Logan Township should adopt tighter rules governing wind turbines, the township Planning Commission agreed Tuesday.
“I feel this is more restrictive, which is good,” commission member David Rhoa said.
The township recently advertised revisions to its ordinance governing turbine construction and placement, with action scheduled for the May 8 supervisors meeting.
If the revisions are approved, turbine developers will be required to commission an environmental impact study identifying noise and other issues that could surface for nearby property owners. The changes also specify that turbines can be no taller than 270 feet.
Representatives for Gamesa Energy USA, which has shown interest in building turbines on Altoona City Authority land in the township, have not commented on the proposed revisions.
A representative at a recent township meeting said comments may be offered during a public hearing at the May 8 meeting. The company has invited township officials to tour the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm next week.
Supervisor Ed Frontino, who attended the planning commission’s meeting, said the ordinance changes were suggested in response to issues that have cropped up after turbine construction.
Since last year, some Juniata Township residents have complained about noise from the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm.
Supervisors there have hired a noise consultant to determine if the level exceeds ordinance limits. If it does, the township can tell the company to reduce the noise or face fines and a possible shutdown.
The revisions to Logan’s ordinance are an attempt to head off this type of scenario.
“We’re trying to learn from other areas,” Frontino said.
Planning Commission Chairman Dennis Murray said while the revisions require a pre-construction environmental study, there is no requirement for post-construction assessment.
To date, Logan Township has not received plans for a wind farm inside its borders.
Under its zoning ordinance, the township designated Chestnut Flats, a former strip mine, for turbine construction.
By Kay Stephens
23 April 2008
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