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Afton discusses adopting turbine ordinance

Wind turbines could possibly be blowing into Afton in the near future.

During the July 21 meeting of the Afton City Council, it was discussed whether or not the council should look into writing an ordinance that would deal with wind turbines.

"I think we should look into developing an ordinance," said Afton City Council member Bill Palmquist.

The issue of wind turbines was first discussed at the July 6 meeting of the Afton Planning Commission when a representative from Innovative Power Systems gave a presentation about wind turbines since a new resident to Afton is hoping to erect one on their property.

The proposed turbine would be approximately 90-feet tall, not including the propeller span.

Palmquist said he is not interested in allowing commercial wind turbines in any way, but solely residential turbines.

"I think our resident should be able to make an environmental choice on their property if they so choose to make a smaller footprint on the environment," Palmquist said.

Council member Joe Richter raised the question of whether or not wind turbines would enter into the confusing language of stealth.

"We don't want anything like a rotating pine tree," he said.

Planning Commission chairwoman Barbara Ronningen was in attendance at the city council meeting and shared her take on the turbine presentation that they had received and their findings on the matter.

"The turbine is much larger than we allow here in Afton," she said.

The council also discussed what kind of an impact residential wind turbines could have on neighboring properties.

Susan Sando, resident of Afton Hills and active opponent to the Washington County Sheriff's Office tower, said if a neighbor were to erect something to that height, she would be absolutely furious.

"It just doesn't seem fair at all," she said.

Afton's ordinance cap height requirements at 35 feet.

Palmquist said he would still like to look at getting an ordinance in place that deals with wind turbines, since currently there is no requirement.

The council agreed to move this discussion onto the agenda for a future workshop meeting so that they could discuss it further and hopefully have experts in the field to shed some light on the issue.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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