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Resident denied variance to build 93-foot-tall wind turbine

A South Heidelberg Township resident was denied a variance Tuesday to construct a 93-foot-tall wind turbine on his property.

Bret T. Cadmus had proposed building the turbine on his 1.5-acre lot off Homestead Lane in the Stone Hedge development.

The maximum building height in the township is 35 feet in a residential district. Cadmus asked the zoning hearing board for a variance to extend that height to 93 feet.

Cadmus wanted to generate his own electricity and said he would not sell power to utility companies. He said his plan was to build credits for power instead of selling energy back to the grid.

Neighbors Kevin J. Kurtz and Ricky Templin, who were in favor of the project, agreed to allow the turbine within 20 to 25 feet of their property lines.

“You haven’t shown a hardship,” zoners Chairman Curtis C. Johnston told Cadmus. “There’s good merit. The other motives are economic.”

He said he would not be surprised if more residents wanted to construct wind turbines. The township does not have an ordinance governing the structures, officials said.

Cadmus showed more than 20 exhibits in a bid to convince the panel. He said the turbine would make little noise, have no impact to property values and would not be as offensive to the neighborhood as a 237-foot radio tower in the area.

Other nearby Homestead Lane residents, Grant R. Henry and Rob Drexel, were not convinced.

“I can’t imagine it won’t make noise that close to my house,” Drexel said.

Drexel and Henry said that they were worried about the safety, noise and aesthetics of the tower.

After a brief recess, the three-member board said it would not grant the variance.

Cadmus said after the meeting that he would get his $6,400 deposit back from the wind turbine company, and probably not try to lobby the township to enact an ordinance.