Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Pennsylvania
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.
An ordinance of the township of West Providence, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, concerning and regulating the placement, construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of wind turbine generators, the issuance of land use permits in connection therewith, and prescribing penalties for violations hereof. Section 12.1 of the ordinance pertaining to setbacks is included below (2,000 feet from a property line; 2,500 feet from all structures). The full text can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
The Planning Commission continues work on a zoning revision that addresses new land use issues that have arisen since the borough implemented major changes 20 years ago. Commission Vice Chairman Marc Gaughan said after the group's monthly meeting Monday that while commercial and residential zoned borders will change little, the commission is revisiting the existing plan line-by-line and issue-by-issue, such as a recent need to address outdoor wood-burning units, wind turbine technology and structural setbacks. ...
Discussions of changes in the county's Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance continued during Thursday's meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners, with the board delaying action to gather additional information on regulating the controversial wind turbines. Herb Miller, of the citizens' group Save God's County, suggested that the board question what results energy company AES had gathered from wind studies in northern Potter County. He added that research his organization had conducted on the Internet showed northcentral Pennsylvania's wind strength measured at Category 2, with the highest levels in the Midwest at a Category 7.
A jet circling overhead, a neighbor's thumping bass or a train's brakes squealing as it rounds a curve. These are scenarios Todd Stull and Clair Chappell use to describe how the noise of spinning wind turbines have shattered their once idyllic life in the mountains. "We cannot escape the noise," Stull said. "This issue cannot be trivialized. It's nothing short of a pollution problem." Stull and Chappell, who live next to the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm in Blue Knob, warned borough residents not to chose a similar fate during a public forum Wednesday in Tyrone. ..."This project swooped in, and we didn't have the foresight to see it coming," Chappell said. "Tyrone needs to do their homework and find out if it's the right thing to do ... and keep in mind that you don't have to do it today."
A Noxen resident challenged members of the Wyoming County Planning Commission last week to address what he called a "potentially catastrophic" situation with a possibility of wind turbines being built in the southern part of Wyoming County. "It feels like no one is watching out for the big picture of the county," Doug Ayers said. "I would hope there is some leadership in the room to write editorials or do whatever you can." ..."They are talking about stripping down the mountains and putting an industrial site up there with 100 windmills"
After months of public comment and deliberation, the Potter County Planning Commission has turned over the issue of wind farms to the County Commissioners - but not until it passed recommendations that would effectively prohibit the turbines in several locations. In a session that lasted nearly five hours last Tuesday, planning commission members adopted recommendations for changes to the county's Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) concerning setbacks, noise, shadow flicker, liability and decommissioning of industrial wind turbines.
The wind turbine issue is now out of the Potter County Planning Commissions' hands and into the hands of the county's board of commissioners. The commission passed the amendments to the Subdivision And Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) pieceby piece Tuesday night during a 4-hour meeting, in which only a few residents voiced their opinions, most of which were more for regulatory purposes than bashing the turbines altogether. ...The SALDO will now go in front of the board of commissioners for consideration and approval.
Due to the consensus of Tyrone Borough council last evening, at the April 22 primary voting booths, borough residents who are registered to vote may check mark an informal survey about his or her thoughts on a proposed Gamesa Energy USA 10 to 15 turbine wind farm on the borough's watershed property on Ice Mountain. The survey decision comes in the midst of Gamesa increasing payout figures in its proposed 30-year lease agreement with the borough, due to wind resource information gathered from an Ice Mountain meteorological test tower. ...The results of the survey cannot be binding upon borough council due to Home Rule Charter, but council feels the informal survey will provide a fair and impartial assessment of the opinion of borough residents on the proposed wind farm project.
The township had nothing on the books regulating wind turbines, no ordinance to dictate everything from where it will be placed, to the height and size of the structure to the color. Godown's quandary draws attention to an issue that's not just facing Franklin: despite a growing interest in alternative energy, many municipalities have no law on the books addressing wind power, an energy source that dates back to some of the earliest civilizations. Last year, nearly 8,000 small wind turbines were sold in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Half were for residential use. In 2006, around 6,800 units were sold.
