§ 156.138  WIND ENERGY FACILITIES.
   (A)   Purpose. To allow for the installation of wind energy facilities that are appropriate within the Town of Duck as a supplemental means of on-site electric power generation, while recognizing the public safety as well as the land use and community compatibility issues that are associated with the structural components of these facilities. This shall be achieved by establishing standards to protect community and neighborhood aesthetics, public safety, and to limit adverse impacts to adjacent property owners.
   (B)   Types of wind energy facilities permitted by zoning district. Supplementary Wind Energy Facilities, as defined in § 156.002, shall be permitted in all zoning districts within the town. Commercial Wind Energy Facilities are considered to be incompatible with development in the Town of Duck and are hereby prohibited.
   (C)   Use guidelines and dimensional requirements.
      (1)   Height.  Wind turbine structures shall not exceed the 5 feet above the maximum height limitation established within each zoning district.
      (2)   Setbacks.
         (a)   Freestanding wind turbines shall be set back a distance of least 1.1 times the total height of the wind energy facility from:
            1.   The lot lines of the lot where the wind energy facility is located.
            2.   The first line of stable natural vegetation of the Atlantic Ocean beach. In no instance shall the wind energy facility be located within the small structure setback established by the North Carolina Coastal Area Management Authority (CAMA).
            3.   The normal water line of the Currituck Sound. In no instance shall the wind energy facility be located within 30 feet of the normal water line of the Currituck Sound.
         (b)   Roof-mounted wind turbines and other accessory components of wind energy facilities shall be required to adhere to the minimum yard requirements for principal structures established in each zoning district.
      (3)   Noise.
         (a)   The maximum audible sound resulting from all wind energy facilities located on the same lot shall be 55 decibels (dBA) or 5 decibels (dBA) above the existing ambient noise level, whichever is greater, measured at the closest adjacent property line. The maximum audible sound shall be the sound pressure level that is exceeded for more than 10% of the measurement duration. This standard shall not apply to short-term events such as utility outages and/or severe wind storms.
         (b)   When the town receives a complaint of noise generated from a wind energy facility, the town shall perform a preliminary test using a decibel meter to determine if the noise from the wind energy facility exceeds the established level for maximum audible sound as defined in this section. If the result of the preliminary test supports that the maximum audible sound level has been exceeded to a material extent, then the owner of the wind energy facility shall be required to perform a detailed acoustic sound measurement of the wind energy facility. This measurement shall be conducted in accordance with industry standards for performing acoustic testing of small wind energy facilities which may include, but shall not be limited to, the procedures set forth in the American Wind Energy Association Publication "AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, Standard AWEA 9.1 - 2009."
         (c)   If the results of this measurement indicate that a violation exists and that the violation will persist without corrective action, then the owner shall discontinue use of the wind energy facility until appropriate measures can be taken to retrofit the structure or mitigate the noise at the affected property lines. If the noise from the wind energy facility cannot be brought into compliance with the noise requirements established by this section, the owner shall be required to decommission the wind energy facility.
      (4)   Aesthetics.
         (a)   Tower. If a tower is part of a wind energy facility, it shall be a self-supporting tubular tower (monopole) tower.
         (b)   Exterior finish. Each wind energy facility shall maintain a non-reflective finish neutral in color to reduce reflection and glare and to otherwise reduce visual obtrusiveness.
         (c)   Signage and lighting. Signage on a wind energy facility is only permitted consistent with the standards outlined in § 156.130. No lighting on the wind energy facility shall be permitted unless required by FAA regulations.
         (d)   Communications antenna. No communications antenna or arrangement of wires unrelated to the wind energy facility shall be installed or connected to the wind energy facility.
   (D)   Structural requirements.
      (1)   All wind energy facilities shall be designed and certified by a North Carolina licensed professional engineer that the wind energy facility meets the design requirements established by the current North Carolina State Building Code, including the ability to withstand the force exerted by a 130-mph, 3-second wind gust.
      (2)   If the lowest point of a rotor blade or other movable part is located closer than 12 feet to the ground, an adequate barrier shall be placed around the base of the wind turbine tower to prevent injury.
      (3)   The installation and design of all wind energy facilities shall comply with any applicable industry standards including standards for performance and safety as established by the American Wind Energy Association and the Small Wind Coordinating Council, and all electrical and mechanical components shall conform to relevant local, state and national codes.
      (4)   Wind energy facilities shall meet all applicable FAA regulations.
      (5)   All wind energy facilities shall be equipped with a disconnection means compliant with Article 705 of the National Electric Code.
   (E)   Decommissioning.
      (1)   A wind energy facility that is out of service and not functioning shall be repaired by the owner or removed. If the town determines that a wind energy facility has not been operational for a continuous 90-day period, the Zoning Administrator shall give written notice by certified mail to the owner of the facility. The owner shall be given 45 days from receipt of the notice to respond in writing and provide information that explains the reason(s) that the system has been out-of-service and the corrective action that will be taken to put the system back in service. The response shall also include a timetable for completion of repairs.
      (2)   If the town determines that the corrective measures and/or the proposed time for repairs is unreasonable, the Zoning Administrator shall give written notice by certified mail to the owner or occupant of the property on which the wind energy facility is located to remove the system within 90 days of receipt of the notice. The owner or occupant of the property on which the facility is located shall be solely responsible for safe removal of the facility, and all costs to remove the facility shall be borne solely by such owner or occupant.
      (3)   Upon failure to comply with a notice of removal within the time specified, the town shall cause removal of the wind energy facility, and any expense incurred shall be paid by the owner of the property upon which the wind energy facility was erected or maintained.
   (F)   Wind energy permitting requirements.
      (1)   No person shall erect any wind energy facility without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Community Development in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section.
      (2)   All permit applications for wind energy facilities shall include the following:
         (a)   Site plan depicting the proposed location of all components of the wind energy facility as well as existing structures located on the subject property with dimensions showing compliance with minimum yard requirements;
         (b)   Construction drawings of the wind energy facility depicting the design of the turbine structure, tower, base and footings, sealed by a licensed North Carolina Professional Engineer certifying that the drawings conform to all structural requirements established by law;
         (c)   Wind energy facility specifications including the total rated capacity;
         (d)   Measurements of ambient noise conditions of the subject property taken during daytime and nighttime hours as well as the maximum sound pressure levels from the proposed wind energy facility;
         (e)   Construction plan;
         (f)   Operation and maintenance plans and specifications;
         (g)   Shutdown procedures;
         (h)   Evidence of at least $500,000 of general liability insurance coverage;
         (i)   Any county, state and federal permits required by law or regulation; and
         (j)   Other relevant information as may be reasonably requested to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section.
(Ord. 10-06, passed 5-5-2010; Am. Ord. 17-04, passed 6-7-2017; Am. Ord. 21-01, passed 6-2-2021)