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Planning board seeking public opinion on turbines

A year ago, Barry and Urszula Antonelli received county approval to install a 120-foot wind turbine at their new house in Phoenix and neighbors immediately appealed that decision. Realizing there were no specific zoning regulations for windmills or wind turbines, the county's planning staff has spent the past year working on recommendations to regulate wind turbines for residential use.

Proposed legislation allows turbines in any zone

A year ago, Barry and Urszula Antonelli received county approval to install a 120-foot wind turbine at their new house in Phoenix and neighbors immediately appealed that decision.

Realizing there were no specific zoning regulations for windmills or wind turbines, the county's planning staff has spent the past year working on recommendations to regulate wind turbines for residential use.

A 16-page document listing the proposed regulations is done and the county's Planning Board is seeking input from experts and the public at two September meetings as they decide whether to accept or alter the staff recommendations.

Tentatively, Sept. 15 is the date for wind turbine experts to testify before the Planning Board. The public can attend, but not testify.

The public's turn to talk comes a week later, when the Planning Board holds another hearing, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 22. Both meetings begin at 5 p.m. in Towson.

"There's a lot of public interest in this issue and we felt we wanted to hear from the experts about technical issues, too" said Adam Sampson, chair of the Planning Board's six-member wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Proposed legislation allows turbines in any zone

A year ago, Barry and Urszula Antonelli received county approval to install a 120-foot wind turbine at their new house in Phoenix and neighbors immediately appealed that decision.

Realizing there were no specific zoning regulations for windmills or wind turbines, the county's planning staff has spent the past year working on recommendations to regulate wind turbines for residential use.

A 16-page document listing the proposed regulations is done and the county's Planning Board is seeking input from experts and the public at two September meetings as they decide whether to accept or alter the staff recommendations.

Tentatively, Sept. 15 is the date for wind turbine experts to testify before the Planning Board. The public can attend, but not testify.

The public's turn to talk comes a week later, when the Planning Board holds another hearing, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 22. Both meetings begin at 5 p.m. in Towson.

"There's a lot of public interest in this issue and we felt we wanted to hear from the experts about technical issues, too" said Adam Sampson, chair of the Planning Board's six-member wind turbine committee. "We're also happy to receive e-mails or letters from the public."

The planning staff recommends wind turbines be permitted as an accessory use with restrictions such as: a maximum tower height of 150 feet; minimum lot size of 1 acre; setback from property lines of 110 percent of total turbine height; noise cannot exceed 55 decibels at the property line; and the energy produced must be for personal use.

The Antonellis' wind turbine is proposed for a new house they're building on Cooper Road, in Phoenix. The house features energy-saving devices such as geothermal heat and solar panels and the Antonellis wanted a wind turbine to help produce their own electricity.

But several neighbors appealed the county's approval of the wind turbine, including Lisa and Ernest Viscuso, of Cooperstown Court, in Phoenix.

They sent committee chairman Sampson a letter Aug. 4 about the proposed legislation.

"We support and live with conservation principles and are environmentally conscientious. However, we feel allowing these systems as a right and not on an exception basis and allowing them in or close to residential areas is irresponsible and unfair to citizens like us."

The proposed legislation calls for small wind energy systems to be permitted in any zone. Special exceptions are needed on parcels that are on the county's preliminary or final landmarks list, in historic preservation districts or areas visible from scenic routes or views identified in the county's Master Plan.

To read the planning staff report, go to www.baltimorecountymd.gov/agencies/planning and click on Wind Turbines icon on the right-hand side. That same Web site will post confirmation of the meeting dates.

E-mail comments to the Planning Board at bweaver@baltimorecountymd.gov. Letters can be sent to Baltimore County Office of Planning, 105 W. Chesapeake Ave., Towson, MD 21204. The public meetings will be held at that same location.


Source: http://www.explorebaltimore...

AUG 19 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21800-planning-board-seeking-public-opinion-on-turbines
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