Perrysburg rejects request for wind turbine
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 01 February 2013 10:40
PERRYSBURG - A bid by a local alternative energy enthusiast to erect the city's first wind turbine lost power Thursday night.
The city's Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny Gary Samples' request for a special approval use to build the 47-foot turbine on his property - while still approving his request for rezoning needed to put up the device in the first place.
"I kind of think that small turbines are going to be in the future," said Samples prior to the vote. "We're going to run out of petroleum in another 40 years. I think we'll see some of these things in about every yard."
Samples asked that his land, 1.25 acres at the northeast corner of Eckel Junction Road and Fort Meigs Road, be rezoned from R3 Single Family Residential to R1 Single Family Residential. The difference between the zoning designations is size - R3 requires a minimum lot of 11,600 square feet, while R1 requires 22,000 square feet. Samples' site, at some 54,000 square feet, is more than twice the necessary minimum for R1 zoning. The designation would permit Samples to seek a special approval use of the property to build the turbine, under city ordinance.
The Coleman turbine that Samples sought to install weight 19 pounds and is safe in winds up to 157 miles per hour - the speed of a Category 5 hurricane. The company manufactures widely-sold turbines that can generate up to 1,000 watts - enough to power a microwave oven, for instance.
The proposal for the turbine met with resistance from both commission members and residents. Deputy Planning and Zoning Administrator Brodin Walters, who introduced the matter, read a letter submitted by a neighbor, who wrote that the turbine would be "unsightly and reduce property values," and could be seen from nearby properties.
"Frankly, I can't imagine the colossal eyesore this would become," said neighbor Ron Mesker, who lives just across the street from the property.
"They look great in 500 acres of corn, but not in my back yard," he said of such turbines, exhorting the commission members to "do the right thing for Perrysburg" by rejecting the proposal.
"Do it for quality of life in Perrysburg," he said.
Mary Kaczinski, an environmental technology teacher at Owens Community College, expressed her doubts about the placing of the turbine, noting "this is too close to other homes and other trees to allow an effective generation of energy with the turbine. And it would probably be disappointing to the people who install it."
"It's just not a smart idea to go along with that project."
Commission members had their own doubts concerning the matter, ranging from worries about potential noise, to changes Samples proposed for the support structure of the turbine, to what kind of precedent the issue would create.
"Sounds like this is kind of a work in progress as far as an engineering report is concerned," said member Thomas Forquer of the safety issues. Additionally noting that there were a number of nearby properties that could also qualify to put up turbines, he said "so if everybody wanted to be aggressive about 'green' there could be four, five turbines on Eckel Junction Road."
Samples replied to the criticism by stating, "There's very little noise coming out of it," and that he would take measures to ensure the safety of the structure.
"I'm not worried about the safety of it at all," he closed.
Commission member Mayor Nelson Evans stated that, based on the questions of the commission, and a lack of answers to certain aspects of the design, "I'm going to make a motion that we not approve the special approval use for the wind turbine at the property."
Members unanimously voted down the turbine measure, but approved, by a vote of 4-1, the rezoning that Samples requested in order to build the turbine. Chair Greg Bade offered the lone "no" vote on the rezoning.
The rezoning will go forward to a public hearing in March.
Members Jim Pollock and Byron Choka were absent from the meeting.