Zoning/Planning and Maryland
When the Department of Natural Resources crafts its policy on whether to build wind turbines on public land, the testimony of emotional citizens will weigh heavily in its decision. ...The agency will review testimony posted on its Web site through March 3, and from public meetings in Annapolis and Garrett County, where the proposed 100 wind turbines would go up.
"The most significant consideration for us right now is the public comments," said department spokeswoman Olivia Campbell. "That is going to weigh in very significantly in the decision-making process." ..."It is absolutely inconceivable to me, that for this piddling energy gain by this project, industrial wind plants are being considered for the state forest land," said Mary Fletcher, who owns property in Garrett County.
Residents of Western Maryland's Garrett County pride themselves on their scenic byways and fall foliage, the whitewater rafting and skiing. Like others in the state and around the country, they are concerned about the environment and understand the need for renewable energy sources.
But a proposal to erect 400-foot tall wind turbines to generate clean electricity drew almost unanimous opposition at hearings this week from residents who, while supportive of alternative energy, would prefer not to spoil the scenic views of their state land.
The proposal, by Pennsylvania-based U.S. Wind Force seeks annual leases on roughly 400 acres of publicly-owned land for about 100 turbines.
Around 700 people attended Department of Natural Resources meetings Wednesday and Thursday nights in Garrett County and Annapolis, with only a handful speaking in favor of the turbines.
The mayor and council recently approved a first reading of the ordinance that would allow personal wind turbines as tall as 165 feet in Frostburg's backyards. At the Aug. 20 public meeting, the city officials are scheduled to have subsequent readings and a vote on the matter, though some talk has surfaced about postponing that action until September.
"A structure this high is equivalent to a 16-story building," Bambacus told the elected officials in an e-mail.