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Planning group's recommendations prove impossible  

Recommendations made by the Garrett County Planning Commission are not possible, according to the Garrett County commissioners, who say they will not pursue a moratorium on wind turbine development or legislation to provide regulation of the industry.

“A moratorium would (have to) be on all building construction, not just wind power,” Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator, said. “They have to regulate everything. What the planning commission tried to suggest through some kind of legislation just can’t be done outside of countywide zoning.”

The commissioners sent out a statement saying that they looked into both suggestions made by the planning commission Wednesday, and that they were advised by legal counsel that neither the moratorium nor the legislation on wind turbine projects in the county would be possible.

Under the current county regulations, the moratorium would restrict all construction in the county and could not be targeted specifically at wind power, they said.

According to the statement released by the commissioners, under provisions of Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the county must adopt and implement zoning regulations. Currently, the only portion of Garrett County with enforced zoning is that of the Deep Creek Lake watershed.

At this time, the county has not adopted any comprehensive land-use regulations.

“With no zoning, legislation doesn’t come in,” Denny Glotfelty, commission chairman, said. “There is nothing to follow through with anything on legislation. Without countywide zoning, that stuff’s not possible.”

Glotfelty said that if the people of the county decide to voice their opinions in favor of countywide zoning, he would support it, but at this point, it is the only option available to the commissioners.

He added that up to this point, the county commissioners had shown support for wind power in Garrett County, but that he viewed it as a matter of not having anything to enforce opposition to the turbines. He said that he felt it was best to support wind power as the county has “no control” over the placement of turbines in the county.

Pagenhardt added that at this point, the current board of commissioners has endorsed the two projects planned for the county on Backbone Mountain on private land.

The commissioners took a stance opposed to wind turbines on public land Tuesday, however, stating that such a use would be a waste of the state forest land.

By Sarah Moses

Cumberland Times-News

8 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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