Baltimore County Council Introduces Bill Proposing Small Wind Energy System PILOT Program

Date: July 21, 2010

On July 6, 2010, Baltimore County Councilman Vince Gardina (5th Councilmanic District) introduced Bill No. 62-10 which proposes a PILOT program for small wind energy systems in Baltimore County. If the program is passed, Baltimore County will join many of the surrounding counties, including Harford, Carroll, Anne Arundel, and Howard1, in adopting a zoning ordinance to govern the use of small wind energy systems.

Under the PILOT program, small wind energy systems, which include both freestanding and building-mounted wind turbines, may be permitted for institutional and commercial agricultural uses in the Resource Conservation (RC) zones and in the Manufacturing zones where the use is not adjacent to a residentially zoned parcel. The program also permits anemometer studies in order to quantify and characterize available wind resources on a property to support the use of a wind turbine. The anemometer studies may be permitted for up to one year and are not a prerequisite for obtaining a permit for a wind turbine.

The PILOT program is modeled after the State's Small Wind Zoning Ordinance and sets forth a variety of performance standards for wind turbines which govern the appearance, sound, height and setback. The proposed duration of the program is five years. All turbines that have obtained approval under the program and have begun substantial construction within two years after the program sunsets may continue to operate.

The public will have an opportunity to provide input on Bill No. 62-10 at the July 27, 2010 Council Work Session. The Council is scheduled to vote on the bill at its meeting on August 2, 2010.

1. As of the date of this article, Carroll County (Article XXXII of the Zoning Chapter of the County Code), Harford County (ยง267-27C(9)) of the Harford County Code), and Anne Arundel County (Bill No. 39-10) have all adopted small wind zoning ordinances. Howard County currently has legislation pending (Bill No. 41-10) which would permit the use of small scale wind turbines.