The Lackawanna City Council on Tuesday approved revisions to its windmill ordinance that will affect where the wind turbines may be erected along the former Bethlehem Steel site, define lot sizes on the site and allow developers to post unobtrusive signage on the property.
The request to approve the revisions came from the city’s Law Department, which City Attorney Arc J. Petricca said may not be the last revisions to the ordinance.
“This is a very unique project, something that our code enforcement people aren’t trained to properly undertake . . . [and] requires them to consult with others . . ., ” Petricca explained after the meeting.
After consulting with experts, Petricca added, it was decided that the ordinance needed to be tweaked.
The developers, Clipper Windpower, first broke ground in 2005 on the $40 million wind-energy project, erecting eight turbines along the lakeshore in Phase I of the project after agreeing to pay the city $100,000 annually over the next 15 years.
Petricca said the first ordinance affecting the project that was approved by the City Council allowed Clipper Windpower to install the windmills within 2,000 feet of Lake Erie, which is the westerly lot line of the city. That area is too close to Route 5, he said.
“In the event that something happens to the blade of something like that, it’s too close to the traffic that’s going by on Hamburg Turnpike,” said Petricca.
“This revision allows them to put them no closer than 2,000 feet from the westerly line of Hamburg Turnpike,” he added.
Petricca said many of the other changes were mostly technical, pertaining to the engineering of the project and defining lot sizes within the Bethlehem Redevelopment Area. The revised ordinance also addresses any potential for noise generated by the windmills.
The updated ordinance also includes provisions regarding restoration of the site in the event that the project is abandoned or shut down for any reason. It also allows Clipper Windpower to erect a sign identifying the project and its developer.
First Ward Councilwoman Andrea Haxton abstained from voting on the revisions because she said lawmakers received them only hours before Tuesday’s meeting and were not given enough time to review them.
By Harold McNeil
News Staff Reporter
20 February 2008
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