Senator BOB SMITH
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Senator BILL BARONI
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Provides for regulation of small wind energy systems by municipalities.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on December 14, 2009, with amendments.
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 1[construction codes] provisions of the State Uniform Construction Code promulgated pursuant to the “State Uniform Construction Code Act,” P.L.1975, c.217 (52:27D-119 et seq.),1 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 1[State, federal, or international building or electrical codes or laws] provisions of the State Uniform Construction Code promulgated pursuant to the “State Uniform Construction Code Act,” P.L.1975, c.217 (52.27D-119 et seq.)1.
3. Within 10 months of enactment of this act, the Director of the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs1, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection,1 shall 1[promulgate] issue1 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 1[provide a copy of the technical bulletin to every municipal governing body] post the technical bulletin on its Internet website1.
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 1[planning board] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 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 1[planning board] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 shall withdraw the notice of abandonment and notify the owner that the notice has been withdrawn if the owner provides the 1[planning board] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 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 1[planning board] municipality1 may pursue a legal action to have the wind generator removed at the owner’s expense.
6. When the 1[building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 determines that a use or structure proposed in a building permit application will have the potential for regional impact 1[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] and so advises the permit applicant, the applicant1 shall 1[also]1 notify by certified mail the 1[regional] county1 planning board and the 1[affected] governing bodies of any adjoining1 municipalities 1within 200 feet of the property1, who shall be provided 30 days to submit comment to the 1[local governing body and the building inspector] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 prior to the issuance of 1the zoning approval that is prerequisite to the issuance of1 the building permit.
7. a. 1[A building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes] An applicant for a building permit to construct a small wind energy system1 shall notify the owner 1[or tenant]1 of any property 1[abutting upon] within 200 feet of1 the site of a proposed small wind energy system by 1certified1 mail upon application for a building permit to construct 1[a small wind energy] any such1 system. Affected owners 1[and tenants]1 shall be afforded a 30-day comment period prior to the issuance of a 1zoning approval for any such1 building permit1[. An appeal may be made] and shall have standing to appeal the granting of any such zoning approval1 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 applicant1,who shall provide proof to the municipal zoning enforcement officer that all required notices have been given in the manner prescribed1.
c. The 1[building inspector or municipal officer charged with or responsible for the enforcement of building codes] municipal zoning enforcement officer1 shall provide notice 1to the municipal governing body1 of the application for 1the zoning approval that is prerequisite to the issuance of1 a building permit 1[to the municipal governing body]1.
8. This act shall take effect immediately.