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Report suggests quick adoption of wind turbine regs

Allegany County should introduce legislation to manage industrial and residential wind turbines "as expeditiously as possible," according to a report produced by County Planning Coordinator Phil Hager and colleagues. That's exactly what some high-profile wind energy opponents have been requesting for months. ...

State Senate president: Issue ‘best addressed through local review and regulation'

CUMBERLAND - Allegany County should introduce legislation to manage industrial and residential wind turbines "as expeditiously as possible," according to a report produced by County Planning Coordinator Phil Hager and colleagues.

That's exactly what some high-profile wind energy opponents have been requesting for months.

The report, which serves as the county staff's proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission for text amendments to the current zoning code, was released Jan. 21 during a public meeting at the County Office Complex.

Hager indicated the process of compiling the information, which suggests provisions to address "separation distances, setbacks, height limitations, electromagnetic interference and decommissioning," was slowed by multiple reasons.

He said it didn't help that a separate time-consuming issue came about - a request by Braddock Construction for rezoning that would ultimately have led to a hot-mix asphalt plant and other elements in the Miller Bottom Industrial Complex.

Further, an outspoken wind energy opponent, K. Darlene Park, apparently delayed the process when she accused... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

State Senate president: Issue ‘best addressed through local review and regulation'

CUMBERLAND - Allegany County should introduce legislation to manage industrial and residential wind turbines "as expeditiously as possible," according to a report produced by County Planning Coordinator Phil Hager and colleagues.

That's exactly what some high-profile wind energy opponents have been requesting for months.

The report, which serves as the county staff's proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission for text amendments to the current zoning code, was released Jan. 21 during a public meeting at the County Office Complex.

Hager indicated the process of compiling the information, which suggests provisions to address "separation distances, setbacks, height limitations, electromagnetic interference and decommissioning," was slowed by multiple reasons.

He said it didn't help that a separate time-consuming issue came about - a request by Braddock Construction for rezoning that would ultimately have led to a hot-mix asphalt plant and other elements in the Miller Bottom Industrial Complex.

Further, an outspoken wind energy opponent, K. Darlene Park, apparently delayed the process when she accused members of the county Planning Commission of having a conflict of interest. Hager said the allegation - which resulted in the county Ethics Commission finding that member Bill Davis did have a conflict of interest, a ruling opposite to Planning Commission Counsel Wes McKee's - might have had "unintended consequences" in slowing down the process.

Either way, Hager said, it was unlikely any amendments would have passed through the public hearing process required by both the planning and county commissions before the state Public Service Commission conducted its public hearing on the Dan's Mountain project planned by U.S. Wind Force. That hearing was held Jan. 22 and facilitated by Judge Joel Bright, chief hearing examiner.

Before U.S. Wind Force's presentation, Bright noted that any ruling by the Public Service Commission would not override or supersede local zoning restrictions or regulations.

John Bambacus, former Frostburg mayor and state senator, has publicly and privately expressed frustration of Senate Bill 566, which in 2007 streamlined the approval process for certain industrial wind turbine projects. The current project proposed on Dan's Mountain is attempting to qualify for the fast track approval process.

But in an e-mail Monday to Bambacus from Sen. Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, who authored SB 566, the senate president insisted that "possible effects on the environment, public health and safety and the aesthetic quality of our communities ... tend to be geographically centralized and, therefore, best addressed through local review and regulation."

Wrote Miller: "In my opinion, the bill places this protective responsibility squarely in the hands of county and local governments, which possess the authority and ability to address all of the concerns" raised by Bambacus in his original letter.

The full text of the proposed text amendments to the county code can be viewed online at www.times-news.com. The Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission's next public meet is at 7 p.m. Feb. 4.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/l...

JAN 28 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18816-report-suggests-quick-adoption-of-wind-turbine-regs
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