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Ill winds blow during public turbine hearing

Part of a wind turbine project proposed in Logan Township, north of Route 36 near Avalon Road, will be visible not only to nearby residents, but to those who live and drive as much as five miles from the site. "I totally oppose this," Avalon Road resident Mark Twardon said. "You're going to be coming down 17th Street, and instead of the mountains, you're going to see these huge towers." Twardon was one of 18 people who asked questions and offered comments, mostly in opposition.

Part of a wind turbine project proposed in Logan Township, north of Route 36 near Avalon Road, will be visible not only to nearby residents, but to those who live and drive as much as five miles from the site.

"I totally oppose this," Avalon Road resident Mark Twardon said. "You're going to be coming down 17th Street, and instead of the mountains, you're going to see these huge towers."

Twardon was one of 18 people who asked questions and offered comments, mostly in opposition, during a public hearing Thursday night hosted by the township planning commission at the First Church of Christ in Juniata Gap.

The commission is expected to forward a recommendation for supervisors on Gamesa Energy's request to build eight wind turbines north of Route 36, outside the township's wind zone. The company also plans to build 17 wind turbines south of Route 36, inside the wind zone.

The matter will be reviewed at the commission's Dec. 2 meeting, Chairman Dennis Murray said.

Several landowners are willing to lease acreage and/or waive setback requirements, said Jon Baker, Gamesa project developer.

Among those landowners is the Altoona City Authority.

If supervisors approve the request, the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Part of a wind turbine project proposed in Logan Township, north of Route 36 near Avalon Road, will be visible not only to nearby residents, but to those who live and drive as much as five miles from the site.

"I totally oppose this," Avalon Road resident Mark Twardon said. "You're going to be coming down 17th Street, and instead of the mountains, you're going to see these huge towers."

Twardon was one of 18 people who asked questions and offered comments, mostly in opposition, during a public hearing Thursday night hosted by the township planning commission at the First Church of Christ in Juniata Gap.

The commission is expected to forward a recommendation for supervisors on Gamesa Energy's request to build eight wind turbines north of Route 36, outside the township's wind zone. The company also plans to build 17 wind turbines south of Route 36, inside the wind zone.

The matter will be reviewed at the commission's Dec. 2 meeting, Chairman Dennis Murray said.

Several landowners are willing to lease acreage and/or waive setback requirements, said Jon Baker, Gamesa project developer.

Among those landowners is the Altoona City Authority.

If supervisors approve the request, the township will get an estimated $75,000 annually, an amount that's in line with payments collected by other municipalities where wind turbines have been constructed.

Baker and Tim Vought, Gamesa director of development, displayed computer-generated photographs, offering views of what the turbines would look like from Avalon Road locations, from the Altoona Area High School and from Best Buy at Logan Town Centre.

From the high school, 3 miles away, the turbines are visible because they are taller than the trees forming the northern horizon.

Twardon asked about using a smaller turbine, but Vought said that was tried elsewhere and didn't work well because the energy output was substantially decreased.

Twardon also asked about keeping the wind turbines south of Route 36 and extending into Cambria County. Vought said measurements indicate a drop-off in wind. The chosen areas reflect the best locations, Vought said.

Tom Brouse of Avalon Road appealed to the planning commission to forward a rejection to supervisors.

"I don't think this thing should be in a residential area," Brouse said.

Gary Miller added a similar sentiment.

"You folks have done your due diligence in giving them the original [wind zone] area," Miller said.

Others urged the planning commission to consider the potential for noise and environmental issues.

Baker and Vought said Logan Township built measures into its ordinance to address that. Vought also said he removed and relocated two turbines to address a concern about noise voiced by Connie Wilt, a neighboring property owner.

Wilt, who built a house two years ago, asked about impact on property values. Vought said studies show no decrease, but later also acknowledged that in Somerset County, property owners arranged to have the wind turbine company buy their homes because they could not sell them. Vought said that happened before setback and related restrictions were in place.


Source: http://www.altoonamirror.co...

NOV 7 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17792-ill-winds-blow-during-public-turbine-hearing
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