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Wind turbines the topic of meeting

QUEMAHONING TOWNSHIP – Wind turbine ordinances were the topic of discussion during the Monday supervisors meeting, but plans are on hold for a public meeting on them until a date can be set with the solicitor.

Chairman Mark Rininger said the township has collected turbine ordinances to review from five different counties and will work to find a meeting time from Yelovich and Flower, their solicitor firm.

Currently the Somerset law firm is reviewing and revising the township’s pension plan, he said.

Resident Mike Kern, of Koontz Road, has been asking for some movement on the issue since April, when he first approached supervisors with a proposal.

“Months and months have gone by and nothing’s happened,” he said. “Do you have a timetable?”

Rininger said the timetable would depend on the availability of the solicitor.

Kern has expressed concern because currently the township uses only county codes to control wind development. That code deals primarily with setback issues and limiting the distance that a turbine may be placed near an occupied dwelling.

A more stringent code dealing with property, noise and other issues should be enacted, he said.

Nearby townships like Shade and Allegheny have already passed ordinances on the matter.

In 2006, Shade enacted a windmill ordinance requiring a turbine to have a setback of three times the hub height from the nearest property line of a non-participating landowner.

Also, the noise level generated from the structure is not to exceed 45 decibels from the nearest property line of a non-participating landowner.

Allegheny Township took steps to protect seasonal cabins with their ordinance. The setback section of the ordinance protects unoccupied buildings from nearby turbine placement, many of which are seasonal cabins used for recreation.

By Dan DiPaolo
Daily American 30 North Chief

Daily American

15 July 2008