Program Camden County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State North Carolina
Sectors Residential

In September 2007, Camden County adopted a wind ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems in the county and to describe the conditions by which a permit for installing such a system may be obtained.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind-energy systems are classified as “large” if they consist of one or more turbines with a rated generating capacity of more than 100 kilowatts (kW), “small” if a project consists of a single turbine rated at less than 20 kW, and "medium" if one or more turbines rated between 20 kW and 100 kW. A site permit is required to establish, operate, and maintain any wind-energy system rated over 20 kW.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest point of rotation. The height limit for small wind turbines is 150 feet. Large systems may be taller if recommended as necessary by the Planning Board and subsequently approved by the Board of Commissioners.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a galvanized finish or be painted so as to conform to their surroundings and reduce visual obtrusiveness. Wind-energy systems must also remain free from signage (except that of the manufacturer), advertising, flags, streamers, and other decorative items.

Setbacks: The ordinance requires that the base of the wind turbine must not be closer to surrounding property lines than its height unless a professional engineer (registered in North Carolina) certifies that the fall zone of the turbine will be within the proposed setback area. The exact setback, as detailed in the ordinance depend on the capacity of the turbine. 

Building Permit Requirements: A building permit shall be required and building permit applications for small wind energy systems shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base, and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower, certified by a licensed professional engineer. This includes standards for ice/wind loading. This analysis may be supplied by the manufacturer. Wet stamps shall not be required.

Impact Analysis, Mitigation, and Planning: Applications for site permits for large wind-energy projects must include the following: building and electrical permits; site and design information; construction, operation, maintenance and insurance information; decommissioning and site restoration information; a comprehensive impact analysis and all other relevant permits and approvals. All applicants must also undergo a public hearing so that the county planning board may receive comments and other information pertinent to the application.

Add new comment