FROSTBURG – A petition signed by 39 residents asks Garrett County commissioners to impose realistic setbacks or ordinances that would protect families and homes from a proposed wind farm on Four Mile Ridge and part of Big Savage Mountain.
The petition will be presented to the commissioners at a land management ordinance work session on Tuesday.
“In addition to aesthetic and environmental impacts, industrial-scale wind turbines built near people’s homes and properties have the potential to increase health and safety risks, lower property values and diminish quality of life,” said the petition.
Eleven agreements have been recorded and executed with property owners for wind turbines on St. John’s Rock Ridge, Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division, explained to the Times-News last month.
Big Savage Mountain is in the vicinity of St. John’s and has viewshed and watershed impacts on Frostburg, according to Rich Harris, Frostburg director of community development.
The city has a system of complex springs and wells in the vicinity of St. John’s Rock Road that provides water for the region to supplement the Piney Dam source.
In February, a meteorological tower permit was issued to Synergics Wind Energy LLC for a tower along St. John’s Rock Road. Synergics has proposed 24 wind turbines.
House Bill 747 would give county commissioners the authority to enact ordinances relating to setbacks and the decommissioning of wind turbines.
The companion measure, sponsored by Sen. George Edwards, has been unanimously approved by the Senate, according to a news release.
“Senator Edwards and I sought to put these protections in place prior to windmill development on Garrett County’s mountaintops,” said Delegate Wendell Beitzel. “With passage of this bill, the commissioners will have the authority to establish setback and decommissioning provisions for wind turbine projects.”
As of Friday, HB 747 still needed to be voted on by both the House and Senate.
The legislative session is scheduled to end by midnight Monday.
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