Craven County’s effort to regulate tall structures such as windmills got the backing of Cherry Point supporters last week.
Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow passed a resolution in support of proposed wind turbine and tall structure regulations.
The specifics of the rules are still being worked out, but Don Baumgardner, Craven County planning director, presented some details during an ACT board meeting last week at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
Baumgardner said the military is unable to restrict construction of tall structures on its own but can comment on projects. With that idea, any such application for a windmill or cell tower in Craven County would be sent immediately to the Marine Corps and Air Force to determine impacts.
"Those comments that we get from those agencies will be forwarded back to the applicant that is applying for the activity to determine if their proposal can mitigate or remove any of these potential impacts on military operations," Baumgardner said.
The comments from both the military and the applicant would then be considered by the county during the approval process.
Baumgardner also said the new rules would require that proposed structures in no way interfere with military radar or other communications. He said windmills have been known to disrupt radars.
"Sometimes radar goes out as much as 43 miles," Baumgardner said. "It just picks up the interference as the windmill turns."
He said the county would likely schedule a public hearing on the proposed rules in February.
Baumgardner said officials from Havelock, Cherry Point and Marine Corps Installations East have been involved with the county and Holland Consulting Planners in creating the rules he said could be adopted by other counties as well.
Pamlico County Commissioner Christine Mele liked that idea.
"I would love for you to get in touch with Pamlico County because we’re on the cutting edge of this coming in, and I spoke with our county manager about this the other day," she said. "We’ve got to get something on the books."
Tyler Harris, from the Cherry Point liaison office, suggested that the county and cities pass a moratorium on the structures while the new rules are being created.
"A moratorium is good," said Craven County manager Jack Veit. "If the barbarians are at the gate, you have to stop them."
Wind turbines have not been proposed for Craven County, Baumgardner said.
however nearby Pamlico, Beaufort and Carteret counties have been sites for proposed wind energy projects. The federal government just opened two areas off Kitty Hawk and Wilmington for wind energy projects.