Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Pennsylvania
Eight Jackson Township residents have appealed a zoning permit approved for a commercial wind farm proposed in northern Lycoming County. The group - Frank Piccolella, Judi Piccolella, Walter Wroblewski, Gene Koonz, Dorothy Koonz, John E. Brucklacher Jr., Beverly Brucklacher and John E. Brucklacher III - signed their names to a single appeal involving Vermont-based Laurel Hill Wind Energy LLC's zoning permit application. The company applied for the permit to build more than 30 electricity-generating wind turbines on a seven-mile section of the Laurel Hill Ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships.
Wind turbines are expected to shoot up in Haycock. In response to residents' requests, supervisors increased the allowed maximum height of the energy-harnessing wind turbines from 65 feet to 72 feet. Township officials plan to hash out the details at tonight's planning commission meeting. In recent months, supervisors have been working on an ordinance that would regulate wind turbines in the rural Upper Bucks township. ...Haycock officials say wind turbine proposals are on the way, and they are trying to put sound rules in place for governing them. Buckingham has already adopted a wind power ordinance that sets windmill heights at a maximum of 140 feet.
In its meeting on Wednesday night, the Kidder Township Planning Commission voted to recommend that township supervisors table their discussion of amending zoning ordinances related to windmills, wind turbines and wind energy conversion systems until more questions can be answered. The amendments are required to approve a permit for David and Nancy Pfeil, owners of the Inn at Hickory Run, White Haven, who plan to erect a wind-powered turbine. ...Planning commission members admitted that they didn't have all the answers, but member Ellen Matt suggested that the Carbon County Conservation District be contacted by the applicant to provide more information about the impact of these structures on the environment.
Kidder Township's Planning Commission voted Wednesday to ask supervisors to postpone a hearing for a proposed windmill ordinance until planners can gather enough information to make a recommendation. The ordinance, which recently received a favorable recommendation from the Carbon County Planning Commission, would limit the number of wind turbines to one per property; set a minimum property size of 2 acres; and create a setback requirement of 110 percent of a windmill's height. ...Planner Charles Velzy asked whether the ordinance should allow turbines to be constructed in high- and medium-density residential areas, especially since the structures generally aren't well-received by neighbors.
Franklin Township supervisors adopted a zoning ordinance amendment that permits wind turbines as a special exception making the requirements simpler for residents who want to have some of their homes power provided by a windmill. ...The windmills must be equipped with a redundant braking system and mechanical brakes. They will not be allowed to show advertising and must have reflectors on guy wires up to 10 feet from the ground. Applicants should not disrupt radio or television signals. The building for storage cells must not be more than 150 square feet or be taller than 15 feet. Only property where the wind is harnessed may use the energy.
A decision by the Fayette County commissioners to intervene in a lawsuit about a proposed wind turbine project and how the proceeds of the impending hotel tax will be distributed dominated public comment during Thursday's monthly meeting. Numerous people wearing "Fayette TNT, Trees Not Turbines" shirts spoke to the commissioners to express concern about a decision by Commissioners Vincent Zapotosky and Angela M. Zimmerlink to intervene in the case that involves appeal of denial that would have allowed construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships.
Stepanoff has requested Haycock allow him to install an 80-foot tall wind turbine - basically, a modern windmill - on his property. ..."Zoning in the 1970s was amended to add wind energy systems, and you could probably find some that have those provisions," said Lynn Bush, executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission. "I think we were kind of lulled into thinking that energy would always be cheap and those ordinances were removed because nobody used them, so we have fewer of those ordinances around." Haycock's ordinance bans structures taller than 35 feet.
Cambria Township supervisors are delaying action on a proposed ordinance governing small, residential wind turbines until some sticky issues are resolved. The ordinance, similar to one passed by Portage and Jackson townships, calls for a $500 permit fee and as much as $1,500 annually if power generated by a household-use windmill is sold to a power company. Those fees have sparked objections and some misunderstandings, said Solicitor Dennis Govachini, and a workshop and public forum are needed before supervisors act. No date has been set, although the proposed ordinance was advertised last week.
Vermont-based Laurel Hill Wind Energy LLC has been granted a zoning permit to build electricity-generating wind turbines in northern Lycoming County, county zoning administrator Fred G. Pfeiffer said Wednesday. The company plans to build the turbines along a seven-mile section of the Laurel Hill ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships. A zoning permit is required for any development or change of use of a property to ensure it is permitted in that zoning district and complies with zoning regulations.
A new wind farm coming to the township is one step closer to realization, supervisors said. Last July, supervisors announced that Airtricity Inc., a company that develops and operates wind farms across Europe and North America, had submitted a preliminary plan to construct turbines in the township. The company has now submitted a permit application to the township, said Chairman John Topka.
North Union Township may join other regional municipalities that have created or are creating wind turbine ordinances. At a supervisors' meeting this week, North Union Township Supervisor Gary Croll said a group from St. Francis University, Loretto, is interested in testing wind capacity with a meteorological tower in North Union. That group is investigating the potential for a commercial wind farm. ...The supervisors asked township solicitor Paul Domalakes to review turbine information further. Croll said he didn't want to discourage alternative energy but he doesn't want it to harm residents' quality of life either.
