Village of Stratford, WI
Marathon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Stratford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-14-2009]
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Stratford adopts this article to promote the effective and efficient use of wind energy conversion systems (WECS) and to regulate the placement of wind energy conversion systems so that the public health and safety will not be jeopardized.
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Stratford further finds and declares that:
A. 
Wind turbines that convert wind energy to electricity are currently available on a commercial basis from many manufacturers.
B. 
The generation of electricity from properly sited wind turbines can be cost effective, and in many cases existing power distribution systems can be used to transmit electricity from wind-generating stations to utilities and other users.
C. 
Regulation of the site selection and installation of wind turbines is necessary for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of neighboring property owners and the general public.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
OVERSPEED CONTROL
A mechanism used to limit the speed of blade rotation to below the design limits of the WECS.
SITE
The plot of land where the WECS is to be placed. The site could be public or privately owned by an individual or a group of individuals controlling single or adjacent properties.
SWEPT AREA
The largest area of the WECS which extracts energy from the wind stream. In a conventional propeller-type WECS, there is a direct relationship between swept area and the rotor diameter.
TOTAL HEIGHT
The height of the tower and the furthest vertical extension of the WECS.
WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM (WECS)
A machine that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into a usable form (commonly known as a "wind turbine" or "windmill"). The WECS includes all parts of the system except the tower and the transmission equipment; the turbine or WECS may be on a horizontal or vertical axis, rotor, or propeller.
Wind energy conversion systems shall be permitted in only R-4 Rural Development and I-1 General Industrial Zoning Districts, subject to the following requirements:
A. 
The building permit application for a WECS shall be accompanied by a plot plan drawn in sufficient detail to clearly describe the following:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Address, property lines and physical dimensions of the site on which the system will be located.
(3) 
Location and elevation of the proposed WECS.
(4) 
Location of all aboveground utility lines on site or within one radius of the total height of the WECS.
(5) 
Location and size of structures and trees above 35 feet within a five-hundred-foot radius of the proposed WECS. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open lattice towers are not considered structures.
(6) 
Zoning designation of immediate and adjacent sites as set forth in Chapter 590, Zoning.
(7) 
Make, model, picture and manufacturer's specifications, including noise decibels.
B. 
Installation of all wind energy conversion systems shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) 
WECS size, as covered in this article, shall be a swept area of 1,000 square feet or less. (For conventional propeller WECS, this would be approximately 35 feet or less in diameter.)
(2) 
Nonelectrical WECS used for pumping water may be exempted from the provisions of Subsection B(3) through (15), but they must be sited so that any tip over will be harmless to others.
(3) 
Compliance with Uniform Building Code.[1]
(a) 
Building permit applications shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the structural components of the wind energy conversion systems, including support structures, tower, base and footings. Drawings and any necessary calculations shall be certified, in writing, by a Wisconsin registered professional engineer that the system complies with the Wisconsin State Uniform Building Code. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer.
(b) 
Where the structural components of an installation vary from the standard design or specifications, the proposed modifications shall be certified by a Wisconsin registered professional engineer for compliance with the seismic and structural design provisions of the Wisconsin Uniform Building Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(4) 
Compliance with National Electrical Code.
(a) 
Building permit applications shall be accompanied by a line drawing identifying the electrical components of the wind system to be installed in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of installation conforms to the National Electrical Code. The application shall include a statement from the Wisconsin registered professional engineer indicating that the electrical system conforms to good engineering practices and complies with the National Electrical Code. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer. All equipment and materials shall be used or installed in accordance with such drawings and diagrams.
(b) 
Where the electrical components of an installation vary from the standard design or specifications, the proposed modifications shall be reviewed and certified by a Wisconsin registered professional engineer for compliance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code and engineering practices.
(5) 
Rotor safety must be maintained by equipping each WECS with both manual and automatic controls to limit the rotational speed of the blade below the design limits of the rotor. The application must include a statement by a Wisconsin registered professional engineer certifying that the rotor and overspeed controls have been designed and fabricated for the proposed use in accordance with good engineering practices. The engineer should also certify the structural compatibility of possible towers with available rotors. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer and include the distance and trajectory of the thrown blade from an exploding turbine or propeller according to the loss of blade theory.
(6) 
Anchor points for guy wires for the WECS tower shall be located within property lines and not on or across any aboveground electric transmission or distribution line. The point of ground attachment for the guy wires shall be enclosed by a fence six feet high.
(7) 
Tower access.
(a) 
Tower access shall include:
[1] 
Tower-climbing apparatus located no closer than 12 feet to the ground; and
[2] 
A locked anti-climb device installed on the tower.
(b) 
The tower shall be completely enclosed by a locked protective fence at least six feet high.
(8) 
The WECS shall meet the requirements of any existing noise ordinance of the Village of Stratford.
