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Municipal Code


Municipal Code

Chapter 18. General Zoning Ordinance

Sec. 18-64. Energy Production Land Uses and Structures

(1) Small Wind Energy Systems: A wind energy conversion system consisting of a wind turbine, a tower and associated control or conversion electronics which will be used primarily to reduce on-site consumption of utility power. A small wind energy system shall not exceed a rated capacity of 60 kW.


(a) Permitted Locations. A small wind energy system is permitted as a conditional use in any zoning district as an accessory structure.

(b) Total Height. For property sizes up to 2 acres, the total height shall not exceed 60 feet. For property sizes between 2 and 5 acres, the total height shall not exceed 100 feet. For property sizes greater than 5 acres, the total height shall not exceed 150 feet.

(c) Location. No small wind energy system shall be located in any provided front or side yard.

(d) Setbacks

1. Property Lines. A small wind energy system shall be set back from the nearest property line, public road right of way and communication and electrical line not less than 1.1 times its total height.

2. Inhabited Structures. A small wind energy system shall be set back from the nearest inhabited building other than the owner's not less than 1.5 times its total height.

(e) Design Standards

1. Monopole or Freestanding Design. The design of the small wind energy system shall be of a monopole or freestanding design without guy wires.

2. Minimum Blade Height. The minimum height of the lowest extent of a turbine blade shall be 30 feet above the ground or 30 feet above any structure or obstacle within 100 feet from the tower.

3. Access. No tower shall have a climbing apparatus within 12 feet of the ground. All access doors or access ways to towers and electrical equipment shall be lockable.

4. Noise. No small wind energy system shall exceed 80 dBA as measured at the property line or 50 dBA as measured at the nearest neighboring inhabitable building.

5. Visual Appearance. Small wind energy systems shall be finished in a rust-resistant, nonobtrusive finish and color that is non-reflective. No small wind energy system shall be lighted unless required by the FAA. No advertising signs of any kind or nature whatsoever shall be permitted on any small wind energy system.

6. Electrical Interconnections. All electrical connections shall be underground and comply with all applicable codes; public utility requirements; Chapter PSC 119 "Rules for Interconnecting Distributed Generation Facilities;" PSC Forms 6027 and 6028 "Standard Distributed Generation Application Form;" and PSC Forms 6029 and 6030, "Distributed Generation Interconnection Agreement."

7. Shadowing/Flicker. Wind energy systems shall be sited in a manner that does not result in significant shadowing or flicker impacts. The applicant has the burden of proving that this effect does not have significant impact on neighboring or adjacent uses either through siting or mitigation.

8. Signs. All signs, both temporary and permanent, are prohibited on the wind energy system, except that the manufacturer's identification and appropriate warning signs are allowed.

9. Clearing. Clearing of natural vegetation shall be limited to that which is necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the wind energy system and as otherwise prescribed by applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances.

10. Signal Interference. Efforts shall be made to site small wind energy systems to reduce the likelihood of blocking or reflecting television and other communication signals. If signal interference occurs, both the small wind energy system owner and individual receiving interference shall make reasonable efforts to resolve the problem. No small wind energy system shall cause permanent and material interference with television or other communication signals.

11. Overspeed Controls. Every small wind energy system shall be equipped with both manual and automatic overspeed controls.

(f) Conditional Use Permit Application Requirements. Conditional use applications for a small wind energy system shall include the following information:

1. Site plan to scale showing the location of the proposed wind energy system and the locations of all existing buildings, structures, public right of ways and property lines along with distances. The extent of the site plan shall include the area included in the minimum setbacks in Subsection (d).

2. Elevations of the site to scale showing the height, design and configuration of the wind energy system and the height and distance to all existing structures, buildings and electrical lines in relation to property lines.

3. Standard drawings and an engineering analysis of the systems tower including weight capacity.

4. A standard foundation design along with soil conditions and specifications for the soil conditions at the site.

5. Specific information on the type, size, rotor material, rated power output, performance, safety and noise characteristics of the system including the name and address of the manufacturer, model and serial number.

6. Emergency and normal shutdown procedures.

7. A line drawing of the electrical components of the system in sufficient detail to establish that the installation conforms to all applicable electrical codes.

8. Evidence that the provider of electrical service of the property has been notified of the intent to install an interconnected electricity generator unless the system will not be connected to the electricity grid.

9. A building permit shall be required and if necessary an electrical permit for the installation or modification of a wind energy system. Such system shall be installed and functioning within a period of 12 months from date of building permit issuance otherwise the conditional use permit shall be null and void and the applicant must start over on the conditional use process.

