Cottage Grove business's wind turbine proposal generates opposition from neighborsHoping to power its growing facility, a Cottage Grove electrical supply company is asking the city of Cottage Grove for permission to build a more than 100-foot-tall wind turbine. But some nearby residents told city planners recently they’re opposed to the tower that would stand less than 500 feet from their backyards.
Hoping to power its growing facility, a Cottage Grove electrical supply company is asking the city of Cottage Grove for permission to build a more than 100-foot-tall wind turbine. But some nearby residents told city planners recently they’re opposed to the tower that would stand less than 500 feet from their backyards.
The city’s planning commission last week voted to recommend approval of Werner Electric Supply Co.’s proposal to construct a 114-foot, 20-kilowatt wind turbine. The company says the turbine would power the Cottage Grove headquarters that it plans to expand in the city’s industrial park on 95th Street.
Because the proposed turbine would be situated roughly 230 feet from Werner’s border with Hamlet Park, City Council members must grant a variance to allow the project to go forward. Under city code that was updated in 2009, wind turbines must be located a quarter-mile from public park boundaries.
The nearest residential structure is about 430 feet from the proposed location. That, said John McCool, a senior city planner is a distance allowable under an update to city code passed in 2009.
The council is expected to take up the issue at a meeting next month.
Homeowners from the nearby residential neighborhood, however, asked planning commissioners to reconsider the proposal. The turbine, a handful of residents argued, would create visual and noise pollution, would hurt the values of their properties and make it more difficult to sell their homes.
"The green energy is a good thing,” said one resident who testified at the Planning Commission public hearing. “I hate to be the guy who says, ‘Yes, I want it. I just don’t want it in my backyard.’
“But if I’m going to be totally honest, that's what I’m going to say."
McCool told commissioners the size of the turbine proposed by Werner would register as loudly as 43 decibels when operating at full power, or roughly equivalent to the sounds of a residential neighborhood at night.
Ben Granley, director of operations for Werner, said the multiple delivery trucks that come and go from the nearly five-year-old facility create far more noise than the planned turbine.
"With the noise in the neighborhood, I would guess [the turbine noise would be] barely noticeable," Granley said.