Zoning For Wind Turbines
One important aspect of siting for small scale wind systems is zoning regulations. Some jurisdictions, for
example, restrict the height of the structures permitted in residentially
zoned areas, although variances are
often obtainable. Most zoning ordinances
have a height limit of 35 feet.
You can find out about the zoning
restrictions in your area by calling
the local building inspector, board of
supervisors, or planning board. They
can tell you if you will need to obtain
a building permit and provide you
with a list of requirements.
In addition to zoning issues, your
neighbors might object to a wind
machine that blocks their view, or
they might be concerned about noise.
Most zoning and aesthetic concerns
can be addressed by supplying objective
data. For example, the ambient
noise level of most modern residential
wind turbines is around 52 to 55 decibels.
This means that while the sound
of the wind turbine can be picked out
of surrounding noise if a conscious
effort is made to hear it, a residentialsized
wind turbine is no noisier than
your average refrigerator.
For more information about zoning, you can check out the materials from a January 2008 webinar sponsored by American Solar Energy Society’s Small Wind Division and available from the Wind Powering America program here. You can also find the document upon which much of this webinar was based on here.