b)   Neighborhood Business and Central Business Zoning Districts (B-1 & B-3): conditionally permitted as an accessory use in conformance with 13-817.D.(1)(a)

(c)    Community Business and Industrial Zoning Districts (B-2, I-1 & I-2) - conditionally permitted as an accessory use pursuant to meeting the general requirements of this section.

(d)   Open Space and Business-Residential Districts (O-1 & B-R) - not permitted

 

(2)   General requirements.

(a)    Maximum System Height. The maximum system height for a small wind energy conversion system shall be as follows:
      (i) Lots smaller than 20,000 square feet - maximum height for the Zoning District.  For those Zoning Districts without a maximum height, the maximum height shall be as follows:
           R-6 - 28 feet
           B-2 and B-3 - 35 feet
           I-2 - 45 feet
      (ii)  Lots 20,000 square feet to one (1) acre - 70 feet
      (iii)  Lots larger than one (1) acre - 100 feet 

(b)   Minimum Setbacks.

i.        Minimum setbacks for a small wind energy conversion system shall be equal to 110 percent of the system height. Setbacks shall be measured from the center of the tower base to the property line.

ii.      No part of a small WECS, including but not limited to guy cable anchors, may extend closer than ten (10) feet to the property line.

iii.    No small WECS shall be located in the required front yard setback area or in front of the building line.

(c)    Sound.  Small WECSs shall not exceed the following sound levels, dependent upon the Zoning District in which they are located. Sound level shall be measured five feet above ground level at the closest property line. The maximum sound level, however, may be exceeded during short-term events, such as utility outages and/or sustained high winds.

Zoning District Maximum Sound Level

Residential       50 db(A)

Commercial     55 db(A)

Light Industrial            65 db(A)

Heavy Industrial          75 db(A)

(d)    Turbine Clearance.  Minimum turbine clearance shall be twelve (12) feet above ground level.  No portion of any turbine may extend over parking areas, driveways or sidewalks. 

(e)    Climb Prevention.  Small WECSs shall be designed so as to not be climbable up to fifteen (15) feet above the ground surface.

(f)   Guy Cables. Guy cables providing support for a WECS shall be marked and clearly visible to a height of six (6) feet above the guy cable anchors.

(g)     Meteorological towers. Meteorological towers shall be permitted for periods of up to twelve months, and shall be removed prior to the installation of the WECS for which they are measuring. A request to install a meteorological tower shall be included in the application to install a small wind energy conversion system. 
(Rev. Ordinance 2012-11, 1-2-13)

 

E.      Requirements for both micro and small wind energy conversion systems.

(1)   Applicable Building & Electrical Codes. All small and micro WECSs shall be regulated by applicable building and electrical codes.

(2)   Automatic Over-Speed Controls.  All small and micro WECSs shall be equipped with manual (electronic or mechanical) and automatic over-speed controls to limit the blade rotation speed to within the design limits of the micro wind energy conversion system or small wind energy conversion system.

(3)   Utility Notification.  No micro or small WECS shall be installed until written evidence has been given that the electrical utility company has been informed of, and acknowledged, the customer's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned generator. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.

(4)   Color.  Wind energy conversion systems shall be white, off-white, gray, or neutral subdued tones, such as earth tones of green or brown. No part of a WECS shall be finished in bright or vivid colors, nor shall any part be used for advertising of any kind.

(5)   Lighting.  WECSs shall not be artificially lighted, except as required by the FAA. If lighting is required, the applicant shall provide a copy of the FAA determination to establish the required markings and/or lights for the wind energy conversion system.

(6)   Shadow Flicker.  Wind energy conversion systems shall be sited in a manner that does not result in significant shadow flicker impacts. Significant shadow flicker is defined as more than 30 hours per year on abutting buildings. The applicant has the burden of proving that the shadow flicker from the WECS will not have significant adverse impacts on neighboring or adjacent uses.

(7)   Multiple WECSs. Up to two (2) WECSs shall be permitted on the same property, provided all minimum standards are met and combined sound levels do not exceed maximum sound levels. Applications for more than two (2) WECSs on a given site shall be considered a conditional use permit to be reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Commission, regardless of the type of WECS (micro or small), in accordance with the provisions herein. All applications for multiple WECSs shall provide an acoustical study stamped by a licensed Wyoming Engineer confirming the combined db(A) for all proposed WECSs and existing WECSs on the property.

 

F.      Application requirements.

The applicant shall provide the following materials to the City as part of an application for micro or small wind energy conversion systems:

(1)   Application Form. A completed application provided by the Zoning Administrator.

(2)   Proof of Ownership. Proof of ownership of the property where the proposed WECS will be constructed.

(3)   Application Fee. The application fee shall be assessed in accordance with the fee schedule established in §13-1001.B of this ordinance.

(4)   Plot Plan. Twenty (20) copies of a scaled 11" x 17" (at least one reduced version) or larger plot plan of the proposed wind energy conversion system, to include property lines, setbacks, physical dimensions of the property, locations of structures, location of the proposed WECS, including the tower, base, footings, generator, blades, guy wires, and all associated equipment.

