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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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88-foot wind turbines coming to town
Apr. 4, 2011 12:04 am
CEDAR RAPIDS - Two more wind turbines are expected to dot the sky here, though these 88-foot-tall structures are going up without objection in a spot on the city's far southern edge that's zoned for light industrial use.
Fleck Sales, 11125 High Life Ct. SW, plans to install the pair, which are considered small wind turbines under the city's new ordinance that regulates the placement of the alternative-energy machines.
The ordinance allows small turbines - with a conditional-use permit - to be set up in any zoning class, after review by the City Planning Commission and approval by the city's Board of Adjustment.
The planning commission approved the request last week without discussion.
The first wind-turbine proposal in Cedar Rapids under the new ordinance had a less easy trip through the regulatory process. In that instance, neighbors objected to the plans of the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Electrical Training Center, 2300 Johnson Ave. NW, which wanted to erect a 61-foot turbine and two 37-foot ones next to its building in an area zoned for residential use.
After the Board of Adjustment denied a permit for the plan, the training center changed it and the board approved the new approach. The center now will install just the two 37-foot-tall turbines more to the liking of neighbors.
In recent weeks, the City Council also approved a change in the ordinance that relates to large wind turbines, to allow the “shadow flicker” caused by the turbine's blade rotating in the sun to touch residential properties for up to 30 hours in a year.
Kirkwood Community College is planning to install a 417-foot turbine on its southwest-side campus, but it needed the ordinance changed to do so. The college's engineering analysis showed that the shadow flicker that will reach homes from its turbine will not exceed 20 hours a year, and in most instances it won't exceed 10 hours a year.
The college has a $1.05 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the $5.5 million project, as well as a $1 million no-interest loan from the state's alternative energy revolving loan fund.