ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP – Property rights, noise and potential negative health problems wind turbines may have upon residents were among some of the concerns township supervisors heard Thursday night.
About 15 residents and property owners attended the township’s public hearing to comment on the township proposed wind energy ordinance.
For several months supervisor’s have been discussing regulating the structures.
The proposed ordinance states the turbine must have a setback of 1.5 times the turbine height from the nearest occupied building. The turbine must also have a setback of five times the hub height from a non-participating property owner.
Folmont property owner Nick Sabo requested supervisors to increase the ordinance setback height from occupied buildings.
“I would like to see if the township ordinance change to a decent distance,” he said. Sabo referenced Shade Township’s wind mill ordinance, which requires wind turbines to have a setback of three times the hub height of the nearest property line of a non-participating property owner.
Township supervisor chairman Miles Costello Jr. said Allegheny township’s ordinance is much stronger than the county’s regulation of wind turbines.
“We worked hard on this issue and have tried to do what we thought would be right,” he said.
Protecting occupied buildings including cabins and recreational homes is a priority of the board. Costello said both structures should have the same rights.
Terry Doran, vice-president of the Folmont Property Association addressed several worries community residents have regarding the installation of wind turbines in the township.
“We feel we are going to be surrounded by wind turbines,” he said.
Folmont Residential Wilderness Community, is located in parts of Shade, Stonycreek and Allegheny townships in Somerset County and Juniata Township in Bedford County.
Somerset County Planning Commission approved the placement of three temporary meteorological towers in Stonycreek and Allegheny Township.
Airtricity Inc, of Connecticut, requested for the towers to be erected to determine if the area is feasible for wind development.
One tower will be placed at on the New Baltimore Sportmens Club property and two towers on Mountain Ridge Trails Resort LLC.
Doran said that the installation of the wind farms will decrease the community’s property value.
“We will see a decrease of 10 to 15 percent in our property value in the first two years of completion of the facilities.” Doran proposed for supervisors to increase the setback to a minimum of 2,500 feet.
He also address the ordinance noise level, impact turbine will have on resident health and the environment.
Supervisors plan to review resident comments and may adopt the ordinance at their Feb. 6 meeting.
By Jennifer Garlesky
Daily American Staff Writer
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