1. A Small Wind Energy Conversion System (SWECS) shall be allowed only as a conditional accessory use to a permitted principal use or approved permitted conditional principal use.
2. Zoning. SWECS maybe allowed in all zoning districts subject to the provisions contained herein and elsewhere within this Code of Ordinances.
3. Permit Required. It is unlawful to construct, erect, install, alter or locate any SWECS within the City, unless a permitted conditional use permit has been obtained from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The permitted conditional use permit may be revoked by resolution of the Zoning Board of Adjustment any time the approved system does not comply with the rules set forth in this chapter and the conditions imposed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The owner / operator of the SWECS must also obtain any other permits required by other federal, State and local agencies or departments prior to constructing the system.
4. Number of Systems per Zoning Lot.
A. Residential Use. No more than one freestanding SWECS may be placed on any parcel or lot zoned for residential use. Building mounted SWECS may be allowed on any parcel or lot containing a one- or two-family use.
B. Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Use. No more than one freestanding SWECS may be placed on any parcel or lot with a commercial, industrial, or institutional use that is taller than the tallest existing principal building located on said parcel or lot. Additional freestanding SWECS which conform to setback requirements contained herein and which are not taller than the tallest existing principal building located on said parcel or lot may be allowed. Additional building mounted SWECS may be allowed within the parameters herein below. However, in no case shall the generating capacity of aggregated SWECS exceed anticipated energy needs for on site consumption.
C. Mixed Use. Any building containing both residential and commercial uses or described as a mixed use building shall be considered to be a commercial use for the purposes of this chapter.
5. Tower. Only monopole towers shall be permitted for freestanding SWECS in residential and commercial districts. Lattice, guyed or towers of any other type shall be permitted in industrial and agricultural districts.
6. Color. Freestanding SWECS shall be neutral color such as white, sky blue, or light gray. Building mounted SWECS shall match the color of the building on which it is mounted. Other colors may be allowed at the discretion of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The surface shall be non-reflective.
7. Lighting. No lights shall be installed on the tower, unless required to meet FAA regulations.
8. Signage. No signage or advertising of any kind shall be permitted on the tower or any associated structures.
9. Climbing Apparatus. The tower must be designed to prevent climbing within the first 10 feet.
10. Maintenance. Facilities shall be well maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and shall remain in an operational condition that poses no potential safety hazard nor is in violation of any provisions contained within this chapter or elsewhere within this Code of Ordinances.
11. Displacement of Parking Prohibited. The location of the SWECS shall not result in the net loss of required parking as specified elsewhere in the City Zoning Code.
12. Utility Notification. The City shall notify the utility of receipt of an application to install an interconnected customer-owned generator. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this notification requirement.
13. Interconnection. The SWECS, if not off-grid, shall meet the requirements for interconnection and operation as set forth by the utility and the Iowa Utilities Board. No permit of any kind shall be issued until the City has been provided with a copy of an executed interconnection agreement. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.
14. Restriction on Use of Electricity Generated. A SWECS shall be used exclusively to supply electrical power to the owner for on site consumption, except that excess electrical power generated by the SWECS and not presently needed for use by the owner may be used by the utility company in accordance with Section 199, Chapter 15.11(5) of the Iowa Administrative Code, as may be subsequently amended.
15. Noise. A SWECS shall be designed, installed and operated so that the noise generated does not exceed the maximum noise levels established elsewhere in this Code of Ordinances.
16. Shadow Flicker. No SWECS shall be installed and operated so to cause a shadow flicker to fall on or in any existing residential structure.
17. Safety Controls. Each SWECS shall be equipped with both an automatic and manual braking, governing, or feathering system to prevent uncontrolled rotation, over-speeding, and excessive pressure on the tower structure, rotor blades, or turbine components. Said automatic braking system shall also be capable of stopping turbine rotation in the event of a power outage so as to prevent back feeding of the grid.
18. Shut Off. A clearly marked and easily accessible shut off for the wind turbine will be required as determined by the Building Official.
19. Electromagnetic Interference. All SWECS shall be designed and constructed so as not to cause radio and television interference. If it is determined that the SWECS is causing electromagnetic interference, the owner / operator shall take the necessary corrective action to eliminate this interference including relocation or removal of the facilities, subject to the approval of the appropriate City authority. A permit granting a SWECS may be revoked if electromagnetic interference from the SECS becomes evident.
20. Wind Access Easement. The enactment of this chapter does not constitute the granting of an easement by the City. The SWECS owner / operator shall have the sole responsibility to acquire any covenants, easements, or similar documentation to assure and / or protect access to sufficient wind as may or may not be necessary to operate the SWECS.
21. Insurance. The owner or operator of a SWECS must demonstrate and maintain liability insurance of not less than $1,000,000 coverage.
22. Engineering Certification. Applications for any SWECS shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base, and footings. An engineering analysis of all components of the SWECS showing compliance with the applicable regulations and certified by an Iowa licensed professional engineer shall also be submitted.
23. Installation. Installation must be done according to manufacturer’s recommendations. All wiring and electrical work must be completed according to the applicable building and electrical codes. All electrical components must meet code recognized test standards.
24. Removal. If the SWECS remains nonfunctional or inoperative for a continuous period of six months, the system shall be deemed to be abandoned. The SWECS owner or operator shall remove the abandoned system at their expense. Removal of the system includes the entire structure, transmission equipment and fencing from the property excluding foundations. Non-function or lack of operation may be proven by reports from the interconnected utility. For off-grid systems the City shall have the right to enter the property at its sole discretion to determine if the off-grid system is generating power. Such generation may be proven by use of an amp meter. The SWECS owner or operator and successors shall make available to the Building Official all reports to and from the purchaser of energy from the SWECS if requested. If removal of towers and appurtenant facilities is required, the Building Official shall notify the SWECS owner or operator. Removal shall be completed within six months of written notice to remove being provided to the owner or operator by the City.
25. Right of Entrance. As a condition of approval of a conditional use permit an applicant seeking to install SWECS shall be required to sign a petition and waiver agreement which shall be recorded and run with the land granting permission to the City to enter the property to remove the SWECS pursuant to the terms of approval and to assure compliance with other conditions set forth in the permit. Removal shall be at the expense of the owner or operator and the cost may be assessed against the property.
26. Feasibility Study. It is highly recommended that a feasibility study be made of any site prior to installing a wind turbine. The feasibility study should include measuring actual wind speeds at the proposed turbine site for at least three months.