[Added 5-7-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012]
The Town Board of the Town of Kingston recognizes the increased demand for alternative energy generating facilities and the need for more inexpensive power that wind turbine facilities may provide. Often these facilities require the construction of single or multiple wind turbines. The purpose of these regulations is to protect the community's interest in properly setting wind turbine towers in a manner consistent with sound land use planning, while also allowing private and commercial providers to meet their power-generating objectives.
Roof-mounted wind turbines are permitted within all zoning districts.
Private wind turbine towers are permitted upon the granting of a special permit within the Residential (R) and Business (MU-1 and MU-2) Zoning Districts.
Commercial wind power generating facilities are permitted upon granting of a special permit within the Business (MU-1 and MU-2) Zoning Districts.
No special use permit shall be granted for a private wind turbine tower or a commercial wind power generating facility and/or transmission system unless it is determined by the Town of Kingston Planning Board that the proposed use meets all of the following criteria, in addition to the site plan review and special permit criteria in Articles IV and V in the Town of Kingston Zoning Law.
No experimental, home-built, or prototype wind turbines shall be allowed without documentation by the applicant of their maximum probable blade throw distance in the event of failure and determination by the Planning Board of appropriate setback distances on the basis of that documentation.
The minimum required setback distance between each wind turbine tower and all surrounding property lines, overhead utility lines, any dwellings or other buildings for occupancy, and any other wind turbine towers, aboveground generation facilities, shall be not less than 1.5 times the proposed structure height plus the rotor radius.
No wind turbine tower facilities shall be installed in any location along the major axis of an existing microwave communications link, where its operation is likely to produce electromagnetic interference in the link's operation.
No wind turbine tower facilities shall be installed in any location where its proximity with existing fixed broadcast, retransmission, or reception antenna (including residential reception antenna) for radio, television, or wireless phone or other personal communications systems would produce electromagnetic interference with signal transmission or reception.
Use of nighttime, and overcast daytime condition, stroboscopic lighting to satisfy tower facility lighting requirements for the FAA shall be subject to on-site field testing, with respect to glare to existing residential uses within 200 feet of each tower for which such strobe lighting is proposed, before the Planning Board as a prerequisite to the Board's approval.
No wind turbine tower facilities shall be installed in any location that would substantially detract from or block the view of a portion of a recognized scenic viewshed, as viewed from any public road right-of-way, public body of water, or publically owned land within the Town of Kingston or that extends beyond the border of the Town of Kingston.
Wind turbine tower facilities shall be located with relation to property lines so that the level of noise produced during wind turbine operation shall not exceed 50 dbA, measured at the boundaries of all of the closest parcels that are owned by non-site owners and that abut either the site parcel(s) or any other parcels as those boundaries exist at the time of the issuance of any special permit for such facilities.
No wind turbine tower facilities shall be permitted that lack an automatic breaking, governing, or featuring system to prevent uncontrolled rotation, overspeeding, and excessive pressure on the tower structure, rotor blades, and turbine components.
The minimum distance between the ground and any part of the rotor blade system shall be 30 feet, unless a fence enclosure is provided to limit unauthorized or accidental access to the spinning rotors.
All power transmission lines from the wind turbine tower facilities to on-site substations shall be underground.
Procedures acceptable to the Planning Board for emergency shutdown of power generation units shall be established and posted prominently and permanently on at least one location on the road frontage of each individual unit site.
Building permit applications shall be accompanied by a line drawing identifying the electrical components of the wind system to be installed in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of installation conforms to the National Electrical Code. The application shall include a statement from a New York State registered professional engineer indicating that the electrical system conforms to good engineering practices and complies with the National Electrical Code. The manufacturer normally supplies this certificate. All equipment and materials shall be used or installed in accordance with such drawings and diagrams.
Where the electrical components of an installation vary from the manufacturer's standard design or specifications, the proposed modifications shall be reviewed and certified by a New York State registered professional engineer for compliance with requirements of the National Electrical Code and good engineering practices.
Prior to issuance of a building permit for a wind turbine tower and continuing thereafter until such facility is removed from the site, the applicant shall provide documentation satisfactory to the Town and at such reasonable intervals as determined by the Town of the existence of liability insurance coverage with reasonable limits as determined by the Town Board in consultation with the Town's insurer, for property damage, injury or death resulting from the construction, placement, use, maintenance, operation of a wind generation facility, by the owner of the site.
Obsolete or unused wind turbines and accessory structures shall be removed from any site within four months of the discontinuance of the use thereof. The owner of the site shall notify the Town in writing within 10 days of the discontinuance of the use of such turbine tower or facility. Failure to notify and/or remove the obsolete or unused tower or facility in accordance with these regulations shall be a violation of this law. The Town Board may remove such facilities after the fourth month of discontinuance upon 20 days' written notice to the owner.
When the zoning permit is obtained for a commercial wind turbine facility, the applicant must provide and maintain a performance bond issued by a surety licensed in New York State in a form acceptable to the Town or other security acceptable to the Town for removal of the wind turbines and property restoration in an amount approved by the Planning Board, but not less than $5,000.
When a zoning permit is renewed or modified, the Planning Board may adjust the required amount of the financial security bond to adequately cover increases in cost of removal of the wind turbine facility and property restoration.
A digital elevation model-based project visibility map showing the impact of topography upon visibility of the project from other locations throughout the region, to a distance of five miles from the center of the project, shall be provided. The scale used shall depict a three-mile radius no smaller than 2.7 inches, and the base map shall be a published topographic map showing cultural features and other landmarks.
Color photographs, at least three inches by five inches, taken from locations selected by the Planning Board within a three-mile radius of the boundaries of the facility site, shall be provided. Said photographs shall be computer enhanced to simulate the appearance of the as-built aboveground site facilities as such would appear from said locations. The number of photographs to be submitted shall be equal to the number of proposed individual wind turbines plus three, but in no event less than four.