HOLLIDAYSBURG – Juniata Township supervisors are ready to buy a pair of noise meters at the request of three residents disturbed by wind turbines near their properties.
The township’s ordinance specifies that the noise created by the turbines cannot exceed 45 decibles, a level that has been compared to the hum of a refrigerator.
The noise has been a lot louder, residents Todd and Jill Stull told supervisors. Neighbor Clair Chappell agreed.
“It bothered us all summer,” Jill Stull said. “You can hear it inside my house, even with my windows and doors closed.”
The Stulls, who asked supervisors in March for help, said they documented dates and times when the turbines were noisy and offered that information to representatives of the company managing the wind farm.
With no action, they returned Monday night and appealed to supervisors for help.
Supervisors David Kane and David Rimbeck said they have been on the Stull property and on neighboring properties and have yet to hear any disturbing noise.
“This has to be a special case in your hollow,” Kane said.
“No, it’s happening in [Clair Chappell’s] hollow, too,” Todd Stull said.
Gerald Young, 85, who lives next to Chappell, told supervisors he has heard wind turbines.
“I have a 74 percent hearing loss in one ear and a 75 percent hearing loss in the other ear,” Young said. “If I can hear them, somebody else has got to be hearing them.”
Kane suggested asking Babcock & Brown, the company managing the wind turbine farm stretching over the Blair and Cambria borders, to set up a noise meter.
Solicitor Michael Routch advised against that and suggested the township acquire its own.
“It’s not a belief issue,” Routch said, “It’s a proof issue.”
His suggestion led into a debate over who should buy the noise meters, with supervisors voting to spend up to $1,200 for a pair of meters.
Todd Stull told supervisors the purchase is their responsibility so they can enforce the ordinance adopted last year.
Rimbeck said he could agree with the purchase, considering that the township receives $75,000 annually in wind turbine revenue.
“We’re going to buy the meters and see what it says,” Kane said.
By Kay Stephens
2 October 2007
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