Town of Southold, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southold as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 280.
[Adopted 7-17-2007 by L.L. No. 15-2007]

§ 277-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SMALL WIND ENERGY SYSTEM
A wind energy conversion system consisting of a wind turbine (not to exceed 125 kilowatts of production), a tower, and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity intended primarily to reduce on-site consumption of utility power.
[Amended 5-24-2011 by L.L. No. 6-2011]
TOWER HEIGHT
The height above grade of the fixed portion of a tower that is part of a small wind energy system, exclusive of the wind turbine.

§ 277-2 Application.

Applications for small wind energy systems shall be submitted to the Town of Southold Building Department and shall include:
A. 
Name, address, and telephone number of the applicant. If the applicant will be represented by an agent, the name, address and telephone number of the agent as well as an original signature of the applicant authorizing the agent to represent the applicant.
B. 
Name, address, and telephone number of the property owner. If the property owner is not the applicant, the application shall include a letter or other written permission signed by the property owner confirming that the property owner is familiar with the proposed applications and authorizing the submission of the application.
C. 
Address of each proposed tower site, including Tax Map section, block and lot number.
D. 
Evidence that the proposed tower height does not exceed the height recommended by the manufacturer or distributor of the system.
E. 
A plot plan at a scale of one inch equals 100 feet depicting the limits of the fall zone, distance from structures, property lines, public roads and projected noise levels (decibels [dba]) from the small wind energy system to the nearest occupied dwellings.
F. 
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 Electric Code.
G. 
Written evidence that the electric utility service provider that serves the proposed site has been informed of the applicant's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned electricity generator, unless the applicant does not plan, and so states in the application, to connect the system to the electricity grid.

§ 277-3 Development standards.

A. 
Tower height. Tower height shall not exceed 120 feet. To prevent harmful wind turbulence to the small wind energy system, the minimum height of the lowest part of any horizontal-axis wind turbine blade shall be at least 30 feet above the highest structure or tree within a two-hundred-fifty-foot radius. Modification of this standard may be made when the applicant demonstrates that a lower height will not jeopardize the safety of the wind turbine structure.
B. 
Setbacks. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Bulk Schedule,[1] the following standards shall apply to small wind energy systems:
(1) 
A small wind energy system shall be set back from a property line a distance no less than the total height of the small wind energy system plus 10 feet, except that it shall be set back at least 300 feet from a property line bordering an existing residential structure. In no instance shall the small wind energy system be closer than 100 feet to a property line.
(2) 
No part of the wind system structure, including guy wire anchors, may extend closer than 10 feet to the property boundaries of the installation site.
(3) 
A small wind energy system shall be set back from the nearest public road or right-of-way a distance no less than the total height of the small wind energy system plus 10 feet, and in no instance less than 100 feet.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Bulk Schedules are included at the end of Ch. 280, Zoning.
C. 
Noise. Small wind energy systems shall not exceed 60 dba, as measured at the closest neighboring inhabited dwelling at the time of installation. The level, however, may be exceeded during short-term events such as utility outages and/or severe wind storms.
D. 
Approved wind turbines. Small wind turbines must have been approved under the Small Wind Certification Program recognized by the American Wind Energy Association and/or NYSERTA.
E. 
Compliance with Uniform Building Code. Building permit applications for small wind energy systems shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base, and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower showing compliance with the Uniform Building Code and certified by a licensed professional engineer shall also be submitted. This requirement may be satisfied by documentation presented by the manufacturer.
F. 
Compliance with National Electric Code. Building permit applications for small wind energy systems shall be accompanied by a line drawing of the electrical components in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of installation conforms to the National Electric Code. This requirement may be satisfied by documentation supplied by the manufacturer.
G. 
Compliance with FAA regulations. Small wind energy systems must comply with applicable FAA regulations, including any necessary approvals for installations close to airports. The allowed height shall be reduced to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including Subpart B (commencing with § 77.11) of Part 77 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, regarding installations close to airports.
H. 
Utility notification. No small wind energy system shall be installed until evidence has been given that the utility company has been informed of the customer's intent to install an interconnected customer-owned generator. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.

§ 277-4 Construction standards.

A. 
Exterior lighting on any structure associated with the system shall not be allowed except that which is specifically required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
B. 
The system's tower and blades shall be a nonreflective, unobtrusive color that blends the system and its components into the surrounding landscape to the greatest extent possible and incorporate nonreflective surfaces to minimize any visual disruption.
C. 
All on-site electrical wires associated with the system shall be installed underground, except for tie-ins to a public utility company and public utility company transmission poles, towers and lines.
D. 
The system shall be operated such that no disruptive electromagnetic interference is caused. If it has been demonstrated that a system is causing harmful interference, the system operator shall promptly mitigate the harmful interference or cease operation of the system.
E. 
At least one sign shall be posted on the tower at a height of five feet warning of electrical shock or high voltage and harm from revolving machinery.
F. 
No brand names, logo or advertising shall be placed or painted on the tower, rotor, generator or tail vane where it would be visible from the ground, except that a system or tower's manufacturer's logo may be displayed on a system generator housing in an unobtrusive manner.
G. 
Towers shall be constructed to provide one of the following means of access control or other appropriate method of access:
(1) 
Tower-climbing apparatus located no closer than 12 feet from the ground.
(2) 
A locked anticlimb device installed on the tower.
(3) 
A locked, protective fence at least six feet in height that encloses the tower.
H. 
Anchor points for any guy wires for a system tower shall be located within the property that the system is located on and not on or across any aboveground electric transmission or distribution lines. The point of attachment for the guy wires shall be sheathed in a bright orange or yellow covering from three feet to eight feet above the ground.
I. 
All small wind energy systems shall be equipped with manual and automatic overspeed controls. The conformance of rotor and overspeed control design and fabrication with good engineering practices shall be certified by the manufacturer.

§ 277-5 Fees.

The Building Department fee for small wind energy system applications shall be $250.

§ 277-6 Abandonment of use.

All small wind energy systems which are not used for 12 successive months shall be deemed abandoned and shall be dismantled and removed from the property at the expense of the property owner. Failure to abide by and faithfully comply with this section or with any and all conditions that may be attached to the granting of any building permit shall constitute grounds for the revocation of the permit by the Building Department.

§ 277-7 Enforcement; penalties for offenses; remedies for violations.

A. 
The Town Board shall appoint such Town staff or outside consultants as it sees fit to enforce this article. Notwithstanding such appointment, the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer and Town Attorney shall have authority to enforce this article.
B. 
Any person owning, controlling or managing any building, structure or land who shall undertake a wind energy conversion facility or wind-monitoring tower in violation of this article or in noncompliance with the terms and conditions of any permit issued pursuant to this article, or any order of the Enforcement Officer, and any agent who shall assist in so doing, shall be guilty of an offense and subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a period of not more than 30 days, or subject to both such fine and imprisonment. Every such person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each week such violation shall continue. The Town may institute a civil proceeding to collect civil penalties in the amount of $1,000 for each violation, and each week said violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.
C. 
In case of any violation or threatened violation of any of the provisions of this article, including the terms and conditions imposed by any permit issued pursuant to this article, in addition to other remedies and penalties herein provided, the Town may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent such unlawful erection, structural alteration, reconstruction, moving and/or use, and to restrain, correct or abate such violation, to prevent the illegal act.