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Haycock eyes rules for wind turbines

When it comes to wind energy, the opinions of Haycock residents blow in all directions.

Folks here were divided Monday over a proposed local law that would allow the installation of energy-harnessing wind turbines on residential properties.

Some fear the turbines will be towering eyesores whose wind-whipping will create a perpetually annoying noise, disrupting the quiet of the rural Upper Bucks township.

“You could use the term visual pollution,” said Greg Seifert, a farmer who worries the turbines will disrupt his livestock.

Seifert’s neighbor Paul Stepanoff, also a Quakertown school board member, wants to install a turbine on his property, where he already has solar panels.

Stepanoff and others say the turbines are a quiet, unobtrusive source for clean energy that will trim power bills without harming the environment.

“It’s a gray skinny thing that gets lost in the sky,” said resident Julie Fagan.

Proponents encouraged supervisors to increase the proposed allowed height of the turbine from 65 feet to 78 feet, which would allow the choice of more models and the potential for greater power generation.

Supervisors plan to have the proposed ordinance reviewed by the Bucks County Planning Commission before voting to approve it.

They say wind turbine proposals are on the way whether residents like it or not and they are trying to put sound rules in place for governing them.

To install a wind turbine under the proposed ordinance, residents would have to have at least 2 acres and set the device at least 300 feet back from the front property line, among other requirements, said Supervisor Henry DePue.

The usage would be limited to the property so wind power couldn’t be sold to neighbors, officials said.

Art Silveira encouraged supervisors to allow for a township review process that includes input from neighbors before allowing a turbine to go up.

Otherwise, “You could go on vacation, come back and have one of these things next to you,” he said.

By Christopher Ruva

Bucks County Courier Times

phillyburbs.com

11 April 2008