The County of Stettler MPC approved a wind turbine in the Hamlet of Byemoor; the applicant stated he’s mounting it on an existing 50 foot tower. ECA Review/SubmittedStu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The County of Stettler Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a wind turbine for power generation in a hamlet. The decision was made at the Jan. 16 board meeting.

The MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.

Board members read a development permit application from Hamlet of Byemoor resident Charles Dumont to employ a wind turbine for power generation at a parcel located at Lot 17, 18 and 19, Block 2, Plan 4684CL, which according to a map presented at the meeting appeared to be the southeast corner of the hamlet. It was also noted the parcel is 1,743 square metres.

Development Officer Rich Fitzgerald presented the development permit application for a stand-alone windmill, which he noted, under the county’s Land-use Bylaw, is a discretionary use meaning the board may approve it by vote. 

“The property is located at #4 Railway Ave., Byemoor,” stated the development officer in his report.

“Adjacent to the front yard of the property is rural agriculture land and the municipality owns and maintains the adjacent bare parcels to the rear. The property adjacent to the west is an abandoned house, and on the east is the road allowance.

“The structure proposed to be used to mount the turbine kit is a metal tower previously used to house a communication satellite receiver, which would have been comparable in weight to the turbine kit. The tower the turbine kit is mounted to is hinged, and mounted in the ground with cement. 

“The tower is 50 feet in height, and is proposed to be set back from the adjacent property line by 17 feet six inches as indicated in the applicant’s site plan. The wind turbine would be considered an ancillary structure, and the structure does meet the required setback. 

“However, due to the height of the structure, if it were to collapse to the northwest, it would make contact with the abandoned house on the adjacent property. 

In the opinion of the development authority, the housing for the proposed turbine does appear to be sufficient to hold the turbine without the risk of collapse, but I am not a qualified structural engineer capable of officially determining this.

“If the structure were to collapse in any other direction it would only make contact with the applicant’s property.”

The tower’s possible collapse was apparently an issue of concern for several board members, including Reeve Larry Clarke who stated if it fell he was concerned it could block a road. However, Fitzgerald pointed out the tower isn’t long enough to reach any roads off the owner’s property.

Board member Ernie Gendre also asked who would be liable if the tower did fall and caused damage off the property. Chair Nibourg responded, “Homeowner’s insurance, that’s what it’s for.”

Board member Justin Stevens asked if the tower itself has been there for years, with Fitzgerald answering, “Yes.” Stevens responded he had mixed feelings about approving something that tall in a hamlet, but the tower’d already been there a long time so neighbours must be accustomed to it by now.

Coun. Les Stulberg, who represents the area in question, was absent from the meeting but sent in written comments, which noted he had no objections to the application and also wanted to point out there are apparently plans to have the nearby abandoned residence demolished, so it shouldn’t be a issue.

The applicant was present at the meeting and the only comment Dumont made was to note the model of turbine he selected has speed control so it doesn’t cycle faster than 20 miles per hour regardless of wind speed.

Board members approved the development permit application by a 5 to 1 vote, Coun. Dave Grover opposed.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 07, 2024 at 13:04

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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