A possible wind farm in northern Somerset County has some residents’ heads spinning figuratively.
About 20 people attended an Ogle Township supervisors meeting Monday night to voice concern over the possible wind farm, which, if constructed, would take up parts of Shaffer Mountain in Ogle and Shade townships.
Paint resident Joseph J. Cominsky, who owns about 90 acres in Ogle, said he would like to a see a township ordinance amended to increase setback distances for turbines.
Cominsky said he thinks the current setbacks, which are five times the height of a turbine for a structure and two times the height for a property line, should be increased to 2,500 feet from a structure and 2,000 feet from a property line.
“They’re going to devastate your property values,” he said of the potential turbines. “There is so much devastation.”
The turbines in question would come from Chicago-based energy company Invenergy and would be constructed on land owned by Berwind Corp. In November the company submitted plans to the Somerset County Planning Commission for three meteorological towers to be built in Ogle and Shade that would measure wind speed, direction and weather.
In addition to property values, Cominsky voiced concern Monday about the turbines casting shadows on homes and emittinga low-frequency noise that some claim causes health problems.
Cominsky said five houses and two summer homes could be affected by the turbines.
“I’ll protest something that needs to be done,” he said after suggesting that people are currently protesting across the country for “nothing.” “Have a little brass, B-R-A-S-S, and stop them in their tracks.
“Wind ordinances: That’s what we need to do.”
Ogle supervisors Chairman Harvey Weyandt Jr. said he would ask the township’s solicitor, attorney John Gibson, of Johnstown, to look into the matter. Gibson was not at Monday’s meeting.
Weyandt, a self-proclaimed “property rights person,” said that without consulting Gibson he did not want to comment about changing the ordinance. He did, however, say that there haven’t been any permits applied for in the township for turbines.
“I’m open to whatever the attorney will say will be the legal ramifications,” he said. “Next month the board will have more answers for everybody.”
Cominsky also implied that Ogle could benefit financially from turbines and that could be a reason why the ordinance may not be changed. He said the municipality will receive $1,500 annually per megawatt generated by turbines. Weyandt confirmed that figure but disputed the claim.
“The money is not the issue,” he said.
The Ogle meeting is the second that residents have attended in protest of the wind farm.
On Thursday about a dozen residents voiced concern to the Shade supervisors during a public meeting.
According to a previous Daily American article, Shade supervisors Chairman John Topka also told those residents that there haven’t been any permits applied for and that the board would look into the matter.
An Invenergy public affairs employee that the Daily American was in contact with Monday did not supply the newspaper with requested information by press time.
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