Wind turbine gets approval in Bedford County

May 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

An Evington man and retired engineer designed and built a wind turbine on his property three years ago but took it down several months ago after learning it had zoning hurdles to overcome.

The Bedford County Board of Supervisors, impressed with his craftsmanship, cleared the completed wind energy system to stand once again.

Board members approved Tuesday a special use permit allowing Roger Beale, of Bethel Church Road, to place the 100-foot-tall turbine in his backyard near the intersection of Virginia 811.  Beale, a retired IT engineer at R.R. Donnelley in Lynchburg, built the turbine at about 40 feet and later doubled in height.

“He actually built it as a hobby,” said Debra Beale, his representative agent. “It’s completely homemade.”

Beale’s project started when the county did not regulate wind turbines in the zoning ordinance. That changed early last year when the Board of Supervisors approved “small wind energy systems.” Under regulations, his project still calls for a special use permit due to setback requirements and height.

Tim Wilson, the county’s director of community development, said Beale voluntarily took the turbine down when he realized it was not yet permissible. Staff did not object to its placement through a permit.

No opposed it during a hearing Tuesday.

Roger Henderson, who lives on Virginia 122 north of Bedford, said he has long held an interest in renewable energy and he fully supports Beale’s work.

“It’s nothing short of phenomenal what he’s accomplished here,” he said. “I stand in awe of his engineering ability.”

Supervisor Annie Pollard added of Beale’s project: “I sure would like to have one of those in my backyard.”

The board also approved a special use permit Tuesday allowing James and Sandra Ramaker of Moneta to operate a winery business on their farm on Hendricks Store Road near Smith Mountain Lake. 

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