Cottage Grove council tables Werner Electric wind turbine projectThe Cottage Grove City Council will wait on making a decision on an electrical supply company’s proposal for a more than 100-foot-tall wind turbine in the city’s industrial park.
The Cottage Grove City Council will wait on making a decision on an electrical supply company’s proposal for a more than 100-foot-tall wind turbine in the city’s industrial park.
With Mayor Myron Bailey and council member Jen Peterson absent – and continued resistance by some residents of a neighborhood fewer than 500 feet from the proposed structure – the council last Wednesday tabled Werner Electric Co.’s proposal to build a 114-foot, 20-kilowatt wind turbine to help power its busy Cottage Grove headquarters at 7450 95th St.
The company is seeking a variance from the city’s ordinance requiring a turbine to sit more than 1,300 feet from the boundary of a city park; Werner’s proposed turbine would sit 230 feet from the border of Hamlet Park.
Council members will reconsider the variance request later this month.
John Magee, a homeowner in a neighboring subdivision that would have a view of the turbine, said the 21 residents who signed a petition opposing the plan would be more comfortable if the proposed turbine was moved to the other side of its facility, further away from the row of homes whose backyards sit on a small hill overlooking the Werner Electric site.
“The residents [of the neighborhood] are happy if that’s where we arrive with a decision,” Magee, a senior pastor at Light the Way Church, told the council.
As proposed, the turbine would sit 430 feet from the nearest residential property. That is an allowable distance under city code. The city’s Parks and Planning commissions recommended approval of the plan.
Ben Granley, director of operations at Werner Electric, told city officials that wind patterns could make the alternate site suggested by residents -- located in the northeast corner of the company’s property – less efficient than the site close to nearby homes.
City Council members Dave Thiede and Justin Olsen said they hoped the company would consider moving the proposed turbine.
“It seems like a reasonable idea to consider that northeast corner location” as a compromise, Olsen said.
The city updated its ordinances relating to wind turbines in 2009, something officials said was intended to make it easier for residents and businesses to install the green energy-producing structures. The only other generator proposed to the council under the updated regulations, however, also met resistance.
Resident John Kooyman had his proposal to construct a 113-foot turbine on his residential rural property tabled by council members in December 2009 before it was approved the following month. That proposal was opposed by neighboring landowner Bailey Nurseries, who said the turbine would hurt the eventual sale value of its unused agricultural land.