Keeping a finger in the wind, Kidder passes turbine rules; Sets regulations for power-generating private windmills
Despite township Planning Commission concerns, Kidder Township supervisors voted Thursday to adopt an ordinance regulating the construction and use of residential windmills.
”I’m comfortable with what we have so far,” said Supervisor Mary Farnschlader. ”We can always tweak it at a later time.”
Kidder joins neighboring Penn Forest Township and Franklin Township – which passed its ordinance Tuesday – as one of three Carbon County municipalities to adopt such a regulation.
Officials said a need for the ordinance became apparent in April, when David Pfeil, who owns the Inn at Hickory Run, was denied zoning variances needed to erect a turbine that will cut down on energy costs at the inn, which is also his home.
In response, Pfeil asked officials for a curative amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance, which previously contained no provisions for windmills. Township solicitor Daniel Miscavige said the request then prompted supervisors to draft an entire ordinance outlining the issue.
Although the ordinance did receive a nod from the county Planning Commission, township planners earlier this month asked supervisors to postpone its adoption until further information was gathered.
Tim Ryan, Pfeil’s neighbor, opposes turbines in residential areas and has asked officials to consider the impact a turbine would have on wildlife, wetlands, and noise levels.
The ordinance does not specify a minimum lot size for the turbines but does say the structures must be set at least 125 percent of the tower’s height away from all property lines and surrounding structures.
Now that the ordinance has been adopted, the turbines are approved uses for all residents with zoning permission, which Pfeil said he will seek next month.
Pfeil plans to erect the 115-foot-tall windmill on his property with the help of a $65,000 grant from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
”If it works well for you, you may see one on the roof of this building,” supervisors Chairman Larry Polansky told Pfeil.
Farnschlader said she thinks proposals for commercial wind farms in the township may not be far behind and said officials should ”do something proactive and pre-emptive by having an ordinance in place” to regulate them.
Also Thursday, supervisors adopted an ordinance to change the definition of treatment centers in response to a methadone rehabilitation clinic proposed by Pinnacle Treatment Centers.
”You can’t say, ‘There are no treatment centers allowed in the township,”’ Polansky said. ”For the future, what the board is proposing is limiting them to light industrial districts.”
By Ashley Kosciolek
20 June 2008
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