Zoning/Planning and Maryland
Members of Team Smart, which stands for the group Support More Alternative Renewable Technology that formed a year ago to study the wind turbine issue in Baltimore County, will join other speakers at the Planning Board's public meeting at 5 p.m. in Towson.
Key components of the Board's proposed legislation allow turbines on lots of 1 acre or more.
Allegany County's current zoning codes define key terms in regards to wind turbines - but not where, or under what circumstances, they could be allowed.
During a work session Monday, the Planning and Zoning Commission heard reasons why county staff should pursue defining what is and is not permitted in the county for both industrial and residential uses. The commission is expected to approve a study at its June 18 meeting.
Phil Hager, county planning coordinator, said a review should include economic impact, including job creation, the potential for lower energy costs, and the effect of wind farms on the natural habitat and wildlife.
Allegany County government planning staff were directed Wednesday to review ordinances currently in place that might allow or restrict the development of wind turbine farms.
Phil Hager, county planner, said "it might be prudent" for staff to review what current regulations do and do not allow. County officials have remained out of the public spotlight in recent years as the potential for wind energy conversion turbines have focused on land in Garrett County. Allegany County last addressed the issue in 2002, Hager said. ...Hager said Wednesday the review would be an effort to "stay ahead of the curve" of the inevitable dialogue bound to take place.
Amendments to Frostburg's wind energy systems ordinance will reduce the maximum height of a residential wind turbine from 165 to 75 feet and limit the number of wind energy systems to one per each lot of record.
The mayor and council approved the amendments Thursday night. A public hearing on the amended ordinance is scheduled during the regular City Council meeting Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Frostburg Community Center.
Clipper Windpower Inc.'s quest to put a wind turbine project in Western Maryland was deflated again - this time by the Court of Special Appeals, which revived a claim that the company reneged on its earlier settlement agreement.
Objector D. Daniel Boone claims that California-based Clipper reconfigured the project it agreed to in 2003, in an agreement that allowed the project to move forward.
"They unilaterally changed the plans," said Boone, a former employee of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He is challenging the Public Service Commission's 2005 approval of Clipper's request to build larger, but fewer, turbines at the Criterion project in Garrett County.
A bill to reduce environmental reviews required of wind turbine proposals in Maryland has breezed through the General Assembly, a move lauded by industry leaders pushing for renewable forms of energy in the state.
The House of Delegates and Senate passed identical versions of the bill by overwhelming margins Friday. Gov. Martin O'Malley is reviewing the proposed legislation and is inclined to sign it into law, his spokesman, Rick Abbruzzese, said yesterday.