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Commission agrees to US Wind Force talks

The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea. Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive.

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea.

Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive. Further, if passed as proposed they would “eliminate wind power” from being a viable product in Allegany County.

The county Planning and Zoning Commission recently forwarded its recommendation to the commissioners to approve the measures. On Thursday, the commissioners approved modifying the proposed text amendments to the county zoning code with information gained from a field trip to Somerset County, Pa.

“In 2002, you enacted a reasonable ordinance,” said Matthews, adding that it was passed in the normal way with public discussion.

The passage of that ordinance sparked “a long, expensive” venture for US Wind Force in order to begin laying the framework for the state’s first industrial wind farm. In July 2008, the county approved siting and grading permits for a 25-turbine project atop Dan’s Mountain... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea.

Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive. Further, if passed as proposed they would “eliminate wind power” from being a viable product in Allegany County.

The county Planning and Zoning Commission recently forwarded its recommendation to the commissioners to approve the measures. On Thursday, the commissioners approved modifying the proposed text amendments to the county zoning code with information gained from a field trip to Somerset County, Pa.

“In 2002, you enacted a reasonable ordinance,” said Matthews, adding that it was passed in the normal way with public discussion.

The passage of that ordinance sparked “a long, expensive” venture for US Wind Force in order to begin laying the framework for the state’s first industrial wind farm. In July 2008, the county approved siting and grading permits for a 25-turbine project atop Dan’s Mountain parallel to U.S. Route 220.

But all work came to a screeching halt once the state Public Service Commission came into play. The commission recently granted US Wind Force its certificate of public necessity and convenience for the sub-70-megawatt project. It seemed the project would go through after all.

However, at about the same time, the Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zoning code amendments that would strictly regulate the wind turbines and setback, separation, noise and flicker issues, as well as microwave interference from communications towers. The amendments also would decommission standards and establish a groundwater bond within a 3-mile radius of individual turbines.

The proposed code amendments would “absolutely prohibit us from constructing this project,” Matthews said. “I’m not sure you intend to do that, but that’s what it would do.”

Matthews asked for the commissioners’ audience for one hour. The date of the meeting was not immediately scheduled.

“We are confident that after such a discussion, you will (view) this as a ban” against commercial wind power, Matthews said. “We would welcome public attendance.”

After a quiet and quick conference with the three commissioners and County Attorney Bill Rudd, acting County Administrator David Eberly agreed to schedule such a meeting.

“I’ll be glad to give you an hour,” said Commissioner Dale Lewis.

Said Commissioner Jim Stakem: “We want to make this clear, Mr. Matthews, we commissioners are not opposed to wind power. We will be glad to hear what you have to say.”

County resident Gary Marsh, an outspoken critic of the Dan’s Mountain wind project and who has supported the proposed legislation, asked if the proponents of the bill would be able to speak.

“We will create equal time,” Eberly said.


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

APR 23 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19970-commission-agrees-to-us-wind-force-talks
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