September 7, 2006

Windmill ordinance adopted in Ridgebury

By: Eric Hrin

RIDGEBURY TOWNSHIP – Township supervisors adopted a windmill ordinance Wednesday and took questions from residents regarding the regulations.

The purpose of the ordinance, called a wind energy facility ordinance, is to provide “for the construction and operation of wind energy facilities in Ridgebury Township, subject to reasonable conditions that will protect the public health, safety and welfare,” according to a copy of the ordinance.

Supervisors Ken Cooke, the vice-chairman, and Larry Ostrander voted for the ordinance. Supervisor chairman Gary Wood was absent.

It requires a permit be obtained, noting that “no wind energy facility, or addition of a wind turbine to an existing wind energy facility, shall be constructed or located within Ridgebury Township unless a permit has been issued to the facility owner or operator approving the construction of the facility under this ordinance.”

“Why would you want people to get a permit for a windmill?” one resident asked.

“Just so that you’re aware that there is an ordinance and there are issues with it, you know, that you don’t want to offend your neighbors,” Cooke said.

“What’s the issues?” asked the resident.

“Falling on a neighbor’s house … noise,” Cooke answered. “There’s another one called flutter … the sun shining through the blades causes flutter in a neighbor’s living room.”

He was referring to a stipulation in the ordinance regulating noise and shadow flicker, which says that audible sound cannot exceed a certain level and another calling for owners to make “reasonable efforts to minimize shadow flicker to any occupied building” on a neighbor’s property.

“We don’t want to discourage it in this township; we want to encourage it. That’s why this thing is so user-friendly,” Cooke said.
He said there are rules for the health and safety of the residents, including neighbors of windmill owners.

“There’s a lot of things in there to protect the neighbors and health and safety of the general public,” he said.

He was referring to a stipulation that requires that all access doors to wind turbines and electrical equipment be locked or fenced to prevent an unauthorized person from entering.

It also establishes various setback regulations.

Last month, supervisors voted to advertise the ordinance.

In other business, supervisors agreed to readvertise for bids for its York Rake, which it is trying to sell.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; e-mail:

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