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Wait on wind turbine, CG council says

A Cottage Grove resident wants to go green. A Cottage Grove landowner is worried about losing green. And Cottage Grove City Council members appear unsure of what exactly to do.

The city council on Wednesday tabled a vote on a proposed 113-foot-tall wind turbine on a rural residential property, citing the absence of council member Mark Grossklaus.

Council members will pick up discussion of the turbine at the Jan. 6 city council meeting.

Last month, planning commissioners overwhelmingly recommended approval of the 10-kilowatt, electricity-generating wind turbine proposed by resident John Kooyman for his Geneva Avenue home.

But, Wednesday, council discussion was focused primarily on noise -- specifically that community development director Howard Blin now says the turbine, at times of sustained high winds, could exceed noise limits set for residential properties.

City and state code specify a nighttime maximum of 50 decibels. Blin said Wednesday that at times of high, sustained winds, Kooyman's proposed turbine would exceed that level by nine decibels, according to manufacturer specifications.

"At times, when the generator's operating at full speed, it would be at or above noise standards," Blin said.

That noise would be the wind, a representative from Cedar Creek Energy, a renewable energy products distributor, told officials at the meeting.

John Bailey of Newport-based Bailey Nurseries, which owns 20 acres of agricultural land adjacent to Kooyman's low-density residential lot, expressed his opposition to the turbine again Wednesday. Bailey said the more than 100-foot structure would lower the potential value of his property and could scare off developers.

Cottage Grove planning officials have slated the land for future residential development.

Kooyman pleaded his case in a lengthy presentation to council members. He'll now have to wait for the city council to pick up the issue again after the New Year.

"It seems inconsistent that a company that says they are so committed to the environment on their Web site would be opposed to a project like this," Kooyman said, referring to mentions of environmental friendliness on the Bailey Nurseries Web site.