COVINGTON TWP. – A wind turbine proposed for research will have to get clearance from the Board of Supervisors.
The Zoning Hearing Board on Thursday unanimously rejected Lackawanna College Environmental Institute’s variance application to erect a lone, 100-foot wind turbine on college-owned property on McKenzie Road.
Board officials said at a public hearing that the turbine falls under the definition of a windmill, and according to a 2005 windmill ordinance, they are allowed only in a special conservation or M-1 manufacturing zones. The McKenzie Road property is designated a residential zone.
“It was what we expected because it’s an RR zone, and we didn’t realize what each of the zoning classifications mean,” Environmental Institute Director Joyce Hatala said. “It’s still good to come out in the public and get people’s ideas, see what they think.”
Chairman Bob Howells said college officials will have to ask the Board of Supervisors for a zoning change to the property itself or an amendment to the windmill ordinance to allow it in the current zone.
Lackawanna College officials plan to build a small, environmental research center on the 211-acre property. The wind turbine would provide electricity to the center as well as serve as a study tool for the college’s sustainability programs. It would not be used for commercial electricity generation.
The school received a $58,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant for the turbine’s purchase and installation.
Ms. Hatala said college officials intend to present their case to board supervisors; the hearing board’s rejection does not jeopardize the research center’s overall project.
Some residents at the hearing said they were concerned about a turbine’s height and noise.
“We’ll have a 100-foot tower, and I don’t know how much noise it will make,” said Jackie Carling, who owns property opposite the proposed center site on McKenzie Road.
By Jessica Durkin
1 February 2008
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