Township officials being asked to give developers go ahead
Developers seeking to place giant turbines on the hillsides near Coudersport Borough have been lobbying the townships to give them the green light.
Supervisors in the townships of Eulalia, Homer and Hebron have been approached to pass ordinances that critics consider too accommodating to the wind industry.
“The people who live in these townships may not realize what they are getting into,” said Art Kear, a member of Save God’s Country (SGC). “These turbines are not part of the landscape – they ARE the landscape.”
Kear and other SGC members have been lobbying the Potter County Planning Commission to adopt an ordinance requiring wind developers to meet strict guidelines in building their turbines, which could stretch more than 400 feet high.
Even if the county were to impose tough restrictions, townships could trump those provisions by passing more lenient regulations.
SGC has been pushing for a lengthy setback requirement from adjacent property, so that neighbors would be less affected by noise and other negative effects of commercial wind plants.
Wind interests have been striking deals with owners of high-altitude land around Potter County to lease property on which to build the turbines. Among areas being targeted are the Dutch Hill/Inez area in Homer and Eulalia Townships, as well as the Crandall Hill/Hebron area in Hebron Township.
These developments come on the heels of a plan revealed last year by international energy giant AES Corporation to place upwards of 80 turbines on farmland in the Ulysses area for electricity generation.
Planning Commission members have been debating wind energy regulations for more than a year. Last Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting was cancelled due to slippery roads. The organization isn’t scheduled to meet again until March 11.
Any restrictions approved by the board will be referred to the Potter County Commissioners for consideration.
Meanwhile, in Cameron County, two property owners have followed the developments in Potter County and are trying to attract the interest of wind developers so they will consider their properties for turbines.
Reportedly, property owners stand to make as much as $500 per year per turbine, plus commission based on the amount of electricity the turbines generate.
A minimum of five acres is necessary for one turbine. It is clear cut and a foundation of some 30 feet is dug and poured to support the structure.
16 February 2008
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