Wind Energy Update | Eastern North Carolina Now

Several people have asked me where things stand regarding the wind energy matter in Carteret County and Newport, and what do we do next.

ENCNow
    Stan:

    Several people have asked me where things stand regarding the wind energy matter in Carteret County and Newport, and what do we do next. I've been waiting on a few loose ends (and some have yet to be tied up), but here's the latest I know...

    Our objectives are that we need to get both the Carteret County and Newport wind laws passed, with proper protections (i.e. the Bullet Points) in them. Both are moving along well, but each situation is different.

    1 - Carteret County. The good news is that the prior County Planner dumped all of the Bullet Points into a draft version of the wind law, just prior to his retiring. The bad news is that "dumped" is literally what appears to have happened.

    Although the content is there, a substantial amount of editing needs to be done. I have gone through it, word-by-word and marked up everything that is needed. I passed that onto the Commissioners who asked.

    Part of the delay we have here, is that a new County Planner has yet to be hired (there are 40± applicants). I'm told that the remaining County staff can do what is needed to this document (particularly since I already wrote it out), and I hope that's correct.

    After that it will go to the Planning Board, which has a meeting on Monday night, February 10th. It would be good for some citizens to attend that.

    Following that, the Planning Board is scheduled to give their latest version of the Tall Structures Ordinance to the Commissioners by Thursday, February 13th. The Commissioners will review that. If they come to an agreement about the content, they will then schedule a public hearing. If everything goes smoothly, there might be a vote on the wind law on March 17th, at the regular monthly Commissioners meeting.

    2 - The Town of Newport. The good news is that they have added the remaining Bullet Points into a polished draft version. The bad news is that they are considering dropping the Property Value Guarantee (PVG), which was voted on and approved, in the December version of the law.

    The reason for possibly no longer including the important PVG, is that the town attorney and a UNC professor have expressed some reservations about its legality. I wrote to the town attorney asking for the specific basis of his concern, and he answered by saying that he couldn't discuss it unless he was being paid for his time...

    The UNC professor said that the Town needed specific statutory authorization. I read through the state's statutes and found that NC General Statute 153A-341 says this about what the Town and County can do (my emphasis):

    "The regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration as to, among other things... to conserving the value of buildings...".

    I'm not a lawyer, but the point of the PVG is to conserve the value of properties near a wind project, and these words seem quite specific to me. I sent this to the UNC person, asking why they were not adequate, but he has yet to respond.

    Writing any law involves an effort to maintain a reasonable balance. In my view, the PVG is a fair provision that provides a necessary, legitimate, and legally sound protection to nearby citizens. I was told that the Town Council may be presented with two options: the law with and without the PVG.

    My view is that they should pass the version with the PVG. Here is the basic new proposed law, without the PVG (the only version I was sent). [Note that I made some notations on the proposed law about some suggested improvements, mostly grammatical.] Here is the PVG that was already approved, and (IMO) should be added back. You can check the town's website to see if they post a more updated version.

    Newport will have a Public Hearing on the wind ordinance, next Thursday evening (February 13), at 6 PM in the Town Hall. Newport residents should attend, to show their support of the very good efforts the Town has made here in addressing this issue, and to express their view about the PVG.

    If attending is not possible, I'd suggest that you email your position to the Town Council chairperson, Mr. Ken Davis, at Kdavis83@ec.rr.com.

    Let me know any questions on either of these situations.

    Thank you again for your support, and your interest in bringing these matters to a fair conclusion.

    Regards,


    John Droz, jr.
      physicist & environmental advocate
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