NEWPORT — A limited liability company is proposing to build a wind energy facility off Mill Creek Road, between the town’s corporate limits and Mill Pond, but the town planning board and council are working on regulations to make sure it doesn’t become a problem for neighboring property owners.

The town council and the planning board held a joint meeting Monday for the board’s regular meeting date. The board took public comments on creating new rules and regulations for tall structures, with a focus on wind energy turbines.

After receiving the input, the board unanimously recommended to the council that it adopt the latest draft of the ordinance, with amendments. Pat Gorman moved to recommend the draft with the amendments, seconded by Chuck Hudson.

As the board and council have been working on this ordinance, they say one LLC is pursuing state permits from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for a wind energy facility.

Torch Renewable Energy LLC is proposing to build a 50-turbine wind energy farm on property on Mill Creek Road, currently owned by the Weyerhaeuser paper company.

The facility would also have a 50-75 acre solar panel farm, located between Little Deep Creek Road and Little Deep Creek. Bob Chambers, town planner, said a scoping meeting, limited to 35 people due to accommodations, on the project is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Wilmington.  He said that he and Tim White, town manager, are planning to attend. A public meeting, yet to be scheduled, will also be held later in Carteret County.

The state made DENR the permitting agency for wind energy facilities with H.B. 484, which became law May 17. This bill requires anyone building a wind energy facility to get a permit from DENR, which will evaluate the site for potential impacts, hold a public scoping meeting and consult with other relevant state departments on the proposed facility.

This town’s planning board amended the proposed ordinance to create a minimum setback for all wind turbines of 1,300 feet from the property lines plus an additional setback of 2½ feet from the property line for every foot of height on the turbine. The planners also added a shutdown requirement if the turbines produce noise over 45 decibels at the property line for over 48 consecutive hours.

The recommendation will formally go to the council at its Nov. 14 regular meeting. The town council set a 58-day moratorium on permitting tall structures to allow enough time to create this proposed ordinance.

Jim Jennings, director of the Carteret County Planning Department, said from what he’s seen of the proposed ordinance, it won’t be as strict as the county’s ordinance on wind turbines.

About 23 people showed up for the Monday meeting, of which about nine spoke. The speakers seemed to have the same concerns that others have had at other meetings in Carteret County concerning proposed wind energy facilities, namely the potential impact of the turbines on property value, the risk of turbines being damaged and falling in a hurricane, the noise they’ll produce, the danger of shadow flicker, the potential impact to the environment (particularly wildlife) and the potential to interfere with military operations from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

“I understand the situation you’re in,” one woman, who didn’t give her name, said to the board. “I just want to know you’ll not only look at what you can do without getting sued, but also what’s best for us.”

The proposed ordinance will make wind energy turbines a conditional use – meaning a proposal will have to go before both the planning board and the council before being permitted – and only allowed in property zoned R-20 (residential agricultural low density), which is primarily used for farming. Applicants will have to provide a shadow flicker and blade glint report.

This report will have to show that the turbines don’t create shadow flicker or blade glint that falls on any non-participating property or roadway. The only exceptions will be if the flicker or glint falling on property is less than 120 seconds per day for seven consecutive days (20 hours maximum per year) and if the flicker or glint falls more than 100 feet from an existing residence or business property.

Flicker or glint will only be allowed on roadways if the traffic volume is less than 500 vehicles per day and the flicker or glint doesn’t fall on an intersection of public roads.

The proposed ordinance requires wind energy facilities to keep noise levels at the property line of non-participating land owners lower than 45 decibels. This level may not be exceeded for more than five consecutive minutes.

If either the flicker/glint requirements aren’t met or the noise level is exceeded for more than 48 consecutive hours, the turbines will have to be shut down. This will last until the problem is solved. Additionally, the proposed ordinance requires applicants for a conditional-use permit for turbines to receive a DENR before the town government will even consider their application.

While citizens were worried about the potential impacts of such a facility being built just to the east of Newport, Councilman David Heath – who has been the primary councilman pushing for the ordinance – said he didn’t think the town government was in a position to “outlaw this by putting a setback in place that prevents them (the turbines) from being built.”

