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Allegany commission moves to nix wind farm

CUMBERLAND – Allegany County commissioners have filed a motion with the Maryland Public Service Commission to dismiss a Dan’s Mountain Wind Force request for a required certificate for a 17-turbine wind farm project on Dan’s Mountain.

Dan’s Mountain has filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project. One of the reasons the commission lists for the dismissal is because of concerns about the county’s public safety communications system, which has radio towers located on Dan’s Mountain, according to Maryland Public Service Commission documents.

“Allegany County has serious concerns about the impact the project will have on its public safety communications and other public and private communication facilities located on Dan’s Mountain,” according to the document.

The public safety communications system will become the hub for the state’s new interoperable radio system in 2017, according to PSC documents.

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force is requesting that the commissioners motion to dismiss be denied.

“… The county commissioners’ complaints about the burdens they face in opposing Dan’s Mountain’s efforts in this forum ring hollow when it was they who adopted land use ordinances hostile to wind development subsequent to Dan’s Mountain exemption from the requirement to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” states Dan’s Mountain Wind Force counsel in response to the commissioners’ request.

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force is also requesting that the PSC waive a two-year notice requirement to allow construction to commence earlier.

“Granting a waiver of the two-year requirement as the applicant requests will only hasten consideration of the application, thus wasting the limited resources of Allegany County and the PSC …,” states the PSC documents.

In December, the Allegany County Board of of Zoning appeals denied an application for variances and a special exception for the project because Dan’s Mountain Wind Force “failed to meet its burden of proof.”

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force was requesting a variance to the separation distance for eight residents and a variance for setback requirements at two locations, according to the opinion. County code requires that wind turbines have a minimum separation distance of 2,000 feet from any residential structure and 955 feet setback from the property line.

The county is being inundated with inquiries about its role in regard to the board of appeals proceedings and the Dan’s Mountain application, according to PSC documents.

“… it simply is not true that the county commissioners are fighting on two fronts. In fact, the county commissioners are not a party to the pending land use judicial review proceeding,” said Dan’s Mountain Wind Force attorneys in PSC documents.

The commissioners’ request to dismiss the certificate was scheduled for an oral argument on May 26 in Baltimore.