County Administrator's Office

Exhibit G for Ordinance 6064

26.88.208 - Wind Energy Special Use Standards

  1. Purpose. This section establishes standards for the siting and operation of wind energy systems and facilities. This section is intended to implement the requirements of Government Code section 65892.13, while protecting the scenic and natural resources of the county and the health, safety and welfare of its residents to the extent permitted by law.
  2. Applicability. These standards apply to all wind energy systems and facilities as allowed by the base zoning district as shown in Table 1 subject to the General Development standards for Renewable Energy Facilities in Section 26.88.200.
    1. Exempt Accessory Wind Energy Systems. In any zoning district, accessory wind energy systems that are attached to a wall, roof or structural member of a legally established building are exempt from the development standards set forth herein, subject to the height and setback restrictions of the underlying zoning district.
  3. Limitations on Location and Use. Wind energy systems and facilities shall not be located on a site that is:
    1. Within a scenic corridor identified by the open space element of the General Plan;
    2. Within a special studies zone established in compliance with the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act;
    3. Subject to a conservation easement established in compliance with Civil Code Section 815 et seq., that prohibits wind energy systems or facilities;
    4. Subject to an open space easement established in compliance with Government Code Section 51070 et seq., that prohibits wind energy systems or facilities;
    5. Subject to an agricultural conservation easement established in compliance with Government Code Section 10200 et seq., that prohibits wind energy systems or facilities;
    6. Subject to a Williamson Act contract established in compliance with Government Code Section 51200 et seq., that prohibits small wind energy systems or facilities; or
    7. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or the California Register of Historic Resources, in compliance with Public Resources Code Section 5024.1, or contains a structure that is so listed.
  4. Development Standards. The following standards shall apply to wind energy systems and facilities, in addition to the General Development Standards for Renewable Energy set forth in 26.88.200, unless otherwise exempt:
    1. The system's tower shall be set back a minimum distance equal to the height of the tower from all parcel lines, and a minimum distance of ten (10 ′) feet from any other structure on the parcel on which the system is located. On parcels of ten (10) acres or more, the parcel line setback may be reduced if the applicant demonstrates that:
      1. Because of topography, strict adherence to the setback requirement would result in greater visibility of the system's tower than a reduced setback, and
      2. The system's tower is set back a minimum distance equal to the height of the tower from any structure on adjoining parcels;
    2. The system's tower and supporting structures shall comply with any applicable fire setback requirements in the fire safe standards (Chapter 13, Article V of this code);
    3. The system's tower shall not exceed a maximum height of forty (40 ′) feet on a parcel of less than one (1) acre, a maximum of sixty-five (65′) feet on a parcel of one (1) to less than five (5) acres, and maximum height of eighty (80′) feet on a parcel of five (5) acres or more, unless a use permit is obtained;
    4. The system's tower shall be set back from and not project above the top of any visually prominent ridgeline;
    5. The system's tower shall not significantly impair a scenic vista from a county- designated or state-designated scenic corridor;
    6. The system's tower shall be located and screened by landforms, natural vegetation or other means to minimize visual impacts on neighboring residences and public roads, public trails and other public areas;
    7. The system's tower and supporting structures shall be painted a single, neutral, non-reflective, non-glossy (for example, earth-tones, gray, black) that, to the extent possible, visually blends the system with the surrounding natural and built environments.
    8. The system's turbine shall be approved by the California Energy Commission as qualifying under the Emerging Renewables Fund of the commission's Renewables Investment Plan or certified by a national program recognized and approved by the commission;
    9. The system shall be designed and constructed in compliance with the Uniform Building Code and National Electric Code. The safety of the design and construction shall be certified by a California-licensed mechanical, structural or civil engineer;
    10. The system shall comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including Subpart B (commencing with Section 77.11) of Part 77 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding installations close to airports, and the State Aeronautics Act (Part 1 (commencing with Section 21001) of Division 9 of the Public Utilities Code);
    11. The system shall be equipped with manual and automatic over speed controls. The conformance of rotor and over speed control design and fabrication to good engineering practices shall be certified by a California-licensed mechanical, structural or civil engineer;
    12. The system's tower-climbing apparatus and blade tips shall be no closer than fifteen (15) feet from ground level unless the system is enclosed by a six (6′)-foot high fence;
    13. The system's utility lines shall be underground where economically practical;
    14. Where vegetation is removed in the construction of the system or an access road to the system, landscaping shall be planted to minimize visual impacts, avoid erosion and maintain stability of soils;
    15. The system shall be operated such that no electro-magnetic interference is caused;
    16. No more than one (1) accessory system shall be allowed on a parcel;
    17. Decibel levels generated by the system shall not exceed the maximum noise levels applied pursuant to the noise element of the general plan, except during short-term events including utility outages and severe wind storms;
    18. Brand names or advertising associated with the system or the system's installation shall not be visible from any public place;
    19. Signs warning of high voltage electricity shall be posted on stationary portions of the system's tower and any supporting structures, and at gated entry points to the site at a height of five (5) feet above the ground;
    20. Upon abandonment or termination of the system's use, the entire facility, including the system's tower, turbine, supporting structures and all equipment, shall be removed and the site shall be restored to its pre-construction condition or other authorized use.

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575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235

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