Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New zoning needed for alternative power...

I believe it is time for the city of Kingman to be a leader for once. Last month I commented about an article that appeared in the KDMiner about a Kingman resident that put up a personal use wind powered generator. I was very excited about this news.

Look outside right now (if you are in Kingman). Yeah... it is windy here. Spring time always brings windy weather... but you'd find the same kind of conditions practically any time of the year. Normally late in the afternoon the wind will pick up... even on a mostly calm day.

A letter to the editor appeared in the same KDMiner from a resident that is trying to capture some natural force that can be used to generate electricity for home use. This person is running into so many obstacles that he basically is ready to quit trying... and that is a shame.

Here is the letter in full...

I quit and you win

Sunday, May 11, 2008

For months, I have been trying to get a permit to put a wind generator in my backyard. This has been denied by the city Planning and Zoning office each time I have asked. I am told there is a zoning problem in that I live in a residential neighborhood. The City Council also told me a wind generator would be "blight" on the neighborhood.

I can stand on my front porch and view more than 50 electrical wooden utility poles that are at least 40-50 feet high. At the end of my street is a cell phone relay tower, which is probably well over 100 feet high.

Beyond that is an electrical yard with many steel towers supporting electrical wires leading from the yard and across the landscape. There are also numerous water storage tanks in the area. Why are none of these "blights" on the neighborhood.

On April 29, the Miner published a story and photo on the front page of a citizen having a wind generator installed on his property.

The permit office told me this person lives in a "rural" area and a wind generator is permitted. According to the Miner's article, this location is about two blocks from the intersection of Stockton Hill and Airway, probably the busiest intersection in Kingman. I have a hard time understanding how this could be "rural."

I live in the Hualapai Foothill Estates on a lot that is a bit over 1-1/2 acres. I have checked with my immediate neighbors to find out if any of them have any problems with me installing a wind generator in my backyard and none do. In fact, each told me they thought it was a fine idea.

One of the problems with my wanting this is the 41-foot pole the generator would have to be mounted on. I was once told that I could apply for a variance that would allow the 41-foot pole. This variance once required a $500 fee.

I am told now that fee is $1,000 and is non-refundable no matter if the variance is granted or refused. This $1,000 is required to have the request proceed, but it seems a bit excessive given processing probably requires the reading of the request and making a decision yes or no.

During my last encounter with the permit office, I was told that I could have a permit for a 35-foot pole. It made me wonder why wasn't I told about this during my first request for a permit.

Had I been told this, a lot of unpleasantness could have been avoided.

It is obvious the Kingman City Council has no interest in allowing electrical wind generators to come to Kingman. For what reason, I am not sure.

I do suspect one of the reasons is the tax situation it will create.

If I have a wind generator that is producing electrical power which will lower my monthly electrical bill, that means my monthly tax on that bill will be less. I'm sure there are probably more reasons.

My reason for wanting this generator is very simple - it will lower my monthly bill. I have neither green issues nor anything against green issues.

The City Council's resistant to this makes me wonder if I even own this property. I think I own it; I surely paid a lot of money for it.

I certainly have no control over it. It seems to have been taken over by the City Council, Permit, Planning and Zoning office.

Now that you have elevated yourselves to be the riling class, I take this opportunity to advise, "the council of lords" your Lordships, I quit, and you win.

I will no longer bother the Fiefdom of Kingman about a permit for a wind generator. I will take my little serf body and the money I intend to spend in this community and spend it elsewhere.

Marvin A. Schrank


I think it is time for a letter writing campaign in support of a residential zoning classification that would allow for personal use wind generators.

The 'excuse' of blight is just that... a lame excuse. Mr. Schrank is correct there are already teams of wooden power poles all around town. The power poles do look like crap... but I doubt if maybe but a very few of us would do without those transmission lines that bring the ability to power up our TV sets and lighting fixtures in our homes. We simply deal with those power poles... in fact I bet most of us don't even consciously think about those tall wooden structures with power lines attached to them on a day to day basis.

So a 41' foot tall wind mill may look out of place on this very day... but there is going to be a day when we think of those personal use wind mills the way we think of power poles... not very much.

I think scores of wind mills scattered throughout Kingman would symbolize many good things about our community.

First off... we'd be telling the world that we are a forward thinking community that realizes the importance of utilizing forces of nature that can enhance our lives at no cost to the environment.

Also... many have told me that our part of Arizona is attractive to soon to be retiree's and if they buy a home here to retire in wouldn't a home that comes with reduced utility bills be a nice benefit??

The technology is getting better all the time for these personal use products. Some, like Mr. Schrank, are willing to give it a go... but the city for whatever lame reason is not thinking clearly on this issue. I know there is a bit of safety concerns involved because it is 'possible' that a 40' foot tower could fall over and cause some damage to person or property. But come on... at least offer the ability for property owners to install one of these if they have a half an acre or more. It is a good start.

I don't have any information to link, but I'm sure that I heard about a newer windmill product that can sit on a roof top (with no tower). It is probably just in the prototype stage at this time, but the more people that decide to install a wind mill on a tower, the more likely that other forms of wind mills that produce 'clean energy' will end up on the market. Hopefully the city won't be as restrictive to the new 'rooftop' products when or if they ever materialize.

Time to get ahead of this thing. Do it now, look at possible changes to zoning restrictions, and let's show the rest of the country the positive direction our community is taking to be a great partner with the environment.

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