NORTH EAST – North East Township supervisors will vote on proposed commercial wind farm regulations in November.
Supervisors on Monday unanimously approved advertising the ordinance for final action as early as Nov. 4.
“We’ve looked this over, up and down and heard many viewpoints: opposing and for it, from out of town and in town,” Supervisor Vernon Frye said. “I feel comfortable enough with the ordinance to make a motion to advertise it so that we can vote on this.”
Farmer Tim Burch had urged action on the ordinance Monday. Burch and several other large landowners have leased property for turbines.
“I believe that we need an ordinance and some rules and regulations, but we can’t drag this on forever,” Burch said. “After seven months, come on.”
Township officials have been studying, writing and altering the regulations since March.
Other North East Township residents are asking for stronger protections in the ordinance, for safety, property values and groundwater.
“The idea (of wind farms) is to save the environment. However, that’s not been the case,” said Craig Sluga, of Townline Road.
North East’s proposed wind ordinance would restrict commercial wind farms to an area edged by Interstate 90, Williams Road, Greenfield Township and the New York state line, excluding the Route 89 corridor.
The minimum setback between a turbine and neighboring home would be a distance equal to five times the turbine’s hub height. Setbacks from property lines would be 1.75 times the turbine’s total height, including blades, and from roads, 1.1 times the turbine height.
Pioneer Green Energy, of Texas, plans to build about a dozen turbines in the township to generate electricity for sale to the power grid, company representative Johnny Walker said. That’s scaled down from the company’s original plan to build 50 to 75 turbines along the interstate escarpment.
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