This afternoon's Madison Daily Leader covers the Madison City Commission's first reading of its proposed wind turbine ordinances. The online version of the story omits what was surely the sharpest comment of last night's commission meeting.
Don Amert attended last night's meeting. He and his brother would like to put up a couple wind turbines out by their Ready-Mix cement plant on the southeast edge of Madison (where those turbines would look fantabulous to all the wayfaring travelers on Highway 34... if only they wouldn't distract from our beautiful Madison sign and artificial waterfall). Don questioned the setback ordinances, which require turbines be placed at least 1.1 times their hieght back from property lines, utility lines, electrical substations, roads and homes.
My friend Don suggested such setbacks seem a bit "onerous," especially when you consider that Madison retailers are allowed to situate their tall signs well within toppling distance of roads, property lines, public roads, your parked car, and my bike.
An interesting point! Anyone care to mark off the fall zone of, say, the big Sunshine sign in the middle of town? Or the big flag pole? Or all the lightpoles in the parking lot?
The paper reports city engineer Chad Comes responded by saying such setbacks are standard for wind turbine regulations. In other words, everyone else does it, so don't ask the city complicated questions.
Wind turbines do occasionally tip over... just like signs, cranes, trees, and people. If the city is really worried about tall things falling into the road, we're going to be clearing a long, ugly swath through the center of Madison.
But I'll say this: if Amerts build a wind turbine, it will not, not, NOT fall over. Ever.
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