North Carolina has a law, known as the Ridge Law, that generally bans construction of most structures over 40 feet along the ridgelines.
As I wrote nearly two years ago, wind power advocates are trying to create a special exemption for massive wind turbines.
There shouldn’t be a Ridge Law. However, if there’s going to be a prohibition, then creating special favors for wind power (or anyone) is inappropriate. Why not allow a condo or a hotel?
Should government be in the business of figuring out what tall structures are worthy of being built along the ridgelines and what should be prohibited? That’s what is being proposed in a new bill (HB 694 and SB 665).
The government would create a special exception for a wind turbine power plant developed by Appalachian State University. It is allegedly a demonstration project, but there’s no time limit for the project (as far as I can tell).
This special exception to the Ridge Law would now make it clear that the Ridge Law is not an absolute ban on development so long as the proposed project gets political support.
Ironically, among the many valuable private projects that could have been developed and haven’t been due to the Ridge Law, the one exception would be for the state, which created the development ban in the first place.
For those concerned with big government, this bill should be of particular concern. The government has created a broad ban (the Ridge Law) and now it would create specific exceptions it deems worthy. The power that it provides the legislature is enormous.
This is why the Ridge Law should be repealed so there’s no general ban in the first place, or if the Ridge Law is to exist, special exceptions should not be granted.