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(A) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to regulate and to allow in appropriate zoning districts the safe, effective, and efficient use of small wind energy systems installed to reduce the on-site production and consumption of utility supplied electricity while respecting the individual rights of all property owners. It is in the public interest to regulate the use of small wind energy systems in appropriate zoning districts consistent with the regulations hereinafter adopted.
(1) The City of Heath recognizes that wind energy is an abundant, renewable and environmentally friendly resource, and that its conversion to electrical power reduces dependence on non-renewable energy sources and decreases air and water pollution resulting from conventional energy sources. While the city supports the use of non-polluting resources, the city understands that wind energy production and effectiveness is limited in North Texas due to inconsistent and insufficient winds which lack continuous presence and velocity.
(2) Therefore, wind energy systems shall be permitted on tracts of ten acres or more with a maximum tower height of 55 feet. Any proposed variance to permitted systems, including proposal of a system on tracts less than ten acres, must obtain a conditional use permit.
(C) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
dB/A. The sound pressure level in decibels.
DECIBEL. The unit of measure used to express the magnitude of sound pressure and sound intensity.
SOUND PRESSURE. The average rate at which sound energy is transmitted through a unit area in a specified direction.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL. The sound pressure mapped to a logarithmic scale and reported in decibels.
SYSTEM. A wind energy conversion system that converts wind energy into electricity that has a rated capacity of not more than ten kilowatts and is intended for on-site production and consumption of electricity to serve the needs of the consumer. SYSTEM includes a freestanding tower or a single device attached to a building.
TOWER HEIGHT. The overall height above grade of the tower including the wind turbine, and all related accessories, but excluding blades.
TURBINE. The parts of a wind energy system including the blades, generator and tail.
UTILITY GRID SYSTEM. A wind energy system designed and built to provide electricity to the electric utility grid.
YARD, FRONT.An open, unoccupied space, on a lot facing a street extending across the front of the lot between the side lot lines and from the front of the main building to the front property or street line.
(D) General regulations. The following general regulations must be demonstrated and apply to all wind energy systems within any district for which a permit, including a conditional use permit, is under consideration and/or granted.
(1) The proposed site of a wind energy system shall have sufficient access to unimpeded airflow for adequate operation of the wind energy system in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
(2) Wind energy system generators which are electrically interconnected to the local utility grid shall comply with all relevant Public Utility Commission and local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP) rules and regulations governing the interconnected generation equipment. These include completing an interconnection application and obtaining an approved interconnection agreement as required by the TDSP.
(3) Wind energy systems must satisfy requirements of the most recently adopted editions of the International Building Code, International Residential Code, and the National Electric Code.
(4) A building permit must be obtained prior to the construction or installation of a wind energy system and property must be platted in accordance with city ordinances. The contracting installer must be registered with the City of Heath and provide a certificate of liability insurance.
(5) The tower height (excluding blades) may not exceed 55 feet. However, variances to height may be considered as part of a conditional use permit due to the unique nature of property or other special circumstances.
(6) Tower blades must be located at a minimum of 20 feet above ground level.
(7) Only freestanding towers are allowed to be placed on the ground. No guy or other supports are allowed. Towers must not be climbable.
(8) No part of a system may be placed in the front yard.
(9) Any paint or finish other than what is recommended by the manufacturer requires a conditional use permit.
(10) Setback requirement is a minimum of one and one-half times the height of the tower as measured perpendicularly from any property line and all existing and proposed structures including overhead utility lines.
(11) A system may be allowed on a lot only after a primary structure has been constructed.
(12) One wind energy system is allowed per lot. (Wind farms are not permitted in any district.)
(13) Sound pressure levels shall not exceed 50 decibels between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and 35 decibels between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., as measured from the property line closest to the system.
(14) All lighting not required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is prohibited. When required by the FAA, such lighting shall not exceed the minimum FAA requirements and must be shielded as required to avoid objections by surrounding property owners. Furthermore, the wind energy system shall comply with all state and federal law, including those of the State Public Utility Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communication Commission or any other state or federal agency with the authority to regulate wind energy systems.
(15) No advertising signs shall be allowed on any wind energy system.
(16) A new and separate conditional use permit is required for any addition to an existing wind energy system. This includes but is not limited to satellite receivers, radio or communications antennae.
(17) No part of the system shall be placed in any easement without the written approval of the easement holder.
(E) Rooftop wind energy systems. Rooftop systems require a conditional use permit. Rooftop systems may only be placed in the rear exterior of a building away from public view as much as possible. The system must conform to all other regulations including height restrictions. However, minimum acreage requirements do not apply to rooftop systems.
