Wind farms may become a reality in Tioga County within the not too distant future, said Tioga County Planner Jim Weaver at a Tioga County commissioners’ meeting Thursday.
According to Weaver, three proposed wind farms in Tioga County are in the process of being developed by AES, headquartered in Arlington, Va., and another one proposed east of Roseville, in Rutland Township, by the energy company Gamesa of Cambria County.
AES plans to locate it on leased property on Armenia Mountain in Sullivan Township, near the Bradford County line in the northeastern part of the county, and Maple Hill in the Cherry Flats area, Weaver said.
The number of turbines proposed is not yet known, but, according to Weaver, AES has the private property leases secured for the projects.
The other one still is in negotiation with property owners, he added.
“They will have to go through the subdivision and land development application process,” Weaver said.
According to Weaver, first there will be a preliminary review which will “take some time,” he said.
Then approval is given for construction, then construction and final review and final approval once construction is complete, Weaver said, which is “standard procedure in land development applications.”
The planning commission meets the second Wednesday of each month and Weaver said at the April 11 planning commission meeting that he expects the adoption of a written policy and guidelines on siting and development of wind energy will be on the agenda.
According to Weaver, it is not a requirement that the adoption be made public beforehand because it is a policy, not an ordinance, according to the municipal planning code.
“We are watching to see how the appeal currently in the court of common pleas turns out,” he said, referring to the proposed project in Lycoming County, the Laurel Ridge wind farm, which was rejected by the township planning commission there.
Rutland Township resident Robert Schwoyer noted that the Department of Environmental Protection had no studies available on the negative effects on the environment of the alternate energy source and were simply “taking as gospel the wind energy company’s claims,” that they were not damaging to the environment.
“Are there any plans for meetings for the general public, since it sounds like it’s already going to happen?” he asked Weaver.
“We are working on the details of this concept and how the information will be disseminated to the public,” he said, “But there will be an opportunity for the public to be kept informed and provide feedback during the review process,” he added.
John Kesich, Millerton, said he had heard online about a new type of wind turbine that uses a vertical axis, rather than a horizontal one, and that “you should be aware and bring this up to the wind energy companies.”
“There is no reason to let them put in old technology when better technology exists,” he said.
A call to AES representative Bob White was not returned as of Thursday’s deadline.
By Cheryl R. Clarke
30 March 2007
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