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Ex-Frostburg mayor challenges proposed wind power ordinance

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.

FROSTBURG - Former Frostburg Mayor John Bambacus, a vocal watchdog of wind energy projects in Western Maryland, finds himself on the other side of the municipal podium as he questions the Mountain City's proposed ordinance that would allow residential wind 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. "Are city officials of Frostburg genuinely aware of what a number of 160-foot tall whirling structures will do to its appearance, mindful that what is contemplated would be equivalent to placing the largest amusement park rides at three times their conventional height ... throughout the city?"

"The 165-foot element was developed by the Planning Commission's subcommittee of Ray Rase and Karen Krogh with Rich (Harris, the city's community development director)," City... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FROSTBURG - Former Frostburg Mayor John Bambacus, a vocal watchdog of wind energy projects in Western Maryland, finds himself on the other side of the municipal podium as he questions the Mountain City's proposed ordinance that would allow residential wind 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. "Are city officials of Frostburg genuinely aware of what a number of 160-foot tall whirling structures will do to its appearance, mindful that what is contemplated would be equivalent to placing the largest amusement park rides at three times their conventional height ... throughout the city?"

"The 165-foot element was developed by the Planning Commission's subcommittee of Ray Rase and Karen Krogh with Rich (Harris, the city's community development director)," City Administrator John Kirby responded. "It is based on a review of small-scale systems and larger-scale systems."

Kirby points out that every application for a residential wind turbine must go through the Board of Zoning Appeals, including an advertised public hearing. "Unlike in most other communities, neighbors as well as the community at-large would have direct impact on each and every application."

Kirby said that two representatives of Renewable Energy Stewardship Co., Frederick County, spoke with city officials in September. "They made us aware of a device they sell that allows switching from the power grid to home energy sources," Kirby said. "They didn't represent only wind power, and their device seemed to be in the laboratory stage, so we didn't consider it further. They had no input or impact on the wind turbine ordinance that is now being considered."

Kirby said no other wind industry representatives, Realtors, engineering firms or lobbyists contributed to the proposed ordinance.

Bambacus has indicated that he will also ask the city to:

• Eliminate the part of the ordinance that allows neighbors to agree to an easement so that the adjacent property owner can erect a wind turbine.

• Establish a maximum capacity of 15 kilowatts for residential wind turbines.

• Consider dropping the part of the ordinance that would allow wind turbines to be placed atop existing structures.

• Prohibit the use of additional supporting towers for wind turbines.

• Discuss the impacts upon the city's historical district.


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

JUL 27 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21413-ex-frostburg-mayor-challenges-proposed-wind-power-ordinance
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