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Public can comment on draft Alternative Energy Ordinance June 15

The city of Woodbury is in the process of creating an alternative energy ordinance and the public will have a chance to provide some input.

The city will hold a public meeting 7 p.m. Monday, June 15 at Woodbury City Hall to present the proposed ordinance, which has undergone several recommended changes over the last several weeks.

Contained in the proposed ordinance are chapters, definitions and allowable uses of solar, wind and geothermal energy improvements.

One of the expected points of interest will be discussion of the wind energy ordinance that is expected to define when and where wind turbine of certain heights will be allowed for construction.

Currently, the city does not have an ordinance that officially regulates construction of wind turbines.

Planning Commission members engaged in another round of discussion on the draft ordinance Monday, June 1. Some commissioners brought up issues about concerns over whether the city could regulate the noise issues involved with turbine usage.

The city also discussed maximum height recommendations and appropriate zoning for turbines of a certain height.

City planner Eric Searles said the planning commission and city council will begin discussing those issues and forming a more defined ordinance in the coming weeks.

"I certainly think there are locations in the city where a taller tower is appropriate," Searles told planning commissioners. "But maybe in some districts it's not appropriate to allow them at all and that's where we need to discuss as we move forward."

Following the Monday, June 15 public meeting, the Woodbury City Council will meet on June 17 for a workshop where it will discuss public feedback and take the first steps on moving forward with an alternative energy ordinance. The measure ultimately would influence whether the South Washington County School District can construct a wind turbine at the new East Ridge High School.

School district officials have been quiet in recent weeks on their plans for the turbine, but last fall and summer they presented informal plans to the city for a wind turbine that could be possibly 175 feet in height.

Many members of the community have supported the initiative, but several residents in neighborhoods not far from the new school have expressed concerns over the prospect of a wind turbine at East Ridge High School.

Searles said that after the June 17 city council workshop, the draft ordinance is expected to come to the planning commission and then city council as an official agenda item.