A group of Snake Spring Township residents will hash out details of a proposed wind turbine ordinance one more time before supervisors advertise a draft version for public comment.
The township likely will be the second in Bedford County to adopt such an ordinance, which tackles issues such as noise, shadow flicker and proximity to residences.
Residents clashed Wednesday night over the turbines, which could be coming to Tussey Mountain and other county ridge tops during the next few years.
Some residents maintain that they should be able to do whatever they want with their properties, while others say turbines will hurt the environment instead of helping it.
Supervisors Chairman Charles Nycum told residents at the monthly township meeting that officials have to examine both sides.
“In the end, we’re only on earth for a very short period of time, and we have to be good stewards,” Beth Anderson, one resident opposed to wind turbines, told supervisors.
Not only will turbines spoil the view in the rural township, she and others say, but they’ll harm birds that migrate over Tussey Mountain.
Laura Jackson, a West Providence Township resident who lives on the other side of Tussey Mountain, named the golden eagle as an example.
“Please consider a setback from Tussey Mountain,” said Jackson, of the nonprofit group Save Our Allegheny Ridges. “These are important ecological areas that we can protect.”
One resident who refused to give his name after the meeting, said statistics show that cars kill more birds and other creatures than turbines.
That’s not true for golden eagles, said Jackson, who said research also shows the rare birds can’t detect turbines’ whirring blades when flying around them.
Turbines only will make a small dent in the energy crisis, she said. People need to conserve.
“What environmental damage are we doing to get nothing?” Jackson asked. “If wind were effective and efficient, I would sign on the dotted line.”
The ordinance that’s on the table suggests that wind turbines be set back from public structures and nonparticipating residences by at least 2,500 feet.
If a property owner signs a waiver, the setback distance will be no less than 1.1 times the total height of the wind turbine generator.
Turbines should be set back from property lines by no less than 1.1 times the height of the generator, the proposed ordinance reads.
Those opposed to the turbines say that’s too close.
“There is the opportunity for waivers,” Anderson said. “It’s respecting your neighbor.”
By Allison Bourg
22 March 2007
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