Shade Township’s public discussion of a proposed windmill ordinance Thursday wasn’t supposed to be a rehash of the pros and cons of wind energy.
So much for that.
With so much at stake ““ millions of dollars, ridges and watersheds ““ and so much conflicting information available on wind power, residents and a few associated with wind power development made their positions clear.
Sneers and jeers were part of the process.
Turbine opponents cackled, for instance, when a township resident presented a study that windmills could improve property values. And a windmill proponent whispered demeaning comments under his breath at pleading property owners.
A Somerset man involved in windmill development argued that turbines create jobs, including four permanent ones from the 34 turbines erected so far.
And, he said the township’s draft ordinance takes away small landowners’ chances at getting in on wind development.
The draft ordinance differs from the county ordinance in its setback regulations, details of which are at the township office.
Pete Weaver stood to claim that his rights as a property owner will be violated with churning turbines nearby.
“I bought acreage for my retirement home, and I thought my dream had come true,” he said. “Now, I see it’s going to be devastated. It’s callous disregard.”
Gamesa project developer Tim Vought urged supervisors to look at more lenient models and said no turbines have been erected since the county imposed an ordinance, the first of its kind. He confirmed Gamesa is planning up to 30 turbines on township ridges.
The township is accepting written comments until 3 p.m. Nov. 3.
BY Kecia Bal
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