10. Sound level analysis prepared by the wind turbine manufacturer or qualified engineer.

11. Estimated cost to physically remove the wind energy system to comply with surety standards.

12. Evidence of compliance with or non-applicability with Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

13. Liability insurance coverage in the amount of $1,000,000 of which the City of Marshfield shall be the certificate holder.

(g) Abandonment.

1. At such time that a wind energy system is scheduled to be abandoned or discontinued operation, the applicant will notify the Zoning Administrator by certified U.S. mail of the proposed date of abandonment or discontinuance of operation.

2. The owner shall physically remove the wind energy system within 120 days of abandonment or discontinuance of operation. This period may be extended at the request of the owner and the discretion of the Zoning Administrator. Physically remove shall mean: Removal of the wind turbine, tower and related above grade structures and restoration of the location of the wind energy system to its natural condition, except that any landscaping, grading or below grade foundation may remain in the after conditions.

3. In the event that an applicant fails to give such notice, the system shall be considered abandoned or discontinued if the system is out of service for a continuous period of 120 days. After the 120 days of inoperability, the Zoning Administrator may issue a Notice of Abandonment to the owner of the wind energy system. The owner shall have the right to respond to the Notice of Abandonment within 30 days from notice receipt date. The Zoning Administrator shall withdraw such notice if the owner provides information that demonstrates the wind energy system has not been abandoned.

4. If the owner fails to respond to the Notice of Abandonment or if after review by the Zoning Administrator it is determined that the wind energy system has been abandoned or discontinued, the owner of the wind energy system shall remove the wind turbine, tower and related above grade structures at the owner's expense within 90 days of receipt of the Notice of Abandonment. If the owner fails to physically remove the wind energy system after the Notice of Abandonment procedure, the City or their designee shall have the authority to enter the subject property and physically remove the wind energy system.

5. The Planning Commission shall have the authority to require the applicant to provide a form of surety (i.e., post a bond, letter of credit or establish an escrow account or by other means) at the time of construction to cover costs associated with the removal in the event the City must remove the wind energy system. The applicant shall submit a fully inclusive estimate of the costs associated with the removal, prepared by a qualified engineer. The amount shall include a mechanism to accommodate the rate of inflation over 15 years.

(h) Violation. It is unlawful for any person to construct, install, or operate a wind energy system that is not in compliance with this ordinance or with any condition contained in the conditional use site plan review issued pursuant to this ordinance.

(i) Penalties. Any person who fails to comply with any provisions of this ordinance, conditional use permit or building permit issued pursuant to this ordinance shall be subject to enforcement and penalties as allowed by this ordinance and Section 1-05 of the City of Marshfield Code of Ordinances.

(j) Waiver Provisions. During the conditional use process, the Common Council may waive any portion of this ordinance in such cases where, in the opinion of the Planning Commission, strict conformity would pose an unnecessary hardship to the applicant and a waiver would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of this ordinance.

(2) Solar Energy System: An energy system which converts solar energy to usable thermal, mechanical, chemical, or electrical energy.


(a) A valid electrical permit shall be obtained by the applicant prior to installation of any solar energy system.

(b) Roof top solar energy systems:

1. Are permitted by right in all zoning districts.

2. Are limited to the height restriction for principal buildings of the district in which they are located.

(c) Building-mounted solar energy systems:

1. Building-mounted solar energy systems that meet the setbacks for accessory structures are permitted by right in all zoning districts.

2. Building-mounted solar energy systems are limited to 20 feet in height or the height of the principal structure, whichever is greater.

(d) Free standing solar energy systems:

1. Free standing solar energy systems shall comply with the height limits for accessory buildings.

2. Free-standing solar energy systems shall adhere to the following setbacks:

a. Rear Yard: 5 feet

b. Side Yard: 3 feet

c. Front or Side Street Yard: The provided yard or the required setback for the zoning district, whichever is less.

d. Free standing solar energy systems that do not meet the setbacks above shall require a conditional use.

(e) See Article I for specific bulk, density, and intensity requirements for accessory structures in each district.

(f) No person in control of property shall allow a tree or shrub to be placed or grow so as to cast a shadow between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Central Daylight Saving Time, upon a solar collector energy system capable of generating more than 1,000,000 British thermal units per year, and which supplies a part of the energy requirements for improvements on the property where the solar energy system is permanently located. The provisions of this Subsection shall not require the removal of existing vegetation.

(Code 1982, 17.07; Ord. No. 964, 1, 12-10-2002; Ord. No. 1040, 1, 1-11-2005; Ord. No. 1040, 1, 1-11-2005; Ord. No. 1133, 1, 7-22-2008)