Supervisors approved an amendment to the township zoning ordinance on Monday night which regulates wind energy facilities and small scale windmills. The amendment addresses maximum height of the turbines, minimum height of the turbine hub from the ground, setbacks, lighting, and security issues.
The ordinance sets the maximum height of a wind turbine at 350 feet. The minimum distance between the ground and any part of the rotor blade system shall be 30 feet. A fence eight feet high with a locking gate must be erected around the base of the tower of a wind turbine. The tower climbing apparatus can be no closer than 15 feet from the ground and protected by an anti-climb device.
The minimum setback for a wind turbine from any property line or bodies of water is 1,500 feet. The setback from the nearest public road shall be 1.1 times the turbine height.
Supervisors and township solicitor Donald Brobst have been working on the ordinance for several months as a proactive measure. The ordinance allows wind energy facilities as a conditional use only in general industrial district, light industrial districts, rural districts and conservation and recreation districts.
Brobst reported all parties have executed the settlement agreement for the Mary Street Bridge project and the documents have been submitted to the Public Utility Commission administrative law judge for review. The settlement was agreed to by the state, county, the railroad, the PUC, UGI and Pennsylvania American Water Co., calls for removal of the span and construction of barricades and signs at a cost of $363,000. The township will save $24,438 and the overall saving to taxpayers will be $960,960.
The span over the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad lines was closed to traffic in 1997 when the state Public Utility Commission ordered it demolished and replaced. Earlier this year, the township asked the PUC to re-consider that order as a money-saving measure. The township pointed out the bridge has been closed for 17 years with little impact on motorists.
Township resident Jim Cornelius, who resides near the span, objected to its removal. “I protest removing the Mary Street Bridge,” Cornelius told supervisors. “Leave it there. It is strong.”
Cornelius said his objection was based on its removal without being replaced.
Brobst told the resident leaving the structure in place was not an option as the PUC ordered its removal.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding