Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Maryland
Citing 14 months of review by the Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission and four months of their own scrutiny, the county's commissioners voted quickly and unanimously Thursday to make more restrictive the rules for developing industrial wind turbines. The emergency changes to Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-09 diminish the possibility that US WindForce will construct a wind farm atop the northeastern end of Dan's Mountain.
The Allegany County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote Thursday whether to adopt or reject zoning code amendments that would offer strict - but some say necessary - regulations for industrial wind energy facilities.
Having been an intervenor in the original Synergics hearing before the Public Service Commission (PSC) several years ago, I am deeply troubled that this issue is back before us again. ...Thanks to the work of Wayne Rogers, Cas Taylor, and Senate President Mike Miller, the PSC was all but written out of the permitting process. So now the PSC is holding yet another meaningless hearing on a resubmitted Synergics wind proposal.
Allegany County staff on Tuesday rejected a half dozen suggestions and critiques by US WindForce regarding proposed amendments to the county zoning code. US WindForce President Tom Matthews has said the loss of any more turbines to the planned Dan's Mountain project would eliminate the project from being a viable one. The county, however, has consistently presented a goal of balancing those business needs with adequate safeguards for its residents.
Allegany County staff on Tuesday rejected half a dozen suggestions or critiques by US Wind Force regarding proposed amendments to the county zoning code. US Wind Force President Tom Matthews has said the loss of any more turbines to the planned Dan's Mountain project would eliminate the project from being a viable one.
A key factor in any decision the commissioners might make regarding the proposed amendments to the county zoning code could involve the recently adopted LaVale Region Comprehensive Plan. The proposed changes would impact any future industrial wind energy venture, Stakem noted, but only the Dan’s Mountain project has open permits with county government. Lewis said last week, and Stakem reiterated Monday, that the LaVale planning area does not permit industrial wind turbines.
The Community Advisory Panel for the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm near Keyser will not conduct its regular monthly meeting, with panel members instead slated to tour a Pennsylvania wind farm later this month. The wind farm tour, which is limited to members of the panel, is scheduled for May 18.
US Wind Force has been planning this development since at least as early as 2004. Why is it that when a developer starts planning, the county cannot make any changes to local zoning regulations for fear of lawsuit? ...The county commission has the right (and the duty) to make changes to ordinances, when necessary, to protect the well-being of the citizens of Allegany County, regardless of who is planning what project.
Once again, you have made a farce out of the democratic process by remaining silent and secretive over the past seven years while avoiding a reasonable moratorium or making any comment on this matter until the last several weeks. Some serious realism and a sense of public purpose is needed, and not the arrogant and incompetent actions that seem to permeate this administration.
As taxpayers of Allegany County, Maryland and residents of Harwood Subdivision located adjacent to the proposed Dan's Mountain Wind Project, we are in favor of zoning regulations for industrial wind farms and support Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-09. The proposed regulations will play a vital role in providing protection to property owners that presently does not exist.
Jamie Walsh said Allegany County officials are trying to impose strict standards on small industrial wind turbine projects - regulations that are even more limiting than larger projects that require in-depth review by a number of state agencies. ...And the consensus appeared to be the commissioners favored imposing some form of the amendments to the county zoning code.
Poolesville's Planning Commission has delayed a decision on permitting an energy-generating wind turbine while it develops a policy on alternative energy sources. If approved, the turbine, which John Speelman proposes building at his Poolesville Hardware store at 19961 Fisher Ave., would be the first wind generator in town.
The Allegany County commissioners returned from a trip to Somerset County in Pennsylvania with a little more insight in terms of wind turbines. Commissioners Dale Lewis and Robert Hutcheson said Thursday the visit was very informative.
US WindForce will host a public meeting Monday evening at the Wind Lea Banquet and Conference Center as part of the company's ongoing efforts to keep the public abreast of its Pinnacle Wind Farm project near Keyser, with environmental issues again the focus of discussion.
In a recent letter to the editor, local U.S. Wind Force attorney Jamie Walsh insisted that proposed amendments to the Allegany County zoning code would restrict industrial wind energy facilities too much. "The ordinance would prevent any wind projects in Allegany County," Walsh wrote.
The developers of an industrial wind farm near Frostburg must start construction within three years and must have at least one working turbine within five years. Those details, and other relatively minor conditions, were released today as the Maryland Public Service Commission issued its formal report on the Dan's Mountain Wind Force project. The commission considered whether to grant the company an exemption from the full regulatory review process during its meeting Wednesday in Baltimore.
In a typically airless conference room in downtown Baltimore yesterday, the Public Service Commission fast-tracked a proposal for a wind farm in Western Maryland. "Fast," though, is a relative term given that developers have as long as three years to start construction and five for the first turbine to actually start harnessing those mountain breezes and turning them into electricity.
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved on Wednesday to grant Dan's Mountain Wind Force an exemption from the full regulatory review process. The commission added two key conditions. Frank Maisano, a spokesman for the wind energy industry, said in an e-mail that Dan's Mountain Wind Force must work with a local telecommunications provider to ensure there is no microwave interference with telecommunications towers on Dan's Rock. The wind company also must work with the state Department of Natural Resources.
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved earlier today to grant Dan's Mountain WindForce a fast track through the regulatory review process. The commission added a handful of conditions but wind energy spokesman Frank Maisano said in an e-mail that Dan's Mountain WindForce must work with a local telecommunications provider to ensure there is no microwave interference on Dan's Rock. In addition, the wind company must work with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Rick Meehan vetoed his first city ordinance as mayor of Ocean City this week, sending a message to the council that its stance on wind turbine usage in Ocean City was a bit too conservative. In a rare occurrence in local government, Meehan flexed his veto power on the recent passage of the ordinance allowing wind turbines in Ocean City after one of the area's most vocal proponents of the alternative energy conduits was finding it difficult to move forward with his planned project.