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Hearing set on Dan’s Mountain wind farm

CUMBERLAND – The Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals will conduct a hearing on the proposed 17-turbine Dan’s Mountain wind farm 9 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the Allegany County Fairgrounds.

Due to an expected large turnout, the hearing will be conducted in the multi-purpose building at the fairgrounds, located off Route 220 in Bowling Green.

At issue before the zoning appeals board is a request by Dans Mountain Wind Force to construct “an industrialized wind (energy) farm” comprising 17 turbines on the ridge of Dan’s Mountain. The turbines are slated to be erected along the mountaintop ridge line between Midland and Interstate 68.

Access to the site is proposed via Burning Mines Road, near Vale Summit.

The area in question is zoned for agricultural use and conservation. Dans Mountain Wind Force is seeking a special exception to allow placement of the turbines.

The company is also seeking a variance from setback requirements established under Allegany County zoning regulations in regards to such a proposed use.

Both the special exception and the variance are required for the project to move forward.

Even as turbine clusters have sprung up throughout the region in recent years – including wind farms on Green Mountain near Keyser, Big Savage Mountain in Pennsylvania near Mount Savage and Big Savage Mountain near Finzel in Garrett County – the Dans Mountain project has languished for several years in various stages of development or county review.

In addition to concerns about migratory birds and scenic view-sheds, opponents say the turbines could interfere with electromagnetic signals from the dozen-plus communications towers clustered around Dans Rock, including antennas dedicated to 911 emergency service.

With the critical Zoning Appeals hearing approaching, opponents have sponsored anti-wind farm billboards near Frostburg and established a petition against the project at gopetition.com. They also have a Facebook page at facebook.com/SaveDansMountain.

Among the principals of the Dans Mountain Wind Force group is David Friend, who helped shepherd the Keyser wind farm through state and local regulatory procedures.

For more information on the Dans Mountain project, contact the Allegany County Land Development office at 301-777-5951.