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Trustees start process for wind energy regulations

January 2, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Austintown Township Trustees recently gave the go-ahead to begin work on a wind energy project regulation document. It would regulate wind energy projects by protecting the public from health and safety concerns.

"The trustees passed the resolution to start the process," said township zoning inspector Darren Crivelli.

He said the regulation basically covers the construction of a wind generator in regards to set backs and noise output. It would limit the noise level that one could generate and would also keep it out of harm's way.

Crivelli gave the example of a parking lot. He said it would not be permitted in places that would create a falling hazard to people and property. He said he was aware of cases where the large turbines have fallen from high tower placements. It would be the last thing anyone would want to happen in a busy parking lot, Crivelli said.

"If you are in a B-2 property [zone], you couldn't place one in front of your property."

Part of the resolution deals with obstacles that would be in a fall zone around a wind generator. Things like power lines and public roadways would need to be outside a radius around the wind generator.

The resolution, according to Crivelli, would require anyone wanting to construct a wind generator to seek a condition use permit through the Austintown Zoning Board of Appeals.

Crivelli got the approval to proceed on the resolution earlier in December. He immediately presented it to the Mahoning County Planning Commission and has scheduled it to go before the Austintown Zoning Commission on Jan. 5.

Crivelli said the resolution is needed to protect the township and residents. Although wind generators are going up in various parts of the country, he doesn't look for it to be a big issue locally.

"I've been told by people in the know, that [wind generators] are not cost effective here," he said. "The wind patterns here are not sufficient to make it worth the cost."



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