Tampa City Council discusses windmills

08/21/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa City Council today discussed the issue of windmills and how high they are allowed to go inside the city’s limits.

City Councilman John Dingfelder said that the city should be looking at various sources of power, but his concern was that too many windmills could create blight or noise problems, and he wanted to see the city create an ordinance to regulate them.

Catherine Coyle with the Land Development Department said accessory structures are limited to 15 feet in height, and said Florida simply isn’t designed to be able to generate much wind power.

Wind turbines have to be 65 feet or taller and that is not allowed in any residential districts; commercial districts allow only 45 feet. Cell phone towers are given a special provision.

The issue came up after Councilman Charlie Miranda asked city staff it he could build one as an alternative source of energy to Tampa Electric at his West Tampa home earlier this summer.

Next month, the TECO Franchise agreement is scheduled to come back before the City Council. Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena asked City Attorney Chip Fletcher that alternative forms of energy are included in that agreement.

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said Tampa Electric hasn’t shown much interest in wind or solar energy, so she hoped the City Council could work on that themselves.

Miranda told the St. Petersburg Times this morning that he also used to have solar panels on his roof. When asked why he no longer has them, Miranda said he had to replace his roof, and those panels had deteriorated at that time.

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