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Model Ordinance for Wind Energy Facilities in PA

The attached sample model ordinances are updated versions, originally created by a work group of the Governor’s Office, DEP, DCNR, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, County Commissioners Association, Wind Energy Associations and Penn Future with the assistance of DCED. They are intended for use as general templates formunicipalities to review and adapt to their own particular needs. Please keep in mind that these sample model ordinances are merely models, and should be used only as a guide in developing or amending your own ordinances as they pertain to wind energy facilities. No assurances are made regarding the enforceability of any ordinance. Each municipality should confer with its own solicitor regarding suchmatters.

Regulations Affecting Wind Energy Facilities in General

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) provides two essential tools for use by municipalities to regulate land use within their borders; zoning ordinances and subdivision & land development ordinances (SDLO). In addition, municipalities may enact ordinances under their inherent “police” powers to protectpublic health, safety and welfare. All of these ordinances may be used, in one form or another, in guiding the development of wind energy facilities in Pennsylvania’s municipalities.


Zoning is purely optional on the part of municipalities, but is the sole means by which a municipality may establish specific areas of the municipality in which wind energy facilities may be permitted orprohibited. Subdivision and land development ordinances, while not appropriate for identifying the areas of the municipality in which such uses will or will not be permitted, do provide the municipality with a significant amount of control over such issues as set-backs, roads, layout of facilities etc.

THE FOLLOWING MODEL ORDINANCES HAVE BEEN PREPARED TO COVER THE ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS LISTED ABOVE.THEY ARE INTENDED TO SERVE AS MODELS AND SHOULD BE INDIVIDUALIZED TO MEET EACH MUNICIPALITY’S SPECIFIC NEEDS.

MODEL 1:

ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT FOR WIND ENERGY FACILITIES

The following sample amendment (or variation thereof) may be used where an existing zoning ordinance is to be amended to include provisions for siting of Wind Energy facilities. Such an amendments must be adoptedin accordance with Sections 609 and 610 of the MPC.

(Municipality) Ordinance No.      
An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No.       of (municipality), known as the (municipality) Zoning Ordinance, providing for the regulation of Wind Energy Facilities.


The ______________ [municipality] hereby amends Ordinance No. _____ known as the ____________ [municipality] ZoningOrdinance, by adding the following:

Sec. 1. Sec       of Ordinance No.       is hereby amended to add the following definitions:
“Wind Energy Facility” means an electric generation facility, whose main purpose is to supply electricity, consisting of one or more Wind Turbines and other accessory structures and buildings, including substations, meteorological towers, electrical infrastructure,transmission lines and other appurtenant structures and facilities. The term does not include stand-alone Wind Turbines constructed primarily for residential or farm use.
“Wind Turbine” means a wind energy conversion system that converts wind energy into electricity through the use of a wind turbine generator and includes the nacelle, rotor, tower and pad turbine, if any.”
Sec. 2. A WindEnergy facility shall be considered a _____________{permitted use, conditional use or special exception} in the following zones ________________ [select
the appropriate zone].
(If a conditional use or special exception is selected, standard language and desired conditions should be added here.)


MODEL 2:

SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE PROVISIONS FOR WIND ENERGY...
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