OTTAWA — Wind turbines and faster trains were the main topics of discussion Monday night during the Village Council meeting.
Ottawa officials were asked to consider an ordinance allowing wind turbines in the village. They also learned the CSX railroad is considering increasing the speed limit within the village.
During Monday’s meeting, Dan Klear, with Energy Solutions, approached councilors about allowing wind turbines in the village. Klear said he was asked by a customer to install a wind turbine and asked if the council would consider an ordinance to allow this.
He said the property where the proposed turbine would be installed has a height restriction. Klear said he filed for a variance with the village’s planning commission and hoped to discuss the height request variance during the April 15 planning commission meeting.
Klear said wind turbines for residential properties are often 33, 60 or 90 feet tall and cost $15,000 to $20,000. He said incentives are available for the person who chooses to install a wind turbine. The turbine he plans to install would be able to withstand winds up to 140 mph.
He presented a packet of information to the council and Mayor Ken Maag that included a proposed wind turbine ordinance written by the American Wind Energy Association.
Council also learned the CSX Transportation rail line within the village is considering increasing the speed trains will go through town.
Ken Gilsdorf, community affairs representative for CSX, said an increased speed on the Louisville Division line that runs from Cincinnati to Toledo is being considered. If the increase is approved it would mean the train speed through Ottawa would be 50 mph. Currently, trains are only allowed to go 35 mph.
Gilsdorf said he is notifying several area villages along the line that could see the train speed increased in their towns.
“It all will depend on costs,” he said.
One cost area he mentioned was changing signals in town to allow the same amount of time a signal is set off before the train comes to the crossing. Gilsdorf said villages had tried to restrict speeds of trains in the past, but had failed in the court systems.
Village employee Doug Schroeder expressed concerns about the vibrations that could occur from faster trains. He said he owned a building at least a block from the track and a laser he was using during construction indicated a vibration of at least 0.25 inches on a concrete floor. Gilsdorf said no one had ever expressed this concern before.
Village Solicitor Joe Schroeder also expressed a concern about an already high number of train fatalities in the village.
Gilsdorf said studies indicate there is no correlation between the speed of trains and the number of accidents. He reminded the council the approval for this increase would be a slow process, but promised to keep the village updated.