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Wind test tower in violation  

Credit:  December 3, 2014, Bedford Gazette, bedfordgazette.com ~~

I am writing to let the residents of Bedford County know that a wind test tower, or Meteorological Evaluation Tower (MET) was recently erected on top of Brumbaugh Mountain, about a mile south of where Rt. 869 crosses the top of the mountain. The Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code states that its regulations apply, “to equipment and wiring for power supply and the installation of towers and antennas.” This means the installation of this tower is in violation of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, since the landowner did not obtain a building permit from the township before installing the tower. Jeremy Broadwater, who installed the tower, told me that the landowner is James Webb. Webb lives in Jarretsville, Maryland, and tried to build an industrial wind project on Dunning and Evitts Mountains that was terminated in 2012, before construction began.

It is troubling that the new tower does not meet important guidelines passed on June 24, 2011 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA ruled that tall structures like METs pose threats to aviation safety. Indeed, at least three fatal accidents have occurred when aircraft collided with a wind test tower. To reduce the danger posed by METs, the FAA recommended that landowners and developers paint the METs in alternate bands of aviation orange and white paint. High visibility sleeves should be installed on the outer guy wires and high visibility spherical marker balls of aviation orange color should be attached to the guy wires. It appears that the landowner or developer did not follow these important safety guidelines.

Furthermore, Bedford Township has an Airport Ordinance that created an airport district overlay, which defines an airport hazard as a public nuisance. The ordinance states, “the prevention of these airport hazards, as defined, should be accomplished, to the extent legally possible, by the exercise of police power…”

I respectfully ask that the Bedford Township exercise its powers to remove the wind test tower to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Bedford County residents and any other pilots or passengers that will be using the Bedford Airport.

Laura Jackson

Source:  December 3, 2014, Bedford Gazette, bedfordgazette.com

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