The company planning to construct wind turbines in Logan Township needs supervisors to enlarge the wind zone and to back away from stricter rules, a representative said Thursday. ...Supervisors said they want remedies addressing turbine noise. "You guys aren't going to pick up [the wind turbines] and move them," Supervisor Ed Frontino said. Supervisors Chairman Frank Meloy said he visited Todd and Jill Stull in Juniata Township ..."I would not want to live with that noise day in and day out," Meloy said.
Several people in favor of a windmill project for Wharton, Springhill and Georges townships brought their case Tuesday to the Fayette County commissioners. Speaking during public comment of the commissioner's agenda meeting, people representing carpenter's unions and themselves spoke about the need for the county to have the South Chestnut Wind Project. In February, the county zoning hearing board unanimously denied a special exception request that would have allowed the construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships.
Logan Township should adopt tighter rules governing wind turbines, the township Planning Commission agreed Tuesday. "I feel this is more restrictive, which is good," commission member David Rhoa said. The township recently advertised revisions to its ordinance governing turbine construction and placement, with action scheduled for the May 8 supervisors meeting. If the revisions are approved, turbine developers will be required to commission an environmental impact study identifying noise and other issues that could surface for nearby property owners. The changes also specify that turbines can be no taller than 270 feet.
"We don't want to stop development and we need to do whatever we can to protect the residents," said Chairman Allan Griffith. "But there has to be a happy medium." Kern expressed concerns with letting wind developers build constrained by only county codes for the placement of turbines because those deal primarily with setback issues and limiting the distance that a turbine may be placed near an occupied dwelling. "I just think that there are safety issues and property issues that are not being taken into account," he said. He pointed to the controversy in Cambria and Blair Counties with the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm where residents and public officials have leveled noise complaints against developer Babcock & Brown. ...Griffith, said the proposal had been put off for too long. "This is something we have to come up with," he said.
Gamesa also erected a wind testing tower on land owned by Blackwood, Inc. on the Sharp Mountain. The company plans to put another 80-meter tower there soon, Barr said. Barr said the company will potentially erect 14 turbines at 2 megawatts each on Second Mountain and 25 turbines on Sharp Mountain. “We have been in extensive discussion with a few landowners up there,” she said. Barr said a company that performs environmental studies for wind farm developers must study spring and fall bird migrations to determine where and how many turbines should be placed. The studies are part of a voluntary agreement through the Pennsylvania Game Commission and is the first step in the wind farm permitting process, Barr said.
When it comes to wind energy, the opinions of Haycock residents blow in all directions. Folks here were divided Monday over a proposed local law that would allow the installation of energy-harnessing wind turbines on residential properties. Some fear the turbines will be towering eyesores whose wind-whipping will create a perpetually annoying noise, disrupting the quiet of the rural Upper Bucks township. ...To install a wind turbine under the proposed ordinance, residents would have to have at least 2 acres and set the device at least 300 feet back from the front property line, among other requirements, said Supervisor Henry DePue. The usage would be limited to the property so wind power couldn't be sold to neighbors, officials said.
A company denied approvals for special exceptions and variances by the Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board that would have allowed construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships has appealed the ruling, urging the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to assume jurisdiction of any additional proceedings. In the appeal filed Wednesday in the office of Prothonotary Lance Winterhalter, attorneys for PPM Atlantic Renewable Energy Corp. based in Portland, Ore., allege the company has not and "cannot receive a fair and impartial hearing before the zoning hearing board." ...The zoning board unanimously ruled in March to deny the special exception for a wind-powered, electricity-generating facility and a variance from height and setback requirements.
David Pfeil, who has owned and lived at the Inn at Hickory Run for about three years, was seeking two variances from the township's Zoning Hearing Board -- one to allow construction of the windmill in a residential zone and one to allow it to exceed the maximum township height limit of 35 feet. ...''He's attempting to save on his electric bill by taking money from the state, which essentially is our money,'' Mousseau said. ''The fact that he went out and obtained a grant on false assertions is not grounds to qualify for a variance.'' Mousseau referred to Pfeil's grant application, on which Pfeil indicated that his project was in compliance with all municipal zoning ordinances, but Pfeil said DEP was made aware of the fact that variances are needed. Late Tuesday, zoners denied the requests because Pfeil could not prove a hardship.
When it comes to wind energy, the opinions of Haycock residents blow in all directions. Folks here were divided Monday over a proposed local law that would allow the installation of energy-harnessing wind turbines on residential properties. Some fear the turbines will be towering eyesores whose wind-whipping will create a perpetually annoying noise, disrupting the quiet of the rural Upper Bucks township. "You could use the term visual pollution," said Greg Seifert, a farmer who worries the turbines will disrupt his livestock. ...Art Silveira encouraged supervisors to allow for a township review process that includes input from neighbors before allowing a turbine to go up. Otherwise, "You could go on vacation, come back and have one of these things next to you," he said.