It might be a small start, but the city of Blue Springs is beginning to embrace alternative forms of energy.

It might be a small start, but the city of Blue Springs is beginning to embrace alternative forms of energy.

The Blue Springs Planning Commission approved an amendment to its Unified Development Code Monday that would allow micro-wind turbines in industrial areas. Three could be seen in the city within the next few weeks.

Although these 40-foot to 60-foot miniature turbines produce only, on average, 10 kilowatts of electricity, some planning commission members hope this will be a “jumping-off” point to other forms of alternative energy.

“I think this is very exciting,” said commission member Chris Henning. “We are playing a part in pioneering this kind of technology in Blue Springs.”

Scott Allen, community development director, said planning for the amendment began almost a year ago. He said city staff looked at ordinances in both Liberty and Lee’s Summit, and although the Blue Springs ordinance does not encompass as much, he said it is a start.

“We are getting into alternative energy as an option in Blue Springs,” he said. “This is on a small scale, but it is something for us to dip our toes into.”

The micro-wind turbines cannot be taller than 60 feet, including the blade, and must be at least 400 feet from any residential structure. The combined length of multiple turbines on one property cannot be more than 200 feet.

In addition, the commission voted to amend the ordinance to mimic a telecommunications ordinance that was approved earlier this year in regards to photographic renderings that will be required for approval.

A Blue Springs business in favor of the micro-wind turbines spoke in favor of the amendment. Ben Ryan, with the Walnut Street Development Center at the corner of Walnut Street and Magellan Drive, said the foundations for three wind turbines have already been poured at the center in preparation for the planning commission’s decision.

“(Upon approval) it will be a week of construction for the wind turbines to be completed,” he said. “The power that we generate for our site will be credited back from the power company. It will not be enough to power the whole building, but it is a start.”

Planning Commissioner Ken Billups said he hopes the city will continue to look into other forms of alternative energy, including roof-mounted wind turbines.

“I think that those (roof-mounted units) would be better for not only appearance, but also safety,” he said. “It is something that I definitely would like to take a look at.”