January 19, 2010
Minutes of Board of Adjusters’ Hearing for Jay & Lorrie Lala to have a 2.7 kilowatt wind turbine on their property located at 1545 Foothill Avenue in the NE¼ of Section 14, Township 96 North, Range 18 West of the 5th P.M., Rock Grove Township, Floyd County, Iowa.
Board members present were John Gohr, Dennis Staudt, Bill Fluhrer, and Ann Sullivan. Also present was Jeff Sherman, Zoning Administrator, and Misty Day, Zoning Administrator Assistant. Roll call of Board members was taken and four (4) of the (5) members were present with Ron Muff being absent.
The Board opened the meeting with the election of officers. Motion to appoint Ann Sullivan as Chair was made by John Gohr and was seconded by Dennis Staudt. Motion to appoint Ron Muff as Co-Chair was made by John Gohr and was seconded by Dennis Staudt. Roll call vote was taken and the nominations were unanimously approved.
Applicant Lorrie Lala was present for the hearing. Applicant Lala stated that she did not know all the specifics as far as the type of windmill or the size, but they own a house on a 2 acre lot with 80 acres surrounding it and were more or less going for a negative carbon footprint and that is why they wanted to put a windmill up. She apologized to the Board for not going through this process prior to the windmill being erected. Outside of city limits they did not realize they needed to talk to the County first. Administrator Sherman inquired as to who built the wind turbine. It was determined that Greg Baker with Wind Sun out of Clear Lake, Iowa, was the contractor. Wind Sun did advise the applicants that they needed to enter into an agreement with Alliant Energy because the generator is hooked into the grid and that agreement has already been taken care of, but they never thought to contact the County. Applicant Lala stated that they had one neighbor within 1,000 feet of the subject property who they contacted and who had no objection to the wind turbine. The Board inquired as to whether it was completely erected and working, and it was determined that it was.
A call was received by one of the neighbors who inquired as to why this hearing was taking place after the wind turbine had been erected and why the applicants had to go through this process but who otherwise did not have any objections. No other letters or calls in support of or against this conditional use request were received by the Zoning Department.
Discussion was had concerning whether a notice would be published in the paper concerning these wind turbines as most citizens are not going to know they have to go through this conditional use process. It was determined that the County website had information concerning wind turbines, which was just updated recently, and an article concerning building permits in general was published in the Charles City Press a month or two ago. Board Member Bill Fluhrer stated that the Zoning Department should contact some of these contractors to let them know that Floyd County does have a process to go through when erecting a wind turbine. It was determined that a letter would be sent to some of the local contractors, as well as to the utility companies letting them know about Floyd County’s process.
A motion was made to approve the application to have a 2.7 kilowatt wind turbine on the property located at 1545 Foothill Avenue in the NE¼ of Section 14, Township 96 North, Range 18 West of the 5th P.M., Rock Grove Township, Floyd County, Iowa, was made by Bill Fluhrer and was seconded by Dennis Staudt. Roll call vote was taken and the application was unanimously approved. Assistant Day advised Applicant Lala of a $50.00 building permit fee for the wind turbine, which Applicant Lala will take care of after the meeting.
Assistant Day updated the Board on the meeting with NIACOG that took place the prior Tuesday. Assistant Day stated that they met with Joe Myhre and Dan Schroeder, who is doing the leg work for the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. To-date they have worked on the written portion of the Comprehensive Plan which will help develop the future land use map for the County. The written portion is about half way done and NIACOG presented the Zoning Commission a survey they will be mailing out to 200 random residents to get their input as to where they feel development should be focused on, which will also help develop the future land use map. Chair Ann Sullivan inquired as to whether there has been any talk about City annexation and it was determined that it had not been discussed at this time. The next meeting with NIACOG will take place in March and it is anticipated they will begin meeting more regularly until the ordinance is completed. Assistant Day also informed the Board of an upcoming Intro to Planning and Zoning workshop that will take place in Clear Lake on March 31st, or in Decorah on March 30th.
Motion to close the hearing was made by Dennis Staudt and seconded by John Gohr.
Jeff D. Sherman