QUEMAHONING TOWNSHIP – Supervisors are planning a public meeting in order to find out whether residents are in favor of an ordinance regulate wind turbines.
Supervisors agreed with solicitor Steve Miller’s assessment that enacting an ordinance would be a costly step for the township when they aren’t even sure if the public feels they’re necessary.
The township relies on county codes for the placement of turbines and those deal primarily with setback issues, limiting the distance that a turbine may be placed near an occupied dwelling.
Miller said the cost to the township would be significant, requiring anywhere between 20 to 40 hours of billable work to create an ordinance for the township.
During township meetings in recent months several residents spoke in favor of enacting an ordinance, but often had a member of the crowd dispute the statements immediately afterward.
“It’s hard to tell what people think,” supervisor Samuel Donia said.
In the last year, a number of townships in the county have enacted their own turbine ordinances as local residents have become increasingly concerned about the proposed placement of some of the wind farms.
In December, Shade Township supervisors approved a resolution that enacted setback limits for non-participating property owners and included a noise component.
Turbines may not placed in Shade Township closer than 2,500 feet to another property unless there is specific permission granted under their ordinance. Additionally, the turbines cannot generate noise at a higher volume than 45 decibels measured 5,000 feet from the turbine base.
Allegheny Township’s ordinance deals with setback issues as well, protecting unoccupied buildings from nearby turbine placement, many of which are seasonal cabins used for recreation.
The Quemahoning meeting will likely feature groups arguing both for and against the farms, Donia said. Local wind manufacturers could be invited as well, Donia said.
In other business, township officials reported that an agreement will be in place shortly with the owners of a local race track that local residents complained about during the April township meeting.
Miller said the owners of a dirt track located near the intersection of state routes 281 and 30 have agreed to limit the hours of operations of the business rather than face a township ordinance designed to do the same.
Under the agreement, which is expected sometime next week, the business will not operate past 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. During the rest of the week, the track will not be open past 9:30 p.m., Miller said.
By Dan DiPaolo
Daily American 30 North Chief
15 May 2007
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