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Planning Board gets earful from public on wind turbine regulations

The future of Baltimore County's zoning regulations for wind turbines remains up in the air after the county's Planning Board heard differing opinions on just about every aspect of proposed regulations from 30 speakers at a Jan. 7 public meeting.

About 30 speakers, with as many opinions, weighed in on proposed regulations

The future of Baltimore County's zoning regulations for wind turbines remains up in the air after the county's Planning Board heard differing opinions on just about every aspect of proposed regulations from 30 speakers at a Jan. 7 public meeting.

A dozen speakers urged the board to expand regulations to allow wind turbines on commercial and agricultural properties, not just on residential properties as the regulations are currently written.

"The county should facilitate, rather than impede, opportunities for citizens to utilize renewable energy," said Chris Yoder, chairman of the Greater Baltimore Group of the Sierra Club. "The county should increase, not constrain, its citizens' options for independence from utility-furnished fossil fuel generated power."

Douglas Harbit, a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Parkton, said his church is considering all options for changing over to renewable resources, including a wind turbine, on its 4.5-acre property.
"Your regulations would not let us do what we want," he told the board.

Draft legislation allows one 60-foot wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

About 30 speakers, with as many opinions, weighed in on proposed regulations

The future of Baltimore County's zoning regulations for wind turbines remains up in the air after the county's Planning Board heard differing opinions on just about every aspect of proposed regulations from 30 speakers at a Jan. 7 public meeting.

A dozen speakers urged the board to expand regulations to allow wind turbines on commercial and agricultural properties, not just on residential properties as the regulations are currently written.

"The county should facilitate, rather than impede, opportunities for citizens to utilize renewable energy," said Chris Yoder, chairman of the Greater Baltimore Group of the Sierra Club. "The county should increase, not constrain, its citizens' options for independence from utility-furnished fossil fuel generated power."

Douglas Harbit, a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Parkton, said his church is considering all options for changing over to renewable resources, including a wind turbine, on its 4.5-acre property.
"Your regulations would not let us do what we want," he told the board.

Draft legislation allows one 60-foot wind turbine by right on a minimum 1-acre residential lot. Special exceptions could be granted, however, with no limits on maximum wind turbine height, minimum lot size or number of turbines allowed on a property.

Ruth Goldstein, president of the Greater Midfield Association in Pikesville and a member of a citizen group called Team Smart, or Support More Alternative Renewable Technology, asked that all wind turbines to be subject to special exception hearings.

Team Smart, along with the Greater Kingsville Civic Association and the Sparks Glencoe Community Planning Council, requested the minimum acreage be increased from 1 to 3 acres.

But many speakers, including Andrew Marani of Back River Neck, argued the need for wind turbines on small lots.

"I have a small property, a third of an acre, in an excellent wind zone," he told the board, noting that he'd install a roof-mounted wind turbine on his future house if regulations would change.

Team Smart member Noel Levy asked the board to conduct a wind study in the county and George Harman, president of the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Coordinating Council said the proposed sound level maximum of 55 decibels was established for urban areas and would be inappropriate in rural areas.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's Web site, 50 decibels is the sound of a moderate rainfall and 60 is a dishwasher.

Team Smart submitted a report to the board that included a copy of a wind resource map compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy listing most of Baltimore County's wind classification as poor.

"Baltimore County should emulate programs already established by other Maryland counties and provide incentives for solar and geothermal energy, large-scale energy co-ops, and energy conservation
techniques instead of focusing narrowly on wind energy alone," the Team Smart report concluded.

The Planning Board's wind turbine committee began forming regulations last year after Monkton resident Barry Antonelli received county permission to install a 120-foot wind turbine at a house under construction in Phoenix. Since there are no wind turbine regulations, it was approved as an accessory structure. But neighbors appealed, and now Antonelli must wait for passage on regulations before he installs his wind turbine.

The Planning Board will eventually forward a final draft of legislation to the County Council, which will also hold public hearings before voting wind turbine regulations into law.


Source: http://www.explorebaltimore...

JAN 8 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24031-planning-board-gets-earful-from-public-on-wind-turbine-regulations
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