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Deal reached in wind turbine dispute  

Two Fayette County property owners who opposed a windmill project have reached a tentative agreement with the developer that will ensure the turbines are built at least 6,000 feet away from their homes.

Eric Williams of Skyline Drive in Wharton said Thursday that he and another property owner, Larry Williams, expect to finalize the tentative deal with PPM Atlantic Renewable Energy Corp. by next week. Sam Enfield of PPM confirmed yesterday that a verbal agreement has been reached.

The two property owners, who are not related, were seeking to intervene in a lawsuit brought by PPM.

PPM wants a county judge to reverse the Fayette Zoning Hearing Board’s March 11 rejection of its request for a special exception for 24 wind turbines.

The 24 windmills were among 27 that were to be installed over a 3.5-mile section of Chestnut Ridge in Wharton, Georges and Springhill townships. They would produce electricity for PPM’s South Chestnut Ridge Windpower Project.

Eric Williams yesterday said that as a result of the tentative agreement with PPM, he and Larry Williams no longer need to intervene in the case. The agreement, he said, calls for PPM not to locate any of the turbines within approximately 6,000 feet of nine homes on Skyline Drive.

Without the agreement, Eric Williams said, one turbine would have been built within 3,000 feet of the homes. Eric Williams said by doubling the distance, he is satisfied the project won’t devalue homes or create noise problems.

A third property owner who had sought to intervene, Thomas J. Bozek, was granted permission to do so after a hearing yesterday before Judge Ralph Warman.

Bozek’s home is located just under 2,000 feet from one of the proposed wind turbines, said his attorney, Gary Altman. Altman said Bozek is primarily concerned about noise.

PPM’s attorney, Dan Rullo, argued against allowing Bozek to intervene. He told Warman there has been no testimony in previous hearings to indicate that the noise generated by the turbine would exceed permissible levels.

“There is nothing in the record before you to suggest it’s anything more than speculation,” Rullo said.

In granting Bozek permission to intervene, Warman cited three unrelated cases, all heard by higher courts, that found in favor of property owners in similar situations.

By Liz Zemba

Tribune Review

20 June 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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