EBENSBURG – Potential development of a wind farm at Rock Run ATV Park remains on track after leaders identified modifications required to lessen the impact on popular areas.
“I’m very optimistic that we can still have a project for wind energy developed at Rock Run,” Chairman Tom Kakabar said Friday at Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority meeting.
“The wind farm area is able to be moved forward with some cooperation,” he said.
Master plans for the all-terrain vehicle park always included development of a wind farm, said board member Andy Kaza, who also is a member of Rock Run Inc. nonprofit.
The original plans envisioned about nine wind turbines. A developer put together a proposal for a larger project extending beyond the park boundaries to other areas of Chest Township and even across the border in Elder Township.
But Elder Township’s wind energy ordinance included setback requirements that created barriers for the developer’s plans, Kaza said.
“Elder Township had a setback regulation,” Kaza said.
“So they moved them over to Chest Township.”
But the concentration of wind turbines around the Rock Run campground and visitor center was not acceptable to the Rock Run board.
“That’s what we are opposed to,” Kaza said. “They sort of infringed on the core area.”
The park property is owned by the Conservation and Recreation Authority and managed by the Rock Run nonprofit. The authority hoped to gain some income from the wind farm operation.
When the differences surfaced earlier this year, the two organizations formed a joint committee to look for a resolution.
Other potential areas for wind development were identified, and Kakabar said he reached out to the developer.
“Things are looking very positive that they are still in the project,” Kakabar said.
Some confusion and misunderstandings may have been avoided if the two organizations talked more, Kaza said.
“As I see it, there was no communications,” Kaza said.
“I can assure you that is not going to happen going forward,” Kakabar said.
In other matters, the authority reviewed two letters of interest for an open position on the volunteer board. Letters were submitted to Cambria County commissioners by Renee Daly, director of community and economic development for the City of Johnstown, and Ray Gorman of the Cambria County Conservation District board.
Authority member Brad Clemenson pointed out that Daly could add some diversity to the all-male board and that she is younger than a majority of the board members.
But authority member Chuck Gironda pointed out that Gorman has been coming to the meetings for years.
He made a motion to recommend Cambria County commissioners appoint Gorman. The motion passed unanimously.
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