If the proposed ordinance scheduled for a public hearing at Floyd County High School on Jan. 31, 2012, stands, proposed wind generator farms for Floyd County will never be built.

The Floyd County board of supervisors, in a 3-0 vote — with two of the five supervisors abstaining — gave preliminary approval Tuesday to an ordnance that would effectively ban development of the wind generator farms along the county’s ridge lines — along with any other development that extends more than 40 feet above virtually any ridge line.

The county has asked for use of the high school auditorium for what is expected to be a large crowd to discuss an issue that has dominated debate in the county for the past several months.

Supervisors had three choices: do nothing, create an ordinance regulating development or just ban it outright.

Several counties in Virginia regulate development on or near ridgelines.  Only two others prohibit it. If Floyd County’s proposed ordinance becomes law early next year, we will become the third.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Doug, This is not just a anti-wind turbine ordinance. If it was, the Board would be setting the height limit at 100 or 150 feet not 40 feet. The wording of “No tall buildings or structures may be built on any parcel of real estate located on a protected mountain ridge ” say’s it all. Many timber frame buildings, old style farm houses and barns will no longer legal to build. Also “the elevation of 2,000 feet or more and an elevation of 500 feet or more above the elevation of an adjacent vally floor”, will in my opinion take in the majority of this county. The Board should take a look at the towers we have then find a height thats in comparison, then theres no need for any exemptions. I feel this is being used as a way to implement a form of zoning without calling attention to the Z word. I hope people will wake up and contact their Supervisor and attend this meeting. Theres no reason to limit our property rights to solve this problem.

    • No, it is not just a wind turbine ordinance. It is an anti-development ordinance but the wind generator debate forced the issue. There has been talk over the years about limiting ridge line construction because of the effect on the view shed.

      Cell towers are not covered by either local or state ordinances. They are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission and are exempt from state and local codes.

      • Sorry I wasn’t clear. I was trying to say they could use the height’s of those towers to set a height in this ordinace. I think you are right about the true reason’s of this. Kill two birds with one stone. Some people have wanted to stop development for a long time. We already have ordinaces concerning size of lots, that’s not enough,they want to control everything on them as well. The proposed ordinace with changes could be a good thing, just don’t try to use it to curb development.

  2. I have been wondering about the height in the ordinance as well. I personally would like to see the county have some type of zoning, so that we don’t have to deal with ordinances like this, but I understand that my opinion is not shared by many people in the county.

    My question: what counts as a structure in this ordinance? When I looked up the height of the cell towers in the county, it seems like several are higher than 40 feet (assuming what I found online is correct). Would these be grandfathered in? Would cell towers or other antennas not count? Would these towers need to be removed?

    I can understand the desire to have some control over land use, but this ordinance seems very, very broad. I think that trying to limit building condominiums on ridges is a different issue from trying to limit or prevent wind farms and conflating the two issues is problematic.

  3. Just saw a report about this ordinance at WSLS news site. Found Supervisor Clinger’s comment interesting. When runnuing for office he said he believed in property owner rights, now says” Its not just about the wind issue, what if we have condos,what other things would they want to develop along the ridge line”. Going to public hearing with a nothing taller than 40 feet and a protected mountain range defined as 2000 feet or higher gives me the idea that he must have a diffrent view of property rights than I have. The ordinance as is limits the options of land owners not just at the higher ridges, but all across this county. I would rather see 5 or 6 tall homes or other tall buildings than see the ridges timbered ,then nothing but rows of ranch style homes. When you limit what the owners can do, you run the risk of ending up with much worse things happening. I hope the people of Floyd will speak up on this issue.

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