Town of Pendleton, NY
Niagara County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 5-11-2015]
This article shall be known as and may be cited as the "Residential Wind Energy Conversion Systems (RWECS) Law of the Town of Pendleton."
The purpose of this article is to provide standards for RWECS designed for home and/or farm wind energy conversion system use on the same parcel, and that they are primarily used to reduce consumption of utility power at that location. The Town of Pendleton is primarily responsible for promoting the health, safety and general welfare of its residents and the environmental quality of its lands. This article is designed to preserve and protect the quality of life and the quality of the environment within the borders of the Town of Pendleton and to ensure that the health, safety, and general welfare continue to exist at the highest level and standards which the Town's residents have consistently required and expect.
A. 
The intent of this article is to protect the Town's interest in properly siting all residential wind energy turbines and/or similar facilities in accordance with approved plans. Site plan approval is not required for farm operations located within an agricultural district.
B. 
This article may be periodically reviewed and revised by the Town Board in order to maintain compliance with the spirit and intent of this article.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FARM OPERATIONS
Agricultural and farming activities located within an agricultural district as defined in § 301 of the New York State Agricultural and Markets Law.
RESIDENTIAL WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM (RWECS)
A wind energy conversion system consisting of one wind turbine, one tower, and associated control or conversion electronics and is intended to solely supply electrical power for the use on the subject property.
TOTAL HEIGHT
The height of the wind energy conversion system measured from the ground elevation to the top of the tip of the blade in the vertical position.
TOWER
The support structure, includes a guyed monopole upon which a wind turbine and other mechanical devices are mounted.
TOWER HEIGHT
The height above grade of the uppermost fixed portion of the tower, excluding the length of any axial rotating turbine blades.
WIND TURBINE
Any piece of electricity-generating equipment that converts wind energy into electrical energy through the use of airfoils, rotating turbine blades, or similar devices to capture the wind.
A. 
The applicant shall file a site plan review application with the Planning Board. If the property owner is not the applicant, the application shall include a letter or other written permission signed by the property owner confirming that the property owner is familiar with the proposed application and authorizing the submission of the application.
B. 
This site plan review shall include:
(1) 
Twelve sets of plans prepared and certified by a New York State licensed professional engineer, an architect, a landscape architect, or land surveyor.
(2) 
Drawing title including: name of project, name and address of applicant and person who prepared the drawings. North point, scale, legend, location map and date.
(3) 
Property survey of proposed project, including dimensions, angles and acreage plotted to scale. Also show adjoining properties, owner names and addresses, and buildings within 500 feet of project boundary.
(4) 
Street name, right-of-way and pavement width of all existing streets on or adjacent to the site, also including the location of adjacent or abutting driveways and street intersections.
(5) 
Topographic survey (minimum grid of 50 feet), datum shall be State Plane, includes benchmark(s), location and elevation on drawing.
(6) 
All existing buildings.
(7) 
Proposed building locations, building setbacks and minimum zoning setbacks, side yard dimensions, space between buildings, green areas, parking areas and ingress and egress identified.
(8) 
All existing watercourses, tree masses and other natural features, elevation of water in existing watercourses and proposed and existing base flood elevations (one-hundred-year if in a flood hazard area).
(9) 
SEQR forms submitted. This action will be classified as an unlisted action. As a result, the short form will be used.
(10) 
Visual impact study of the proposed RWECS as installed, which may include a computerized photographic simulation, demonstrating any visual impacts from strategic vantage points. Color photographs of the proposed site from at least two locations accurately depicting the existing conditions shall be included. The visual analysis shall also indicate the color treatment of the system's components and any visual screening incorporated into the project that is intended to lessen the system's visual prominence.
(11) 
Location and elevation of the proposed RWECS
(12) 
Vertical drawing of the RWECS showing total height, turbine dimensions, tower and turbine colors, ladders, distance between ground and lowest point of any blade, location of climbing pegs and access doors.
(13) 
Location of all aboveground utility lines on the site or within one radius of the total height of the RWECS, transformers, power lines, interconnection point with transmission lines and other ancillary facilities or structures shall be shown.
(14) 
Record as-built drawings shall be submitted to the Building Department prior to issuance of final building Department approval.
C. 
The Planning Board shall schedule a public hearing.
D. 
Within 62 days after the public hearing, the Planning Board may approve, approve with conditions or deny the site plan review application. Denial of the application shall be by written decision based upon substantial evidence submitted to the Planning Board. Upon approval, the applicant shall obtain a building permit for the RWECS.
A. 
Minimum lot size: five acres.
B. 
Setbacks:
(1) 
From property lines: minimum distance 1 1/2 times the total height of the RWECS from any property line.
(2) 
From on-site residential dwelling buildings: minimum distance 1 1/2 times the total height of the RWECS.
(3) 
From off-site residential dwelling: minimum distance shall be 500 feet from the tower.
(4) 
All RWECS shall be set back from rights-of-way, easements, public ways, power lines, and any preexisting structures by a distance of at least equal to its fall zone.
C. 
The minimum distance between the ground and any part of the rotor blade shall be 30 feet at its lowest point of rotation.
D. 
Only one RWECS per legal lot shall be allowed.
E. 
Exterior lighting, other than the conventional lighting for maintenance purposes, on any structure associated with the RWECS, shall not be allowed except that which is specifically required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
F. 
