2008-04-02 / Front Page

Wind Test Tower Passes Hurdle

Commission Recommends Council Grant Permit; Questions Raised

The Archbold Planning Commission recommended Archbold Village Council approve a conditional use permit for a wind test tower, Monday night, March 31.

One man questioned the installation.

Kim Weldy, who lives on Short-Buehrer Road, said he has concerns.

The site for the proposed tower would be on the northwest corner of the new Archbold Evangelical Mennonite Church property.

Weldy told members of the planning commission he will look at the tower from his back window. He asked whether the tower would be a permanent structure.

Explained

Tony Urbas, Waterville, an engineer working on the school district wind power project, said the tower will only be in place for 12 to 16 months.

The school district is attempting to borrow the tower from Green Energy Ohio. If Green Energy Ohio approves the loan, the approximately 198-foot tower will be erected. It will have small wind-speed measuring instruments mounted at different heights.

The tower will be an opengirder structure, held in place with guy wires.

Urbas said information from the tower will determine whether a larger electricity-generating wind turbine is a feasible project.

Urbas said the school district is looking at a three-part plan.

The first phase is conserva- tion; he said he believes a lot of energy can be saved in the school through conservation practices.

The second is primary power. The school district is looking into purchasing electricity from Toledo Edison at a higher voltage, then installing its own transformers and distribution systems. A lot of money can be saved there, Urbas said.

The last step in the school district energy consideration is an alternate source of power, such as a wind turbine.

Solar?

When asked about solar power, Urbas said the school buildings have a lot of flat roof space that would support solar panels, to convert sunlight to electricity.

Urbas said there are new developments in solar panel technology. He estimated that within five years, the panels will be competitive with Toledo Edison costs.

Conditions

Planning commission discussed other aspects for the tower installation.

Jim Wyse, village mayor and commission member, brought up the issue of removal. He recommended the special use permit require that the tower be removed in 18 months after erection. That would give two months to remove the tower after its data-collection mission is complete.

The commission also considered a "fall zone" around the tower, so that, if for some rea- son the tower fell, it would not strike an occupied structure.

The commission left the fall zone question up to Bob Seaman, village engineer. The installers will be required to work with Seaman on the issue.

Also, devices to prevent people climbing the tower were discussed.

Vote

APC voted to recommend that Archbold Village Council grant the conditional use permit.

The vote was unanimous, with Denny Meyer, commission member, absent.

Ordinance

Commission members also discussed the writing of an ordinance controlling wind turbines in the village.

Urbas helped Waterville write a wind turbine ordinance. It is the first in the state.

Among the issues discussed were fall zones, noise, and flickering light caused by the turning turbine blades.

The decision was made to ban wind turbines from residentialzoned areas, and require a turbine to be removed if not used.

The commission will review a draft ordinance of wind turbine regulations at their next meeting, Monday, May 12, 7 pm in council chambers. - David Pugh

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