(9) 
No WECS shall be installed in any location along the major axis of an existing microwave communications link where the operation of the WECS is likely to produce an unacceptable level of electromagnetic interference, unless the applicant provides sufficient evidence satisfactory to the Zoning Administrator of the Village of Stratford indicating the degree of expected interference and the possible side effect on the microwave communication link. If it is demonstrated to the Zoning Administrator that a WECS is causing harmful interference for radio, television, or Internet transmissions, the operator shall promptly mitigate the harmful interference.
(10) 
At least one sign shall be posted at the base of the tower warning of electrical shock or high voltage.
(11) 
The minimum height of the lowest part of the WECS shall be 30 feet above the highest existing major structure or tree within a two-hundred-fifty-foot radius. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open lattice towers are not considered structures. WECS shall be located or installed in compliance with the guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations with regard to airport approach zones.
(12) 
The minimum lot size required for the erection, construction, or placement of a WECS on a property shall be five acres.
(13) 
Setbacks.
(a) 
Except as provided for under Subsection B(6), the WECS shall be set back from any property line, aboveground utility line or other WECS a distance greater than either its overall height, including blades, or the minimum yard requirement, whichever is greater.
(b) 
In the case of cluster development, a WECS shall be erected within the common open space area and shall be set back from all residences a distance greater than Subsection B(13)(a) above.
(c) 
Contiguous property owners may construct a WECS for use in common, provided that the required setback is maintained relative to the property lines of nonparticipant owners.
(14) 
For those WECS which will be interconnected to a utility grid, no wind turbine shall be installed until evidence has been given that the utility company has been notified in writing.
(15) 
If a WECS is not maintained in operational condition for a period of one year or poses a potential safety hazard, the owner or operator shall take action to remedy the situation. The Village of Stratford reserves the authority to abate any hazardous situation and to pass the cost of such abatement on to the owner or operator of the system. If the Village of Stratford determines that the WECS has been abandoned and poses a safety hazard, the system shall be removed within 45 days of written notice to the owner or operator of the system.
(16) 
The applicant, owner, lessee or assignee shall maintain a current insurance policy which will cover installation and operation of the WECS at all times. Said policy shall provide a minimum of $300,000 of property and personal liability coverage. A certificate of insurance must be provided to the Village of Stratford annually.
(17) 
Lighting of the tower for aircraft and helicopters will conform to FAA standards for wattage and color.
(18) 
The project must be viewed for visual pollution, and the Village of Stratford may require an environmental impact statement.
A. 
Installation of a WECS shall require the granting of a conditional use permit.
B. 
Application for a conditional use permit shall be made, in writing, to the Plan Commission in accordance with the requirements of the Village of Stratford. The application shall be accompanied by the required hearing fee and include the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Evidence that the applicant is the owner of the premises involved or that the applicant has written permission of the owner to make such an application.
(3) 
A plot plan and development plan drawn in sufficient detail to clearly describe:
(a) 
Property line and physical dimensions of the proposed site;
(b) 
Location, approximate dimensions and types of major existing structures and uses of the site;
(c) 
Location and elevation of the proposed WECS;
(d) 
Location of all aboveground utility lines and other WECS on site or within one radius of the total height of the proposed WECS, including the furthest vertical extension of the rotor assembly;
(e) 
Location and size of structures or trees above 35 feet within a five-hundred-foot radius of the proposed WECS. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open lattice towers are not considered structures;
(f) 
Where applicable, the location of all transmission facilities proposed for installation; and
(g) 
Where applicable, the location of all road and other service structures proposed as part of the installation.
C. 
The Zoning Administrator or his designee shall have the right at any reasonable time to enter, in the company of the owner or his agent, the premises on which a WECS has been constructed to inspect all parts of said WECS installation and require that repairs or alterations be made, if in his judgment there exists a deficiency in the operation or in the structural stability of the system. If necessary, the Zoning Administrator or his designee may order the system secured or otherwise cease its operation. It shall not be required that the owner or his agent be present in the event of an emergency situation involving danger to life, limb or property.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-5 of this Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
Every conditional use permit granted under this article shall be a required recording on the property with the County Register of Deeds office. Proof of recording must be provided by the property owner to the Clerk of the Village of Stratford within 90 days of the granting of the conditional use permit. Failure to record the conditional use permit within the ninety-day period will result in immediate revocation of the conditional use permit.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[Adopted 6-9-2009]
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Stratford adopts this article to promote the effective and efficient use of solar energy systems (SES) and to regulate the placement of solar collector systems so that the public health and safety will not be jeopardized.
A. 
Installation of a solar energy system shall require the granting of a conditional use permit.
B. 
Application for a conditional use permit shall be made, in writing, to the Plan Commission in accordance with the requirements of the Village of Stratford. The application shall be accompanied by the required hearing fee and include the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Evidence that the applicant is the owner of the premises involved or that the applicant has written permission of the owner to make such an application.
(3) 
A plot plan and development plan drawn in sufficient detail to clearly describe:
(a) 
Property line and physical dimensions of the proposed site.
(b) 
Location, approximate dimensions and types of major existing structures and uses of the site.
(c) 
Location of the proposed solar energy system. The SES may not be placed in the front setback of any property.
C. 