“If we do, it (the setback) will get thrown out (by the courts) and they’ll get to built the facility anyway, without any controls from us,” he said.

Board Chairman John Davis said the board is going to do the best it can to make reasonable decisions with permitting wind energy facilities.

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(16) comments

David Collins

Always a LLC. Jessie James without a gun. Might want to read this before you vote.

1,300 ft + may not be far enough and the frog kissers haven't had their day yet.


And who was the smart one that forgot about Cherry Point Air Traffic?


NO NO NO Not in my backyard!

the virginian

Tell cherry point and the marines to fly around em'


Cherry Pt. has provided enough to this area and is far more important than a few windmills to have to change decades of operations. These windmills and you can move to Tidewater Va. See what Oceana says.

David Collins

Looks like the evil oil and gas folks are behind this venture. You too can have one on your property. Same deal as the cell towers. Not certain who gets the taxpayer incentives but someone will, that's for sure. No mention of transformers, switch gear or load shedding facilities. Wonder who makes the stuff, PRC or USA?


They should set all that up on Shackleford Banks, what better place, it will interfere with no one since they can shut it down whenever they want, the ponies can use all those solar panels for shade. There would be no reason to put it close to a neighborhood. No trees or buildings to interfere with the wind. All the benefits of using government owned land that's otherwise not used at all except along the banks. Think of the aesthetics for folks to enjoy, sure beats looking at the dunes. Heck the government may even subsidize it and save the company millions.


Looks like this issue had some controversies towards energy-related discussions. I hope the board approves this project that will benefit both parties/sides.

Carolina Gal

I was at this meeting and it is not 1300' plus the 2.5' for every foot of is only the 2.5' Times the feet of a 550' tall wind turbine would only have to be 1375 off of an adjoining property line. A 550' turbine only 1375' from a home is too close!! There is a place somewhere for this, but not next to people's homes!!


Um, please correct me if i'm wromg, as i do not have a dog in the fight, but wasn't this just covered less then 2 yrs ago? ie: there was a chap who wanted 3 of these structures on his property, and was shot down, etc. (now i know it was a on a stretch of highway that the bigger issue fell to, but, seems like a broken record? )

Lastly, these wind farms , i thought were proven not to meet the level of energy needs for their unsightly being? ie: basically, these projects, all around the world, can only produce what, about 20% of any given area, depending on the size of the farm? Their cost to operate won't even offset their being, if i remember correctly? As well, their was a hot topic in the same articles about who would be employed to maintain these beasts of a turbine, locals, or others from other places. Just wondering?

ps. the ocean and the outer banks south were covered in the last dispute, regarding these unsightly structures. (as far as i remember)

David Collins

This has been hashed over and over. Sadly, our Govt. has mandated that a certain percentage of the electricity produced must come from renewables. No one else wants it in their area, so we are the only one's left. Of course, don't forget that big taxpayer incentive program with guaranteed product pricing.


I do not know of any laws requiring 'renewables' in virtually any part of the country? I do, however know if these 2 company's get off of some coal fired plants they get fed money as well as yours and mine . They call these incentives. These incentives are basically a smoke screen in VERY LARGE CITIES for carbon emission , and they are traded between company's for off gassing. (basically, i could see this in Raleigh, etc, as they have some industry, and a heavier load of folks, but here on the sparse coast?)

Well, lets just put it like this, if this county will not let anyone place a simple sign close to a road,lol, why should we agree to these super structures? ie: businesses were made to remove signs a bit back, from the sides of the NC highways that had a designation, which was a simple form of advertisement for said businesses here in the east.

Something's backwards here..........

David Collins

DeadBolt, Try this one. There are about a hundred more out there.
Be sure to include the part about why renewable electricity costs more.

David Collins

Hummmm, deadbolt went dead.


Wind farms have NO impact on property values

Carolina Gal

That's great to hear all4wind. If they do not impact property values at all then the developers should not have any problem giving all the adjoining property owners a property value guarantee, right?? But , then when they do try to sell their home they will have to find a buyer that actually wants to live next to the project. No guarantees on that one.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.