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Council shoots down windmill  

Credit:  PhillyBurbs.com, www.msnbc.msn.com 21 December 2010 ~~

Levittown – The council rejected a request from Central Bucks Ambulance to install a wind turbine at the squad’s headquarters. Doylestown officials, residents and the leaders of Central Bucks Ambulance and Rescue Unit have been talking for months about whether the ambulance squad should be allowed to install a 65-foot windmill at its headquarters.Because the borough owns the land on East Street where the ambulance squad’s headquarters are located, Doylestown Council had the final say.And the council said, “No.”Doylestown Council President Det Ansinn said Monday night that the council could not support the installation of the windmill on borough land if the neighbors were fighting it. The windmill had been approved by the Doylestown Zoning Hearing Board, but two neighbors have challenged that approval in county court.”You have to have the support of your neighbors,” he said. “That support never developed.”Central Bucks Ambulance Chief Chuck Pressler said he’s not going to give up on finding an alternative energy source – and the money savings that could go with it – for the ambulance squad’s headquarters. The ambulance squad got a $24,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the windmill; Pressler is hoping to amend the grant so the ambulance squad can use it to buy a solar panel.The ambulance squad has asked OmniWind, the Dublin-based company that developed the windmill the squad was going to buy, to return the money it gave as a down payment. Pressler said he’s waiting for the final answer from the company.Central Bucks Ambulance and Rescue Unit leaders started talking three years ago about finding ways to save money on energy costs, so they would have more money to spend on necessary equipment. Pressler has said that the ambulance squad looked into geothermal energy, but couldn’t afford it. The ambulance squad previously applied for a grant for solar panels, but did not get one.The ambulance squad considered buying a roof-mounted windmill from a company in Reading, but Pressler said the windmill was never developed beyond the concept phase.So the ambulance squad decided it wanted to install an independent windmill at its headquarters and paid OmniWind for a wind study. OmniWind representatives determined the windmill would have to be 65 feet tall to work.The ambulance squad’s headquarters are in a residential district, where the zoning ordinance limits the height of structures to 35 feet.Central Bucks Ambulance sought a variance to the zoning ordinance. Richard and Lisa Crawford and several other neighbors fought the request for a variance. They didn’t want the windmill because they thought it would be ugly, or as they put it, “not keeping with the character of the neighborhood.” And one resident said she was concerned that light reflections from the windmill’s blades, commonly referred to as “flicker,” would exacerbate her son’s existing seizure disorder.

Source:  PhillyBurbs.com, www.msnbc.msn.com 21 December 2010

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