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Private Home Windmills and More Electric Car Charging Stations on Montgomery's Horizon

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted September 13, 2023


Windmills in Montgomery

Given Montgomery’s Dutch heritage, it should not be surprising that Dr. Adrianus Vanbeveran, a 45-year Skillman resident, is suggesting that township residents should be allowed to have individual wind turbines to help power their homes.


“Windmills have come a long way,” Vanbeveran, who was raised in Holland, told Montgomery Township Committee at a recent meeting. “They can be used to provide clean, renewable energy to individual homes.”

Dr. Adrianus Vanbeveran of Skillman asked Montgomery Township Committee to revise a zoning ordinance to allow small, personal home-windmills on smaller tracts of private property. The current ordinance requires homeowners to have five acres.


A Google search confirms Vanbeveran’s claims. A Dutch company, in fact, has recently produced a new, soundless, domestic-use wind turbine and allows a yield more than three times traditional standard private home turbines. Also, Vortex Bladeless, a Spanish startup based in Ávila, is developing a wind turbine without blades nor gears or shafts. Whether the Montgomery Township climate has enough wind to harvest remains to be proven.


“I believe we are going to see some major changes in the next five years,” Vanbeveran said.

A domestic windmill

The design of one of the newer domestic windmills looks more like a Nautilus shell than a traditional windmill.


The new windmills are much smaller than commercial turbines. They are rated as being able to generate clean, renewable energy to power homes, RVs, campers, and boats.


However, the township, Vanbeveran says, “won’t let me get one. They say I need five acres, and I only have one.”


Zoning ordinances can restrict the height, noise level, and number of acres needed for wind turbines for home use. Also, some homeowners’ associations also do not allow home windmills at all.


Vanbeveran, however, says that as the human-caused climate crisis accelerates, and extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, it will be important for people to have alternative energy sources.


“I won’t do solar,” he adds, “because in the future hail storms ... will cause problems with solar panels. I need a windmill I can bring down and cover up [during a storm].”


He had presented a previous request at the June 15 township commitee meeting, regarding the installation of windmills on private properties throughout Montgomery Township as a viable source of alternative energy.


Mayor Devra Keenan responded that township officials are in the process of reviewing the code. “It is outdated,” she said.


The Montgomery Planning Office is looking at other municipalities to see how they have addressed issue of allowing smaller lots to use the smaller windmill turbine systems.


“I am personally very interested in it myself,” Mayor Keenan said.


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Public Parking Spaces for Electric Vehicles

Montgomery Township Committee voted on August 17 to add parking spaces with access to charging station equipment in its municipality-owned parking lots. Dedicated, marked parking spaces will be designated exclusively for the charging of electric vehicles.


The parking spaces will be added to the following locations for use as charging stations: Two spaces at the Otto Kaufman Community Center and four spaces at the municipal complex off Orchard Road.


The following fees shall apply to use each of the designated electric vehicle charging station spaces: An hourly rate of up to four hours at $2 per hour. The maximum time limit would be four hours.


It will be unlawful for any person to park in a space that is designated as a charging station space unless the vehicle is an electric vehicle and is connected for electric charging purposes.


Millpond Boardwalk

Township committee voted on August 3 to award a contract to Brayco Inc of Cream Ridge for $531,374 to complete the Mill Pond Boardwalk rehabilitation. ■




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