Kidder Township’s Planning Commission voted Wednesday to ask supervisors to postpone a hearing for a proposed windmill ordinance until planners can gather enough information to make a recommendation.
The ordinance, which recently received a favorable recommendation from the Carbon County Planning Commission, would limit the number of wind turbines to one per property; set a minimum property size of 2 acres; and create a setback requirement of 110 percent of a windmill’s height.
Planner Charles Velzy asked whether the ordinance should allow turbines to be constructed in high- and medium-density residential areas, especially since the structures generally aren’t well-received by neighbors.
”I question whether or not [they] could be built, based on other [setback] provisions,” he said, referring to other township regulations that would not allow an average-size windmill to be erected on a 2-acre property while still meeting setback requirements.
Township residents Tim and Eileen Ryan – who in April hired an attorney to challenge a windmill proposed by neighbor David Pfeil, who owns the Inn at Hickory Run – suggested the ordinance require turbine owners to be full-time residents of the township in case of any problems.
The Ryans also expressed concern about whether constant noise generated by turbines would be a nuisance and asked planners to consider the impact windmills might have on wildlife in nearby wetlands.
Velzy agreed, citing windmill farms on the west coast that were accidentally located in a migratory path and killed hundreds of birds.
”I’m not a bird lover,” Velzy said. ”I don’t hug and kiss birds, but they are part of the natural environment.”
Planner Peter Genopolas suggested the Ryans and township officials get county Conservation District input. The planners then voted to request that supervisors table a hearing on the ordinance – scheduled before the next supervisors meeting June 19 – until more information is obtained.
Also Wednesday, planners voted to table their recommendation on an ordinance that would regulate outdoor burning appliances until it can be reviewed by an engineer and solicitor.
”I agree we need to have some controls, but I think we ought to take a look at this ordinance and the way it’s written,” Velzy said.
He said unless it is changed, the ordinance will require burning to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, but those regulations are very particular, limiting the burning of coal, painted wood, garbage and other materials.
In other matters, planners told Jonathan Huggins of First Patriot – a real estate brokerage corporation from Whitehaven that proposes various commercial and residential ventures along Route 940 in the township – that he should request variances to change the property to a highway commercial zone.
Currently, a portion of the land, which is between state game lands and the Jack Frost golf course and is owned by Louis Pugh, is zoned for residential use, and even though First Patriot plans some residences for the 45-acre property, they hope to change the whole parcel to a commercial area.
By Ashley Kosciolek
5 June 2008
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