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Townships give Gamesa OK for wind farm phase  

Portage and Washington township officials are giving Gamesa Energy approval to begin work on the second phase of a sprawling Allegheny Ridge wind farm.

But with the first phase all but finished, approval this time, particularly in Washington Township, is coming with new stipulations. One of them is that the company makes sure the mess left behind from last year’s work is cleaned up.

Dust, road damage and a perceived lack of immediate response from Gamesa are at the top of Washington Township’s list of concerns, supervisors told company officials at a Wednesday meeting.

“We just need to respect the people that live up there. They moved up there for a reason,” Supervisor Chairman Ray Guzic Jr. said of about a half-dozen or so Mountain Road homes.

Gamesa used the road to haul supplies and equipment last year and plans to again.

A paved portion of the road was in poor condition when Gamesa began using it a year ago, and the weight of heavy haulers made it crumble in spots.

Gamesa poured new blacktop over the road after township officials voiced concerns. Supervisors say that portion of the road is in better shape than it was before the work, and Gamesa’s project developer, Terry Nicol, believes its condition will lessen future problems.

But supervisors say problems with an unpaved portion need to be addressed.

Broken drainage pipes need to be repaired before Gamesa can begin using the road again, and the board wants assurance dust won’t be a major issue. Supervisors asked Gamesa to have a water truck at the site.

“[Construction crews] will be here for three months, and you won’t see them again for 30 years,” Nicol said. “Gamesa responds to concerns and addresses them.”

“We’ll make sure the subcontractor knows dust is a major priority and that it needs to be addressed,” said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa’s Atlantic region development director.

Portage Township residents also mentioned mud and dust as a problem. Supervisors brought it to Gamesa’s attention and were told it would be addressed.

Washington will get four more turbines, for a total of 14. It will mean $42,000 annually in lieu of taxes from wind farm owners.

Portage Township will get nine more windmills, bringing its total to 23. That’s nearly $70,000 annually.

By David Hurst

altoonamirror.com

23 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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