[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Sullivan 10-1-2008 by L.L. No. 5-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The people of the State of New York have in the New York State Constitution, Article IX, Section 2, delegated the responsibility to local governmental units to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety, and the general welfare of its citizenry. More particularly, Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York at § 10 grants to local governments the power to adopt and amend local laws.
The Town of Sullivan (the "Town") through this chapter and the terms, provisions, requirements and conditions contained within it (collectively referred to herein as "these regulations") seeks to promote the nonpolluting, efficient use of small wind energy systems installed to reduce the on-site consumption of utility supplied electricity. The Town contains areas with suitable, sustainable winds necessary to meet the thresholds of current wind to electricity conversion technologies. The intent of these regulations is to provide guidelines for the site, construction and operation of on-site-use wind energy facilities, subject to reasonable restrictions, which will preserve the public's interest in health, safety, and character of the landscape. These regulations are limited to small, on-site-use wind energy systems and do not address large-scale commercial wind turbines or wind farms intended to sell energy to power companies. All purposed on-site-use systems require a special use permit from the Planning Board of the Town of Sullivan prior to construction and operation within the Town.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Federal Aviation Administration.
- The height of the structure from the base to the furthest extension of the WECS, including tower, rotor and blades.
- ON-SITE WECS
- A wind energy conversion system device capable of producing 100 kw or less of electrical energy to be used principally upon the same site.
- OVERSPEED CONTROL
- A mechanism used to limit the speed of the windmill's blades below design limitations of the WECS.
- PLANNING BOARD
- The Planning Board of the Town of Sullivan.
- The parcel of land on which the WECS is to be placed.
- SPECIAL USE PERMIT (SUP)
- The general requirements, standards and process for review of conditioned land uses such as WECS as outlined in Article V of Chapter 275, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Sullivan.
- Any location from which a WECS is visible.
- WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM (WECS)
- A device that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into electrical energy, commonly referred to as a "wind turbine" or "windmill." This system includes all parts of the windmill and supporting equipment.
The minimum distance between the ground and any part of the rotorblade apparatus shall be 20 feet.
Wind turbine towers shall not be climbable up to 15 feet above the ground.
All access doors to the wind turbine towers and electrical equipment shall be lockable.
Appropriate warning signage shall be located on towers, electrical equipment and WECS entrances. No signage shall be placed upon WECS structures other than those pertaining to safety.
Use the minimum lighting necessary for safety and security purposes and use techniques to prevent casting a glare from the site except as otherwise may be required by the FAA or other applicable authority.
A wind turbine shall possess an overspeed control to protect the integrity of the device.
Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicants shall provide the Town proof of a level of insurance to be determined by the Town Board in consultation with the Town's insurer to cover damage or injury that may result from failure of any part of the WECS.
Any WECS found to be unsafe by the Code Enforcement Officer shall be immediately repaired by the owner. Failure to correct unsafe conditions immediately will result in a revocation of the SUP and an order to remove WECS device from the property.
WECS devices not operable for 12 consecutive months are to be removed from the site. The owner may petition the Town as to circumstances that the request for removal should not be enforced.
Use existing roads to provide access to the facility site or if new roads are necessary minimize the impact upon the environment due to construction and site location.
All wiring between WECS on-site use and electrical power utility must be underground.
WECS connected to the electrical utility system shall conform to all of the electrical utility's current service regulations.
Location of WECS on property fronting Oneida Lake between the shoreline (including the water itself) and the residence or principle structure is prohibited. WECS devices proposed for lakefront properties must be located behind the front line of the residence or principle structure towards the rear of the lot.
WECS devices are permitted in all zones. The principle use of the property may be residential, business or agricultural.
WECS shall be set back a distance equal to 110% of the height from adjacent property lines, public road right-of-ways or existing aboveground public electric or telephone lines.
Maximum height of WECS shall be 150 feet, except within 600 feet of the shoreline of Oneida Lake where the max height shall be 80 feet.
Nuisance prevention requirements.
Audible noise due to WECS operations shall not exceed 50 dBa for any period of time when measured at any adjacent residence or habitable facility existing on the date of approval.
Mitigation on the part of the applicant is required for any interference with any electromagnetic communication signals caused by the WECS.
No WECS shall be installed in any location where it will interfere with the reception or transmission of radio, television or wireless communication systems.
Environmental/visual requirements. The design of the WECS, to the extent reasonably possible, shall use materials, colors, textures, screening and landscaping that will blend the facility into the natural setting and existing viewshed. Towers shall be designed and located in order to minimize adverse visual impacts upon neighboring residential areas to the greatest extent feasible.
In addition to the SUP application, the applicant must provide the Planning Board with the following information:
Site plan information:
Drawings and specifications of proposed WECS device.
Structural drawings prepared by the engineer of the tower, including foundation and wiring design as applicable.
Evidence that the overspread control is appropriate for the WECS device being proposed.
Information on the sound levels generated by proposed WECS.
The Planning Board in its review may request further information from the applicant as deemed necessary to clarify the application. These requests may include, but are not limited to, the description of the viewshed with photographs and topographic maps and ambient sound level data.
The applicant should provide quantitative data or anecdotal evidence that support the sites of the proposed WECS as feasible according to current design conditions.
The Town recognizes the variability in wind conversion devices, lot sizes, lot layouts, topography, residential densities and wind variability within a small geographic area. Flexibility is necessary to maximize the energy potential at each site. Therefore, the Planning Board in its review may waive or seek mitigation, based upon supporting documentation, conditions or standards set forth in these regulations. Any waiver or mitigation must be in the spirit of these regulations and not increase the likelihood of an adverse impact upon adjacent properties or the community as a whole.