Frostburg’s mayor and council tabled a possible moratorium on the construction of wind turbines in the city after Councilman John Ralston said he didn’t believe that such a policy was needed since nobody has expressed interest in building any.
At Thursday’s public meeting, a motion to approve the moratorium had been made and seconded when Ralston – who was attending his final meeting before a new council is sworn in – spoke up. “There is really no place in Frostburg to put a (commercial) wind turbine project,” Ralston said. “I live in a high spot, but I look out the window and see a lot of ridges that are higher than anyplace in town.”
The lack of a moratorium has no impact on the city’s Planning Commission’s intent to study the impact that commercial and residential wind turbines would have on the city. The results of that study are expected to be presented to the elected officials in a few months.
From the audience, Frostburg resident Bernard Miltenberger opposed a moratorium.
“It’s unnecessary,” Miltenberger said, adding he believes people have the right to put out the money for a residential wind turbine on their own property if they so choose.
Another city resident, Mark Katz, questioned whether or not it would be legal for the city to ban wind turbines.
Former state Sen. John Bambacus requested the moratorium Tuesday during the City Council’s work session. The issue seemed to have a consensus favoring an effort to legislate the moratorium.
The city’s planning commission earlier had passed a motion to support placing a moratorium on large scale wind turbines only. Bambacus on Tuesday convinced the council to add the small, residential scale wind energy stems to the proposed ordinance establishing a moratorium.
On Wednesday, Bambacus presented a similar request to the Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission. The request was not acted upon. However, the board did authorize county staff to look into current code regarding wind turbines and what other jurisdictions have done to control both commercial and residential wind energy devices.
Michael A. Sawyers
20 June 2008
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