(F) Application requirements. The following information and supporting documentation must accompany every application for a wind energy building permit and/or conditional use application for a wind energy system or variance thereof:
(1) A plan view layout, submitted under the seal of a professional engineer licensed in the State of Texas, of the proposed wind energy system clearly illustrating the following: elevation drawings illustrating:
(a) The design and height of the proposed wind energy system.
(b) Detailed drawings of all system components.
(c) A line drawing of the electrical components of the system in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of installation conforms to the National Electric Code.
(d) Systems are required to have a lockable disconnect switch (emergency shutdown device) located at the tower base and primary structure receiving power.
(e) Standard installation drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower base and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower in compliance with all applicable Building Codes and certified by a licensed professional engineer registered in the State of Texas shall also be submitted. This analysis is frequently supplied by the manufacturer as a manufacturer’s data sheet.
(2) A site plan clearly illustrating a plan layout in accordance with the requirements for a site plan as contained in the City of Heath Code of Ordinances including a survey illustrating: contours at two-foot intervals, detailed plans illustrating all components of the system, distances to property lines, required setbacks, adjacent land uses and zoning designation, existing and proposed structures on the site, existing easements, necessary consent to any encroachments, natural features and fencing. A tree survey may be required as deemed necessary following a review by the Department of Public Works.
(3) Rooftop systems may not require submission of a full site plan. Other general regulations, technical requirements, and application procedures will apply as deemed appropriate by the Building Official.
(4) The appropriate building permit fee as determined by the city’s fee schedule is due at the time of issuance of a building permit.
(5) A deposit in the amount of $1,000, in addition to the building permit fee, is due at the time of application to cover the costs of administrative review of the application by an outside source if necessary. Administrative review includes but is not limited to engineering review, field visits, and the confirmation that a checklist of items is complete prior to being permitted or scheduled for consideration for a conditional use permit. Review by the City Engineer or Building Official may result in additional fees to be determined as needed including but not limited to frequent and final inspections. The deposit or unused portion thereof will be refunded after a final inspection or after termination of the application process.
(6) A conditional use permit application fee of $550 is required at the time of submission of an application for conditional use in addition to the required deposit.
(1) A system must be properly maintained at all times. Systems that have become unstable or pose a danger of collapse must be removed or repaired in accordance with notice from the Building Official. Such repair or removal shall occur within 30 days from the date of the notice. If the removal or repair is not completed within the specified time, the city may remove the system and place a lien against the property for the costs of removal in accordance with state law.
(2) If, for any reason, the system is abandoned or discontinued for a continuous period of 90 days, written notice shall be given to the owner to remove the system within 30 days of the date of the notice. Notice shall also be placed on the property. If the system is not removed within 30 days, the city may remove the system and place a lien against the property for the costs of removal in accordance with state law.
(3) A decision of the Building Official may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment sitting as the Appeals Board for matters pertaining to the abatement of dangerous buildings pursuant to the adopted Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings.
(H) Further subdivision may necessitate removal of wind energy system. Any permitted wind energy systems shall be removed by the lot owner of record should any subdivision of land occur which reduces a lot size to less than ten acres in size unless a conditional use permit for the existing wind energy system is granted by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. All conditional use permit applications and deposit fees will apply.
(I) Inspection required. A system must be inspected once every 36 months by a third party inspector to assure that the system is working properly and does not pose any adverse public safety issues. Inspections shall be at the expense of the lot owner of record. Third party inspectors must be registered with the City of Heath. The inspector, with the property owner’s endorsement, shall file a report with the city which shall be kept on file in accordance with City of Heath records retention policy.
(J) Conditional use permit.
(1) Any variation from regulations hereinafter adopted regarding wind energy systems will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and must be finally approved by City Council. Any decision by the City Council regarding a request for a wind energy system, or variation thereof, is final.
(2) Compliance with technical requirements set forth in division (D) above does not guarantee or necessitate approval of a request for a conditional use permit by the Planning and Zoning Commission or City Council. Unique characteristics of wind energy systems including their movement, size and noise generation, potential for adverse impact on neighboring property owners as well as all relevant provisions of the Code of Ordinances will be considered in conjunction with a request for a conditional use permit.
(3) Following an administratively complete submission of an application for a conditional use permit requesting a wind energy system, notices shall be sent to all property owners of record within 200 feet of the boundaries in accordance with state law except that a courtesy notice may be sent to additional property owners within 500 feet or more of the property as deemed necessary. A public hearing on the matter shall be held prior to any action regarding a conditional use permit.
(K) Exception due to state or federal laws. Exceptions to all of the above regulations are limited and subject to current and newly enacted state or federal laws.
(Ord. 101221A, passed 12-21-2010; Ord. 181211B, passed 12-11-2018)