No brand names, logos or advertising shall be placed or painted on the tower, rotor, generator, or tail vane where it would be visible from the ground, except that a system's or tower's manufacturer's logo may be displayed on a system generator housing in an unobtrusive manner.
G. 
All wind turbines shall be equipped with an automatic braking, governing, or feathering system to prevent uncontrolled rotation, over-speeding and excessive pressure on the tower structure, rotor blades, and turbine components, or nacelles. This should meet or exceed the industrial standards for the size of the system and be certified by the manufacturer. The applicant shall have a manual filed with the Town Clerk also showing any revisions.
H. 
No RWECS shall be installed in any location where its proximity with existing fixed broadcast, retransmission or reception antenna for radio, television or wireless phone or other personal communication systems would produce electromagnetic interference with signal transmission or reception. No RWECS shall be installed in any location along the major axis of an existing microwave communication link where its operation is likely to produce electromagnetic interference in the link's operation. If it is determined that a RWECS is causing electromagnetic interference, the property owner shall take the necessary corrective action to eliminate this interference, including relocation or removal of the facilities, or resolution of the issue with the impacted parties. Failure to remedy electromagnetic interference is grounds for revocation of the RWECS building permit and approval for the RWEC causing the interference.
I. 
RWECS shall conform to the following specifications:
(1) 
Kilowatt limit: 10 kilowatts maximum.
(2) 
Color. The color of all RWECS shall be reviewed as environmentally appropriate subject to Planning Board approval. The RWECS tower and blades shall be painted a nonreflective, unobtrusive color that blends the system and its components into the surrounding landscape to the greatest extent possible and shall incorporate nonreflective surfaces to minimize negative visual impact.
(3) 
Structure. All RWECS structures shall be a monopole tower.
(4) 
The design of RWECS buildings and related structures shall, to the extent reasonably possible, use materials, colors, textures, screening, and landscaping that will blend the facility to the natural setting and the existing environment.
(5) 
All monopole towers must be unclimbable by design and protected by anticlimbing devices, as per industrial standards or climbing apparatus to prohibit access no lower than 12 feet from the ground.
(6) 
All related electrical lines shall be buried and marked in compliance with the NEC standards.
(7) 
Total height shall be limited to a maximum of 120 feet to comply with setbacks.
(8) 
RWECS shall be located only in rear yards.
(9) 
Anchor points for any guy wires for a system tower shall be located within the property that the system is located on and not on or across any aboveground electric transmission or distribution lines. The point of attachment for the guy wires shall be enclosed by a fence six feet high or sheathed in bright orange or yellow covering to eight feet above the ground. The minimum setback for the guy wire anchors shall be 10 feet from the property boundary.
J. 
Certification. The applicant is required to provide the following certifications:
(1) 
Certification of structural components. The foundation, tower and compatibility of the tower with the rotor and rotor-related equipment shall be certified in writing by a structural engineer registered in New York State. The engineer shall certify compliance with good engineering practices and compliance with the appropriate provisions of the Uniform Construction Code that have been adopted in New York State.
(2) 
Certification of electrical system. The electrical system shall be certified in writing by an electrical engineer registered in New York State. The engineer shall certify compliance with good engineering practices and with the appropriate provisions of the electrical code that have been adopted by New York State.
(3) 
Certification of rotor overspeed control. The rotor overspeed control system shall be certified in writing by a mechanical engineer registered in New York State. The engineer shall certify compliance with good engineering practices.
K. 
General complaint process.
(1) 
During construction, the Town of Pendleton Code Enforcement Officer can issue a stop order at any time for any violations of the permit.
(2) 
Post construction. After construction is complete, the permit holder shall establish a contact person, including name and phone number for receipt of any complaint. Upon receipt of complaint from the Town of Pendleton Code Enforcement Officer, the permit holder/contact person shall have seven working days to reply to the Town in writing.
L. 
Post-construction maintenance/inspections.
(1) 
Upon reasonable notice, Town of Pendleton Code Enforcement Officer may enter a lot on which a RWEC building permit has been granted for the purpose of compliance with any permit requirements. Twenty-four hours' advance notice by telephone to the owner/operator or designated contact person shall be deemed reasonable notice.
(2) 
A RWECS shall be inspected annually by a professional engineer licensed in the State of New York that has been approved by the Town or at any other time, upon a determination by the Town's Code Enforcement Officer, that the wind turbine, tower, or other RWECS components have sustained structural damage, and a copy of the inspection report shall be submitted to the Town Code Enforcement Officer. Any fee or expense associated with this inspection shall be borne entirely by the permit holder.
M. 
Fees and costs.
(1) 
Per RWECS: $200, plus any associated cost incurred by the Town tied to outside consultants.
(2) 
RWECS building permit fee: $100.
N. 
Abandonment of use.
(1) 
All RWECS shall be maintained in good condition and in accordance with all requirements of this section. If an annual inspection shows that the structure is unsafe, then the owner will be given an opportunity to bring the structure into compliance. If the structure is deemed unsafe and the owner does not bring the structure into compliance within a reasonable period of time, the tower shall be dismantled and removed from the property at the owner's expense. The Town reserves the right to dismantle the structure and to charge back the cost of this removal to the property owner. If unpaid, this cost will be assessed to the tax levy of the property.
(2) 
Failure to abide by and faithfully comply with this standards of this section and with any and all conditions that may be attached to the granting of the RWECS building permit shall constitute grounds for the revocation of the permit.