[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Shaler 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 1938. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Wind Energy Facility Ordinance for Shaler Township."
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the construction and operation of wind energy facilities in Shaler Township, subject to reasonable conditions that will protect the public health, safety and welfare.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The person or entity filing an application under this chapter.
- FACILITY OWNER
- The entity or entities having an equity interest in the wind energy facility, including their respective successors and assigns.
- HUB HEIGHT
- The distance measured from the surface of the tower foundation to the height of the wind turbine hub, to which the blade is attached.
- OCCUPIED BUILDING
- A residence, school, hospital, church, public library or other building used for public gathering that is occupied or in use when the permit application is submitted.
- The entity responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the wind energy facility.
- TURBINE HEIGHT
- The distance measured from the surface of the tower foundation to the highest point of the turbine rotor plane.
- WIND ENERGY FACILITY
- An electric generating facility, whose main purpose is to supply electricity, consisting of one or more wind turbines and other accessory structures and buildings, including substations, meteorological towers, electrical infrastructure, transmission lines and other appurtenant structures and facilities.
- WIND TURBINE
- A wind energy conversion system that converts wind energy into electricity through the use of a wind turbine generator, and includes the nacelle, rotor, tower, and pad transformer, if any.
This chapter applies to all wind energy facilities proposed to be constructed after the effective date of this chapter, including small wind energy systems for the purpose of serving commercial buildings on site and stand-alone wind turbines constructed primarily for commercial use.
Any physical modification to an existing wind energy facility that materially alters the size, type and number of wind turbines or other equipment shall require a permit under this chapter.
Small wind energy systems for the purpose of serving commercial buildings on site shall be permitted as an accessory use in the Route 8 and Route 28 Corridor Overlay Districts subject to the requirements of this section.
Plan. The structure employed shall be subject to plan approval by the Shaler Township Board of Commissioners. Any modification or substantial change in size or design of the structure shall require further plan review and approval. The site plan and any subsequent modifications shall be drawn to be an appropriate scale and shall provide construction details and show the location of all existing public roads, existing structures, utility line and all structures, facilities and power lines to be constructed on the site, as well as identifying adjoining property owners, and the location of any structures on adjoining properties within 100 feet of the common property lines.
Compliance with Uniform Construction Code. Permit applications for wind systems shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower showing compliance with the Uniform Construction Code and certified by a licensed professional engineer shall also be submitted for Township approval.
Approved wind turbines. Wind turbines must be approved under an emerging technology program such as the California Energy Commission, IEC, or other small wind certification program recognized by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) or the U.S. Department of Energy.
Compliance with FAA regulations. Wind energy systems must comply with applicable FAA regulations, including any necessary approvals for installations close to airports.
Compliance with National Electric Code. Permit applications for wind energy systems 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, the Uniform Construction Code.
Utility notification. No wind energy system shall be installed until evidence has been given that the utility company has been informed of the customer's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned generator.
Towers. Small wind energy systems shall be roof mounted, cannot be higher than 45 feet above the ground to the highest point of the rotor or blade, and must be surrounded by a six-foot fence. The maximum rotor diameter for a small turbine shall be six feet.
Setback. No part of the small wind energy system structure, including any guide wire anchors, may extend closer than 40 feet to the property boundaries of the installation site. Small wind energy towers shall be set back a distance equal to 1 1/2 times the total height of the turbine from all inhabited off-site structures, overhead utility lines, public roads, and rights-of-way. Other facilities must follow generally applicable setbacks within the particular zoning district.
No more than one wind turbine shall be located upon a property or serve a single structure.
Clearance of the blade. No portion of the small energy wind system shall extend within 20 feet of the ground. No blades shall extend over parking areas, driveways or sidewalks.
Automatic overspeed controls. All wind energy conversion systems shall be equipped with manual (electronic or mechanical) and automatic overspeed controls to limit the blade rotation speed to within the design limits of the wind energy system.
Sound. Noise from small wind energy systems shall not exceed 50db as measured at the closest neighboring inhabited dwelling or 10db above ambient noise in any one hour, whichever is higher. The level, however, may be exceeded during short-term events such as utility outages and/or severe wind storms.
Lighting. No tower shall be permitted that requires any form of lighting or illumination under federal, state, or local laws.
Wiring. All wiring from the tower to the structure must be installed underground.
Appearance. The small wind energy system shall have a flat finish as applied by the manufacturer and must be neutral in color, with the objective being to have it appear as inconspicuous as possible. No signage or advertising of any kind shall be applied to the tower or any component of the wind energy system.
Insurance. Prior to the issuance of a permit for the installation of a small wind energy system, the applicant shall provide evidence of homeowners' insurance in sufficient amounts, but no less than $1,000,000, that covers damages to person or property resulting from the installation and operation of the small wind energy system, which the applicant agrees to maintain so long as the system remains in question. In addition, the applicant shall provide the Township with an agreement acceptable to the Township Solicitor agreeing to release, hold harmless, and indemnify the Township from all claims, lawsuits, and liabilities of any kind or type whatsoever arising from the construction, use, or operation of the wind energy system.
Removal. Any time a small wind energy system becomes inoperable and is not put back into service within six months after receiving written notification from the Township Code Enforcement Officer, the applicant must remove the turbine, tower, and all related facilities at the applicant's sole cost and expense.
Miscellaneous. The property owner shall construct and maintain the small wind energy system, tower, and turbine included in a safe and neat condition so as not to present a danger or an unsightly appearance to neighbors. Any property owner receiving site plan approval shall allow annual inspections by the Township Building Inspector or Township Engineer of the small wind energy system and will be required to provide, at the property owner's expense, a verified report of a qualified engineer as to the structural integrity of the system, including turbine, tower, and related assembly. Failure to provide an annual report from a qualified engineer within 60 days of written notice from the Township shall result in the termination of the authorization to maintain the small wind energy system and may subject the property owner to an order for immediate removal of the tower.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to violate or fail to comply with or take any action which is contrary to the terms of this chapter, or any permit issued under this chapter, or cause another to violate or fail to comply, or to take any action which is contrary to the terms of this chapter or any permit issued under this chapter.
If the Township of Shaler determines that a violation of this chapter or the permit has occurred, the Township shall provide written notice to any person, firm, or corporation alleged to be in violation of this chapter or permit.
Anyone violating this chapter shall be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $600 for each violation and the costs of prosecution, and upon default in payment, may be committed to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.