ASSEMBLY, No. 3740

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 9, 2009

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Camden)

Assemblyman JOHN F. MCKEON

District 27 (Essex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for regulation of small wind energy systems by municipalities.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning small wind energy systems and supplementing Title 40 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  For the purposes of this act:

     “Small wind energy system” means a wind energy conversion system consisting of a wind turbine, a tower, and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity consistent with applicable construction codes and which will be used primarily for onsite consumption;

     “System height” means the height above grade of the tower plus the wind generator.

     “Tower height” means the height above grade of the fixed portion of the tower, excluding the wind generator; and

     “Wind generator” means blades and associated mechanical and electrical conversion components mounted on top of the tower.

 

     2.  Ordinances adopted by municipalities to regulate the installation and operation of small wind energy systems shall not unreasonably limit such installations or unreasonably hinder the performance of such installations. Unreasonable limits or hindrances to performance shall include the following:

     Prohibiting small wind energy systems in all districts within the municipality;

     Restricting tower height or system height through application of a generic ordinance or regulation on height that does not specifically address allowable tower height or system height of a small wind energy system;

     Requiring a setback from property boundaries for a tower that is greater than 150 percent of the system height. In a municipality that does not adopt specific setback requirements for small wind energy systems, any small wind energy system shall be set back from the nearest property boundary a distance at least equal to 150 percent of the system height; provided, however, that this requirement may be modified by the zoning board of adjustment upon application in an individual case if the applicant establishes the conditions for a variance under this act;

     Setting a noise level limit lower than 55 decibels, as measured at the site property line, or not allowing for limit overages during short-term events such as utility outages and severe wind storms; and

     Setting electrical or structural design criteria that exceed applicable State, federal, or international building or electrical codes or laws.


     3.  Within 10 months of enactment of this act, the Director of the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs shall promulgate a technical bulletin which shall include model municipal ordinances for the construction of small wind energy systems. Prior to development, the director shall hold one or more public hearings and solicit comments from interested parties. The Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs shall provide a copy of the technical bulletin to every municipal governing body.

 

     4.  Small wind energy systems shall be built to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including 14 C.F.R. part 77, subpart B regarding installations close to airports, and all applicable airport zoning regulations.

 

     5.  A small wind energy system that is out of service for a continuous 12-month period shall be deemed abandoned. The planning board may issue a notice of abandonment to the owner of an abandoned small wind energy system. The owner shall have the right to respond to the notice of abandonment within 30 days from the receipt date. The planning board shall withdraw the notice of abandonment and notify the owner that the notice has been withdrawn if the owner provides the planning board with information demonstrating the small wind energy system has not been abandoned. If the small wind energy system is determined to be abandoned, the owner of the small wind energy system shall remove the wind generator from the tower at the owner’s sole expense within three months of receipt of notice of abandonment. If the owner fails to remove the wind generator from the tower, the planning board may pursue a legal action to have the wind generator removed at the owner’s expense.

 

     6.  When the building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes determines that a use or structure proposed in a building permit application will have the potential for regional impact and no such determination has previously been made by another municipal planning board, he or she shall notify the local governing body. The building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes shall also notify by certified mail the regional planning board and the affected municipalities, who shall be provided 30 days to submit comment to the local governing body and the building inspector prior to the issuance of the building permit.  

 

     7.  a.  A building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes shall notify the owner or tenant of any property abutting upon the site of a proposed small wind energy system by mail upon application for a building permit to construct a small wind energy system. Affected owners and tenants shall be afforded a 30-day comment period prior to the issuance of a building permit. An appeal may be made to the municipal planning board or to the zoning board of adjustment, as may be appropriate.

     b.   The cost of notification shall be borne by the applicant.

     c.   The building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes shall provide notice of the application for a building permit to the municipal governing body.

 

     8.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill provides for the regulation of small wind energy systems by municipalities. Specifically, the bill prohibits municipalities from adopting ordinances or resolutions regarding the installation and operation of small wind energy systems that unreasonably limit such installations or unreasonably hinder the performance of such installations.

     The bill requires the Director of the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs to promulgate a technical bulletin which includes model municipal ordinances for the construction of small wind energy systems, after holding one or more public hearings and soliciting comments from interested parties. A copy of the technical bulletin shall be provided to every municipal governing body.

     The bill provides that small wind energy systems shall be built to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including 14 C.F.R. part 77, subpart B regarding installations close to airports, and all applicable airport zoning regulations.

     The bill provides a procedure for deeming a small wind energy system to be abandoned, and for the withdrawal of the notice of abandonment or the removal of the system after the owner’s receipt of a notice of abandonment, as well as a procedure for notifying regional planning boards when a proposed small wind energy system will have a regional impact.

     Finally, the bill provides that a building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes shall notify the owner or tenant of any property abutting upon the site of a proposed small wind energy system by mail upon application for a building permit to construct a small wind energy system. Affected owners and tenants shall be afforded a 30-day comment period prior to the issuance of a building permit. An appeal may be made to the municipal planning board or to the zoning board of adjustment, as may be appropriate. The cost of notification shall be borne by the applicant. The building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes shall provide notice of the application for a building permit to the local governing body.