If you’re standing in front of City Hall in New Philadelphia and look west, you’ll see a 160-foot wind turbine standing about a mile down High Avenue at the Schoenbrunn Inn and Conference Center. It was completed in December, and it’s why City Council is now considering a zoning ordinance for wind turbines.
The state regulates wind turbines in Ohio.
But New Philadelphia Zoning Administrator Mike Scolati says the state law allows for some local zoning in the public interest. He says New Philadelphia's proposed ordinance fits that description because it addresses potential dangers with wind turbines in populated areas -- problems that could be triggered by mechanical failures or the weather.
“Of course they have a device on them that shuts them down in case of an ice storm. But electronics can fail. These blades can ice up and they will throw ice.
"We’re asking for a one and half times the height setback, so that in an instance like that you’re not endangering the public safety.”
The ordinance is being drafted by the city Law Department and will go to council for consideration when it’s done. It will not affect the current tower.
Scolati says an ordinance is being drawn up specifically to manage turbine installations.
“The City is not anti wind-turbine. By law we can’t totally regulate these out of the community. But by law we can regulate the safety of the citizens to where these things are put up.”
He says the ordinance is being written to be flexible so turbine projects can be approved if they meet safety and other requirements in the public interest.
The Schoenbrunn Inn installation was made by Wind Turbines of Ohio. The Stark County-based company specializes in sustainable energy projects for business, agricultural, and personal property sites and has installed more than 150 wind turbines in the past 10 years.