The Zoning Administrator or his/her designee shall have the right at any reasonable time to enter, in the company of the owner or his agent, the premises on which a solar energy system has been constructed to inspect all parts of said SES installation and require that repairs or alterations be made within 30 days if, in his/her judgment, there exists a deficiency in the operation or in the structural stability of the system. If necessary the Zoning Administrator or his/her designee may order the system secured or otherwise cease its operation. It shall not be required that the owner or his agent be present in the event of an emergency situation involving danger to life, limb or property.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
D. 
Determination. The Plan Commission shall recommend the issuance of a conditional use permit to the Village Board if it is determined that:
(1) 
The granting of the permit will not unreasonably interfere with the orderly land use and development plans of the Village;
(2) 
No person has demonstrated that he has present plans to build a structure that creates an impermissible interference by showing that he has applied for a building permit prior to receipt of a required notice and has expended at least $500 on planning and designing such a structure or by submitting any other credible evidence that he made substantial progress toward planning or constructing a structure that would create an impermissible interference; and
(3) 
The benefits to the applicant and the public will exceed any burdens.
E. 
Conditional approval. The Village Board may grant a permit subject to any condition or exemption deemed necessary to minimize the possibility that the future development of nearby property will create an impermissible interference or to minimize any other burden on any person affected by granting the permit. Such conditions or exemptions include, but are not limited to, restrictions on the location of the collector and requirements for the compensation of persons affected by the granting of the permit.
F. 
Record of permit. If the Village Board grants a permit, the Village Board shall specify the property restricted by the permit and shall prepare notice of the granting of the permit. The notice shall include the identification required under § 706.05(2)(c), Wis. Stats., for the owner and the property upon which the solar collector is or will be located and for any owner and property restricted by the permit and shall indicate that the property may not be developed and vegetation may not be planted on the property so as to create an impermissible interference with the solar collector which is the subject of the permit unless the permit affecting the property is terminated or unless an agreement affecting the property is filed.
G. 
Remedies for impermissible interference. Any person who uses property which he owns or permits any other person to use the property in a way which creates an impermissible interference under a permit which has been granted or which is the subject of an application shall be liable to the permittee or applicant for damages, for any loss due to the impermissible interference, and for court costs and reasonable attorney fees unless:
(1) 
The building permit was applied for prior to receipt of a notice or the Village Board determines not to grant a permit after a hearing.
(2) 
A permit affecting the property is terminated.
(3) 
An agreement affecting the property is filed.
H. 
Permit holder. A permit holder is entitled to an injunction to require the trimming of any vegetation which creates or would create an impermissible interference as defined. If the court finds on behalf of the permit holder, the permit holder shall be entitled to a permanent injunction, damages, court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
I. 
Termination of solar access rights.
(1) 
Any right protected by a permit under this section shall terminate if the Plan Commission determines that the solar collector which is the subject of the permit is:
(a) 
Permanently removed or is not used for two consecutive years, excluding time spent on repairs or improvements.
(b) 
Not installed and functioning within two years after the date of issuance of the permit.
(2) 
The Plan Commission shall give the permit holder written notice and an opportunity for a hearing on a proposed termination.
(3) 
If the Plan Commission terminates a permit, the Plan Commission may charge the permit holder for the cost of recording and record a notice of termination with the Village Clerk, who shall record the notice or indicate on any notice recorded that the permit has been terminated.
J. 
Waiver. A permit holder by written agreement may waive all or part of any right protected by a permit. A copy of such agreement shall be recorded with the Village Clerk, who shall record such copy with the notice.
K. 
Preservation of rights. The transfer of title to any property shall not change the rights and duties under this section.
A. 
This article may not be construed to require that an owner obtain a permit prior to installing a solar collector.
B. 
This article may not be construed to mean that acquisition of any renewable energy easement under § 700.35, Wis. Stats., is in any way contingent upon the granting of a permit under this article.
The Village may provide for the trimming of vegetation which blocks solar energy, as defined under § 66.0403(1)(k), Wis. Stats., from a collector surface, as defined under § 700.41, Wis. Stats. This section includes the designation of the solar collector owner as the person responsible for the cost of removing the vegetation.
A. 
The Village Zoning Administrator and/or his/her representative shall have the right, at any reasonable time, to enter in the company of the owner or his/her agent the premises on which a solar energy system has been constructed to inspect all parts of said solar energy system installation and require that repairs or alterations be made within 30 days if, in his/her judgment, there exists a deficiency in the structural stability of the system.
B. 
If requested by the owner, an inspection may be made by the Village Zoning Administrator to certify the safety and maintenance of the solar energy system and accessory structures. The fee for this inspection shall be established by resolution of the Village Board.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-5 of this Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
Every conditional use permit granted under this article shall be a required recording on the property with the County Register of Deeds office. Proof of recording must be provided by the property owner to the Clerk of the Village of Stratford within 90 days of the granting of the conditional use permit. Failure to record the conditional use permit within the ninety-day period will result in immediate revocation of the conditional use permit.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).