North Union Township may join other regional municipalities that have created or are creating wind turbine ordinances.
At a supervisors’ meeting this week, North Union Township Supervisor Gary Croll said a group from St. Francis University, Loretto, is interested in testing wind capacity with a meteorological tower in North Union. That group is investigating the potential for a commercial wind farm.
He said there is also a resident who may want to erect a personal turbine to cut his electric costs. No applications have been made to North Union for either project and Supervisor Dianne Thompson said she hasn’t received any feedback from residents for or against wind turbines in the township.
However, supervisors say that because there is a potential for wind turbines in the township, they should establish guidelines now.
The supervisors asked township solicitor Paul Domalakes to review turbine information further.
Croll said he didn’t want to discourage alternative energy but he doesn’t want it to harm residents’ quality of life either.
The land being looked at for the commercial wind farm is owned by Blaschak Coal Co., and made up of woods and stripping pits, Croll said. It is south of The Cove on Green Mountain, which is a private development.
The commercial and residential prospect of wind turbines presents separate situations for the township to look at when considering building guidelines.
“We have to look at both angles here,” Croll said.
The township does follow the Uniform Construction Code and it has a noise ordinance, which would govern over a wind turbine or wind farm. If the township creates a separate wind ordinance it may reference those existing codes. Under the Uniform Construction Code, builders are required to obtain a building permit and pay associated fees, prior to construction.
A new wave
The new wave in alternative energy in the Northeast is prompting local municipalities to design ordinances to protect residents.
In Black Creek Township, which already established a wind turbine ordinance, a company is testing wind capacity with a meteorological test tower. Wind capacity was found feasible behind the Hazleton City Authority, paving the way for a wind turbine to be built. In Mahanoy Township, a wind farm has been established.
Butler Township began designing a windfarm ordinance after it received an application for a meteorological tower. If the data from the tower proves favorable, a wind farm could be established on the Nescopeck Mountain in Butler, Dorrance and Hollenback townships. Gamesa Energy USA is proposing the wind farm, which would consist of six to seven turbines on 59 acres of land.
By Amanda Christman
9 May 2008
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