Members of the Potter County Planning Commission will try once again Tuesday night to reach a consensus on regulating the wind energy industry. Meanwhile, several townships around the county are moving forward on their own. Planners will meet at 6 pm at the County Extension Office, along Rt. 872 south of Coudersport, to consider an ordinance limiting wind turbine construction. Meanwhile, the prospects of massive turbines being built in at least one Potter County municipality improved last month when the Homer Township Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance regulating the structures.
A controversial proposal to build 30 wind turbines in an ecologically sensitive watershed containing a wilderness trout stream on Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County has been judged deficient by the state. A Feb. 22 letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection identifies more than two dozen deficiencies and concerns in the wind turbine permit application of Gamesa Energy USA, a Spanish wind power developer and turbine manufacturer. It requests additional information. ..."This is an untouched area with a cluster of environmentally sensitive issues," Mr. Buchan said. "We hope to get Gamesa to see the light. If not, we'll fight it for as long as it takes."
An Oregon-based company is weighing its options after a decision by Fayette County's zoning hearing board earlier this week to deny a request for a special exception to construct 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill. ...Board members unanimously denied that request, board Chairman Jim Killinger said Friday, after doing their own research and hearing from numerous county residents opposed to the proposal. PPM has 30 days to file an appeal with the county Court of Common Pleas, Killinger said.
The Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board has unanimously denied a special exception request that would have allowed the construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships. Calling the decision the "hardest the board has had to make," board Chairman Jim Killinger issued a statement saying the choice to deny the special exception was made in the interest of Fayette County - its residents and for those who visit - while acknowledging the board cannot make everyone happy with its ruling.
An opponent of a proposed wind farm in Taylor and neighboring Snyder townships told the Centre County Planning Commission on Tuesday night about the harm he thinks the project would cause and urged members to consider ordinances to protect municipalities. Stan Kotala, president of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, said wind farms have a "severe impact" on wildlife in Pennsylvania because of where they're being built. He said that wasn't his opinion, but is what the Pennsylvania Biological Survey has found. Kotala said people should ask themselves: "Are you willing to give up your ridgetops?
Vermont-based Laurel Hill Energy LLC has taken a step forward in its plans to build a commercial electricity-generating wind farm on a ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships in northern Lycoming County. As expected, the company has submitted a new zoning permit application for the facility, according to county zoning administrator Fred G. Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer said he has 30 days to determine if the application is complete. After the application is completed, he has 75 days to decide if it conforms to the county zoning ordinance, he said. The application is not open to public review during the initial 30-day review period, he said.
The wind turbine project planned for Armenia Mountain is moving ahead in Bradford County while the portion of it in Tioga County, Pa. has been appealed. During the last Armenia Township supervisors' meeting, the supervisors reviewed a letter from Bradford County giving "conditional preliminary approval" to AES Armenia Mountain Wind, LLC, which is the company building the wind farm. The approval was given last year, and now the company is meeting, or "clearing," the various conditions, Robert J. White, the vice president of AES Armenia Mountain Wind, LLC, said.
The Tioga County Planning Commission is taking a second look at ways to deal with problems that could come along with a giant wind turbine project that it already granted "conditional preliminary approval," Tioga County planner Jim Weaver said in a phone interview Thursday. Wind energy company AES has filed an application with the commission to construct more than 120 wind turbines on Armenia Mountain. However, in January, a citizens group filed litigation in Tioga County court, appealing the commission's action at its Dec. 12 meeting. The group claims the project is not in compliance with a county land development and subdivision ordinance and that the commission "acted capriciously, abused its discretion and committed errors of law" in several manners. ...Weaver said the commission is looking at implementing some kind of "problem resolution."
The winds of change soon may be blowing in Lycoming County. Vermont-based Laurel Hill Wind Energy LLC plans to submit an application to the county to build a commercial electricity-generating wind farm on the Laurel Hill Ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships. The application will be submitted within days to county zoning administrator to Fred G. Pfeiffer, Robert Charlebois, managing director of parent company Catamount Energy Corp. of Rutland, Vt., said Wednesday. The company proposed the project about four years ago.