Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wind Turbines In Your Backyard

Sussex County adopts ordinance allowing wind turbines in residential, other areas
Georgetown, Del., Sept. 13, 2011: Sussex County has a few new rules for windmills.

County Council, at its Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011, meeting, adopted an ordinance that better defines and updates the County’s regulation of windmills and wind turbines. The action follows a change in Delaware law in 2009 and 2010 that altered County oversight of windmills, removing the Board of Adjustment from the process to approve or reject applications.

Because of that change, which was intended to give homeowners more flexibility to erect windmills, the County had to revise its code to make the structures a permitted accessory use within residential areas and other zoning districts. Previously, they were only allowed as a special use exception with approval from the County’s Board of Adjustment.

Applicants no longer will need board approval, just a County building permit. Each application, though, must contain an engineering certification, be subject to inspection, and meet various criteria, such as setbacks from property lines, in order to be in compliance.

“This tightens the process and puts the County in sync with State law,” County Administrator David B. Baker said. “We wanted to make sure the County has the appropriate controls in place so those who want windmills can have them, while still taking into consideration the public’s safety and best interests. We believe this new ordinance does that.”

The new rules take effect immediately. To view the ordinance, visit the ‘Ordinances’ section under ‘Online Services’ on the County website at www.sussexcountyde.gov.

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