Counties Adopt Wind Rules

Rockingham, Augusta and Shenandoah Counties have updated zoning ordinances since 2008 to guide wind energy development at all scales.

Counties Address Wind Energy Development

Shenandoah Valley counties have adopted planning rules to promote small scale wind energy with little review, while requiring much greater scrutiny of industrial scale wind projects for impacts on natural resources and local residents.

Rockingham County: Utility scale projects fall under a special use permit process with detailed review requirements, including two public information sessions hosted by the applicant before a county public hearing on the permit, submission of photo simulations of the project from at least three locations, and clear evidence that the project does not “impact health, public safety and natural resources.”

On the county zoning page, click on Rockingham County Code, then search “wind energy.”

Rockingham Wind Ordinance:

Augusta County: Utility scale projects require rezoning and approval of a Public Use Overlay District for the site. The project also must conform with the comprehensive plan and policies and can have “no adverse impact on a neighborhood.”

Augusta Wind Ordinance: on the county zoning page, scroll down to Article VI.C “Wind Energy Systems.

Shenandoah County: Utility scale projects are permitted in industrial zones, but not in the county’s five rural residential, agricultural and conservation zones. Application for an industrial wind project in these rural areas would require, at minimum, a rezoning of the land to industrial use.

Shenandoah Wind Ordinance: