Those looking to harness wind in the borough will likely soon be facing new regulations.
Borough Council will hold a public hearing about changes to the zoning ordinance regarding the future locations of wind farms and windmills and their development. The hearing will be Monday at 5:45 p.m. in the Borough Building. After the hearing, Borough Council will vote on the amendment at its regular 6 p.m. meeting.
The issue has significance in the borough because the Valley Community Library board had considered erecting a wind turbine to lessen its electricity costs. In lieu of property taxes, Blakely borough buys electricity wholesale and sells it to residents and other customers, including the library.
Borough Manager Thomas Wascura said amendments will provide clarity to those interested in windmills, like the library.
“Before there wasn’t anything concrete because the windmills were new,” he said.
The amendment mostly restricts windmills to S-2 conservation zones, which in the borough, are on the mountain above the Scranton-Carbondale Highway, Mr. Wascura said. Although special exceptions could be granted in the valley, applicants would run into height restrictions and residential requirements, he said.
Included in the ordinance:
¦ Wind farms shall be permitted only as conditional uses in S-2 zones.
¦ A windmill accessory used to generate electricity primarily for a structure shall be permitted in all zones as a special exception on parcels one acre or larger.
¦ The minimum height between any windmill blade and the ground shall not be less than 30 feet.
¦ Wind turbines shall be set back from the nearest occupied building a distance not less than the required setback for the zone, or 1.1 times the turbine height, whichever is greater.
By Elizabeth Piet
14 August 2007
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