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Windmill ordinance to be advertised

ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP – At Monday night’s meeting, supervisors voted to advertise the township’s ordinance regulating the placement of wind turbines.

For the past several months, supervisors have discussed establishing a stronger regulation of wind energy facilities in the township.

Supervisor Miles K. Costello said it is in the best interest of the township to regulate wind turbines for public safety.

“We need to protect property owners and residents,” he said.

The township’s proposed ordinance states a turbine must have a setback of one-and-a-half times the turbine height from the nearest occupied building. Costello said the setback distance will provide protection to residents if a mechanical error occurs.

“It that thing (blade) would fall, chances of it reaching a building would be less likely,” Costello said.

At a public hearing on Jan. 4, supervisors heard concerns from residents and property owners about the setback distances.

The township ordinance requires a setback of five times the turbine height between the windmill and the home or business of a non-participating property owner. A non-participating property owner is someone who has not given the developer permission to build a tower within the setback distance.

The township setback requirements are more stringent than the county’s wind energy ordinance because of the measurements used to establish the figure. The county ordinance states the turbine must have a setback of five times the hub height, not the total height of the windmill.

Costello said the proposed setback is a fair distance for residents who oppose the structures.

“You have to look at both sides,” Costello said. “We tried hard to please everybody.”

The ordinance also provides protection to recreational homes and cabins throughout the township. The county’s ordinance provides protection for occupied residences or commercial structures.

“We have a lot of cabins right here,” he said.

Recreational homes that are registered with the county’s tax rolls will be considered an occupied building and be protected by the ordinance, Costello said.

However, the ordinance will exempt travel trailers that are connected to a car, he explained. But a house trailer will be considered a recreational home, he said.

Supervisors plan to adopt the ordinance at a special meeting on Feb. 19. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Shade Township supervisors approved a wind energy ordinance in December. Shade’s ordinance requires a wind turbine to have a setback of three times the hub height of the nearest property line of a non-participating property owner.

By Jennifer Garlesky
Daily American Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 6, 2007 11:07 PM EST

(Jennifer Garlesky can be reached at jenniferg@dailyamerican.com.)