Ala. Code § 45-2-262

Current through the 2020 Regular Session Acts 1 through 206
Section 45-2-262 - Regulation of wind generated energy production facilities or equipment in unincorporated areas
(a) This section shall apply within all unincorporated areas of Baldwin County.
(b) The county commission shall have zoning authority and the power to establish and adopt ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, and procedures to regulate the permitting, construction, placement, and operation of wind turbines, windmills, wind farms, and any other wind-generated energy production facilities or equipment operated, in whole or in part, by wind, sometimes referred to collectively as "wind-generated energy production facilities," also including, but not limited to, regulations regarding the size, location, and noise generated by wind-generated energy production facilities. The regulations shall be adopted by ordinance or resolution of the county commission at a regularly scheduled meeting of the commission.
(c) The county commission shall have zoning authority and the power to establish and adopt ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, and procedures establishing standards, specifications, criteria, and conditions related to the permitting, construction, placement, and operation of wind turbines, wind mills, wind farms, and any other wind-generated energy production facilities or equipment operated, in whole or in part, by wind in the unincorporated areas of Baldwin County.
(d) The county commission shall have zoning authority and the power to establish and adopt ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures to establish and determine the appropriate locations where wind turbines, wind mills, wind farms, and any other wind-generated energy production facilities or equipment operated, in whole or in part, by wind may be located or allowed and to prohibit the same, if deemed necessary by the county commission.

As part of the commission's authority, the commission is to provide for a minimum setback for wind-generated energy production facilities that is no closer laterally than one and one-half times the height of the tower to an overhead electrical power line, excluding secondary electrical service lines or service drops. The commission may also provide for a minimum setback from underground electrical and gas distribution lines.

(e) If any building or structure is erected, constructed, altered, repaired, converted, operated, or maintained, or if any land is used, in violation of this section or any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or procedure promulgated under the authority conferred by this section, the county commission, or other appropriate administrative officer designated by the county commission, may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent an unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, operation, maintenance, or use of the land or to restrain, correct, or abate the violation, or to prevent the use of any building or structure, or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business, or misuse in or upon any premises regulated under the authority conferred by this section. In addition to the foregoing, the county commission may adopt ordinances or regulations providing for a penalty in the form of a fine for the violation of the provisions of any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or procedure promulgated under this section. The fine shall not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and costs of court for each offense. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, any violation shall be a public nuisance. Upon a finding that a building or structure violates the provisions of any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or procedure adopted pursuant to this section, the county commission may remove such building or structure, and all costs of removal shall be assessed against the landowner and recorded as a lien on the property and may be enforced until satisfied.
(f) The county commission may levy permit and application fees deemed necessary to administer the ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, or procedures adopted pursuant to this section. The fees shall cover the cost of administrative activities and the cost of reviewing applications, including the costs or fees of any experts or consultants deemed necessary to assist the county in reviewing applications.
(g) The county commission shall have the authority and power to establish rules and procedures to determine the terms and conditions of any exceptions and exemptions from the provisions of any laws, ordinances, rules, or regulations adopted pursuant to this section. In addition, any ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to this section shall authorize a variance process to be determined by the county commission. Furthermore, any ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to this section shall include a variance appeals process for any party aggrieved by a final variance decision of the county commission to appeal therefrom to the Circuit Court of Baldwin County.
(h) The authority granted to the county commission pursuant to this section shall be in addition to, and not in substitution of, any powers or authority granted to the county commission pursuant to any other laws, rules, or regulations.
(i) Nothing in this section shall serve to alter, affect, limit, or avoid other state laws and regulations that would otherwise be applicable to the permitting, construction, placement, or operation of wind-generated energy production facilities, or to sales therefrom, including but not limited to the provisions of Title 37.

Ala. Code § 45-2-262 (1975)

Act 2013-440, §§ 1, 2.