William J. Seitz and Kevon Martis: Trespass zoning is wind energy’s secret subsidy

There was a time when the environmental movement opposed noise pollution, fought industrial blight, and supported “little guys” whose quality of life was threatened by “corporate greed.”

But that was a long time ago, before wind energy.

The American Wind Energy Association and its allies at the Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council continue to press the Ohio legislature to overturn recent wind energy siting guidelines that corrected a grievous fault in the earlier state guidelines.

The old regulations measured turbine setback distances and noise limits from the 500 foot to 600 foot tall wind turbines from the foundation or bedroom windows of neighboring homes. The new regulations established by the legislature measure setback distance and noise limits from neighboring property lines. Establishing siting regulations from property lines is standard practice for all other land use regulations. After all, homeowners are not confined to their homes. They and their kids like to play in the yard, enjoy outdoor picnics, or watch sunsets from patios and decks.

By measuring noise and setbacks for wind turbines from neighboring homes rather than property lines, the old law essentially awarded wind developers an uncompensated nuisance noise and safety easement across private property even though that neighboring parcel was not leased to the wind developer.

read more: February 19th, 2016 By William J. Seitz and Kevon Martis – Contributing Columnists


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