The Spearfish City Council has initiated an update to the city’s code that would allow small wind energy systems within city limits. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, Spearfish city code currently allows for solar units but discussion on wind units stalled after an initial ordinance was brought to the council nine years ago.
The previous ordinance was tabled by the council in 2010 and is already drafted. If the council votes to proceed with the update to city code, that original language would be brought forward once again, after consideration by the planning commission.
The proposed ordinance from 2010 allows for small wind energy systems by granting use permits through a review approval process for agriculture and residential districts larger than one acre with a height limit of 55 feet. In commercial, industrial, and airport districts, the height limit would be 75 feet. This original proposal was the result of a long series of city and committee planning sessions and followed recommendations of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association at the time.
The ordinance was tabled in 2010 due to differing opinion among councilmembers and a want for more time and research on the subject. Concerns were also raised about the visual and noise impact of wind energy systems.
The Spearfish City Council has unanimously approved initiating an update to the ordinance. The planning commission will be evaluating the ordinance as drafted and presenting its findings to the city council.
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