Continuing the story of Carleton’s wind turbine and its attempt to get Northfield to write some legislation just for them…as the Council liaison, I attended the Planning Commission meeting last Tuesday when it held the required public hearing for the new wind ordinance.
City Planner Dan Olson stated that he was no expert on wind ordinances and had drafted the ordinance by borrowing from other cities (though I have no idea what criteria he might have employed in choosing to pick on ordinance provision rather than another) after his week of quick research. This was followed by the applicant, Carleton College, going through line by line to ask for changes which suit their project. A few members of the public spoke in favor of wind energy generally and one impassioned Ward 2 resident begged that Northfield not allow more unattractive turbines (the Northfield News story was how they all got wind of the hearing).
Let me state this clearly so no one gets the idea that I’m opposed to wind energy: I want the new Land Development Code to contain regulations which encourage the use of alternative energy, including wind. The regulations should be well-researched, based on appropriate evidence with adequate public input.
I won’t be long-winded about the problem with the current process: it is a terrible policy precedent to allow a private entity to preempt city process to have special legislation created so they can meet their private deadline to order a wind turbine.