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Frostburg has one-hour wind turbine discussion

Nine people interested in municipal wind turbines spoke from the audience for more than an hour at Thursday's Frostburg mayor and council meeting, most of whom praised an ordinance that, if passed, will permit the power generators. "You have given us a lot of food for thought," Councilman Richard Weimer told those who spoke. "We have our work cut out for us. We have heard a lot of valid concerns here."

FROSTBURG - Nine people interested in municipal wind turbines spoke from the audience for more than an hour at Thursday's Frostburg mayor and council meeting, most of whom praised an ordinance that, if passed, will permit the power generators.

"You have given us a lot of food for thought," Councilman Richard Weimer told those who spoke. "We have our work cut out for us. We have heard a lot of valid concerns here." Weimer chaired the meeting in place of Mayor Arthur Bond, who was absent because of personal reasons.

Andrew Gohn of the Maryland Energy Administration - whose mission is to maximize energy efficiency while promoting economic development, reducing reliance on foreign energy supplies, and improving the environment - encouraged the city to move forward with the ordinance.

Gohn said wind maps being used by the city that show Western Maryland to have only marginal wind turbine capability are out of date. "There is a new map that shows significantly higher (wind speeds)," Gohn said. He added that the city's intent to allow turbines to be placed atop structures is not included in most municipal wind turbine ordinances in Maryland.

Based upon comments, the city may amend the ordinance,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FROSTBURG - Nine people interested in municipal wind turbines spoke from the audience for more than an hour at Thursday's Frostburg mayor and council meeting, most of whom praised an ordinance that, if passed, will permit the power generators.

"You have given us a lot of food for thought," Councilman Richard Weimer told those who spoke. "We have our work cut out for us. We have heard a lot of valid concerns here." Weimer chaired the meeting in place of Mayor Arthur Bond, who was absent because of personal reasons.

Andrew Gohn of the Maryland Energy Administration - whose mission is to maximize energy efficiency while promoting economic development, reducing reliance on foreign energy supplies, and improving the environment - encouraged the city to move forward with the ordinance.

Gohn said wind maps being used by the city that show Western Maryland to have only marginal wind turbine capability are out of date. "There is a new map that shows significantly higher (wind speeds)," Gohn said. He added that the city's intent to allow turbines to be placed atop structures is not included in most municipal wind turbine ordinances in Maryland.

Based upon comments, the city may amend the ordinance, pushing a vote on the matter back to October.

Thus far, wind turbine regulations proposed by the city include:

• Maximum height of 165 feet.

• Maximum noise level of 55 decibels.

• Setback from neighboring properties greater than turbine height, unless agreed to by neighbor.

• Setbacks for guy wires.

• Braking or governing systems to prevent uncontrolled blade rotation.

• Underground placement of electric wiring.

• Prohibition of lights or signs on turbines.

• No limit on kilowatt capacity.

• Requirement that all requests to erect turbines be considered special exceptions and subject to in-depth review by Planning Commission.

Betsy Delozier, owner of Big D Electric, said her company has installed 13 residential wind turbines in the area. She said it is unlikely that towers and turbines of 165 feet will be built, simply because of the cost.

"We install turbines of 33 feet and 45 feet and also available is one of 60 feet," Delozier said. They cost $15,000 to $16,000."

Delozier said a wind of only 8 mph is sufficient to turn turbine blades and produce electricity. She called the ordinance well- written and said she employs five people who have benefited from turbine construction.

Former Mayor John Bambacus, who has long scrutinized the ordinance, asked that the maximum allowable height be reduced and that a maximum kilowatt capacity of 15 be included.

Bambacus said the ordinance process has been good and praised the city for answering all his questions.

"This discussion is not over residential wind power itself, but rather the size, scale and most importantly location of proposed wind turbines," he said. "It is about how much change do we want before the very nature and culture of our mountain community is fundamentally lost."

Other observations:

• Sydney Duncan - Favors the ordinance and doesn't want the city to be closed off to renewable energy. Believes the processes are in place to determine suitability of residential wind turbines on a case-by-case basis.

• Ed Savolskis - Braddock Heights resident who moved back to Frostburg after 40 years and is concerned that high wind turbines could dot the landscape near his house and wonders if noise could be regulated properly.

• Bernard Miltenberger - Believes in personal property rights and for property owners to be able to decide what goes on their parcels. "It's not like you are putting in a pig farm."

• Karen Krough - A member of the Planning Commission, she said the group tried not to make the ordinance so rigid that new technology would be prohibited.

• Andy Duncan - A member of the Historic District Commission, he said he reads nothing in the ordinance that would preclude that commission from evaluating sites and structures, including wind turbines.

City Administrator John Kirby said the hearing was "one of the most civil and neighborly hearings I have ever seen on what has been a controversial topic for many other jurisdictions."


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

AUG 21 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21843-frostburg-has-one-hour-wind-turbine-discussion
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