A Fayette County man Tuesday appealed to the county commissioners during their agenda meeting, claiming he never would have bought his 40-acre property in Springhill if he’d known about a proposed windmill project on nearby land.
Listed on the commissioners’ agenda yesterday was a proposal to consider directing the Office of Planning and Zoning to begin a procedure to amend the county’s zoning ordinance regarding windmills/wind turbines to “reflect the industry standard height of 80 meters or 262.5 feet.”
Iberdrola Renewables, former PPM Energy, wants to place 27 wind-powered turbines over a 3.5-mile section of Chestnut Ridge in Wharton, Georges and Springhill. The turbines would generate electricity for the company’s South Chestnut Ridge Windpower Project.
The zoning ordinance restricts tower height to 250 feet, while the proposed towers would reach 262 feet.
Thomas J. Bozek III said he is a musician who moved to his mountain home for its quiet surroundings. His primary concern about the turbines, he said, is noise.
“I am very familiar with sound principles and properties,” he said.
He is concerned the turbines’ decibel levels will interfere with his attempts to record music.
“The recordings will be tainted,” he said.
“I’m asking you to please just relocate the last couple (of turbines) so I don’t have a problem,” he said.
“We’ve reached out to Mr. Bozek to try to accommodate his request, mostly through attorneys,” said Gary Verkleeren, project manager for Iberdrola Renewables. “We are hopeful we can come to (an agreement) that is acceptable to all of the parties.”
As for Bozek’s concerns about noise, Verkleeren said, “We have never asked for an exception or variance for sound.”
Commissioner Vincent Vicites said after the meeting, “I want them (Iberdrola officials) to work out the problems with residents along that planned area.”
Also yesterday, the commissioners agreed to consider a voter purge during Thursday’s voting meeting. The county Election Bureau has identified tens of thousands of registered voters who have not cast ballots in at least five years, putting them at risk of having their names purged from voter rolls.
Commissioners are expected to vote to authorize the next step, which is mailing out notices to each of the inactive voters. Voters who want to remain on the rolls will be asked to return the notices in postage-paid envelopes to be provided by the county.
Yesterday, Vicites said the project is expected to cost approximately $20,000. Proceeds from the sale of some of the county’s electronic voting machines could be used to fund the purge, he said.
In addition, commissioners Thursday will consider advertising for professional services to conduct a pay scale study for current nonunion employees.
They will also consider hiring a human resource director rather than continue outsourcing the service to Felice Associates Inc.
By Mary Pickels
23 July 2008
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