(5)   Elevation Drawing. Four (4) copies of a scaled, full-color elevation drawing (profile) showing the tower height, system height, turbine clearance, colors and climb prevention features of the WECS.

(6)   Certification. Certification that the design is in compliance with the current National Electric Code and local electrical code. Applications shall be accompanied by a line drawing of the electrical components in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of the installation conforms to the National Electrical Code and local electrical codes, as well as the kW rating of the WECS.

(7)   Evidence satisfactory to the Building Division that the proposed WECS meets the following standards:

(a)    That the micro WECS or small WECS is UL listed, and/or meets the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) standards, or other nationally recognized testing lab (NRTL), or is designed and stamped by a Wyoming licensed Professional Engineer;

(b)   Other materials, as required by the Chief Building Official, shall be provided. Please note, a building permit shall be required and a separate building permit fee shall be assessed.

(8)   Shadow Flicker Evaluation. Evidence that the proposed WECS shall not have a significant shadow flicker effect on adjacent buildings.

(9)   Utility Notification.  Written evidence that the electrical utility company has been informed of, and acknowledged, the customer's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned generator. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.

(10)              Sound Certification.  Stamped certification of the maximum average sound level in db(A) for the WECS. For multiple WECSs on the same property, said certification shall include an acoustical study indicating the combined db(A) for all WECSs on the property.

(11)              Meteorological Tower Request. For small WECSs applications desiring to install a meteorological tower, said request shall accompany the application and shall contain specifications for the proposed MET.  

(12)                 FAA Determination. For WECSs requiring lighting, a copy of the FAA determination to establish the required markings and/or lights for the wind energy conversion system.

(13)                 Adjacent Property Owners. For all small WECSs applications and those micro WECSs applications desiring to exceed the maximum building height in the underlying Zoning District, the application shall include the following:

(a)    Names and addresses of all property owners owning property located within 200 feet of the boundaries of the proposed WECS property.

(b)   Mailing labels for property owners located within 200 feet of the boundaries of the proposed WECS property.

 

G.     Review and approval.

(1)   All WECSs Applications.

(a)    Complete Application. Within eight (8) working days of submittal of a WECS application, the Zoning Administrator shall review the submittal and notify the applicant whether the application is complete. The applicant shall have 30 calendar days to submit all required materials for incomplete applications. Should the applicant fail to provide the missing materials within the 30-day timeframe, the application shall be marked void and returned to the applicant.

(b)   Utility Review. Within ten (10) working days of submittal of a complete WECS application, the Zoning Administrator shall schedule a Utility Review meeting of the proposed WECS. For micro WECSs not exceeding the maximum height of the Zoning District, the Zoning Administrator may opt to route the plans to Utility Review members for comment, without holding an actual meeting. The Zoning Administrator shall provide the applicant with copies of all comments provided by the Utility Review members.

(c)    Revised Plans. Within 30 calendar days following provision of Utility Review comments to the applicant, revised plans addressing all comments shall be submitted. Should revised plans fail to address all comments, the application shall be denied by the Zoning Administrator.

(2)   Micro WECSs not requesting conditional use permit for height.

(a)     Site plan approval. Within 10 calendar days following receipt of plans approvable by all Utility Review members, and including all required supporting materials, the Zoning Administrator shall notify the applicant in writing of Site Plan approval for the proposed WECS.

(b)   Building Permit. The Zoning Administrator shall forward a copy of all application materials and the approved Site Plan to the Chief Building Official. The Chief Building Official shall have the authority to require such additional information, plans or certifications, as he deems necessary. The applicant shall have one year from the date of Site Plan approval to obtain a building permit for the WECS.

(3)   All Small WECS and those micro WECS requesting conditional use permit for height.

(a)    Property Owner Notification. Within 10 calendar days following receipt of plans approvable by all Utility Review members, and including all required supporting materials, the Zoning Administrator shall notify adjacent property owners in writing of the proposed application.

(b)   Application Protest Period. Adjoining property owners (located within 200 feet of the boundaries of the property proposed for the WECS) shall have 14 calendar days from the postmarked date of property owner notification to file signed, written protests with the Zoning Administrator.

(c)    Protested Application. Should twenty-five (25) percent or more of the property owners notified under the provisions of this section submit signed, written protests to the Zoning Administrator within the application protest period, the WECS application shall be forwarded to the Planning & Zoning Commission for review. The Planning & Zoning Commission shall have the authority to approve or deny the application or to attach any such conditions of approval as are deemed necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.

(d)   Unprotested Application. Should fewer than 25 percent of the property owners notified under the provisions of this section submit signed, written protests to the application, the application shall be deemed "unprotested" and the Zoning Administrator shall, within 10 calendar days of the close of the Application Protest Period, notify the applicant in writing of Site Plan approval for the proposed WECS.

(e)    Building Permit. The Zoning Administrator shall, following conditional use permit approval, forward a copy of all application materials and the approved Site Plan to the Chief Building Official. The Chief Building Official shall have the authority to require such additional information, plans or certifications, as he deems necessary. The applicant shall have one year from the date of Site Plan approval to obtain a building permit for the WECS.
 
Ord. 2011-06, 5-6-11

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