Shade Township officials responded to residents’ concerns about a proposed wind farm on Shaffer Mountain Thursday night. The supervisors said they are still researching the project.
About a dozen residents attended the supervisors meeting to learn more about the proposed project by Invenergy in Ogle and Shade townships.
Laura Jackson, president of Save Our Allegheny Ridges, said she would like a strengthened ordinance to push future turbines a greater distance from homes and other properties.
“Take a look at it and try to get some teeth into it,” she said to the supervisors. “Ones who live next to their property line – those are the ones who are vulnerable.”
Shade’s ordinance requires turbines to be at least three times the hub’s height from neighboring property lines. The hub does not include the additional height of the blades.
Chairman John Topka said the supervisors are researching a new ordinance, but the change is costly and time-consuming.
“When we consider changing an ordinance or drafting an ordinance, it’s not a short process,” he said. “A lot of research has to be done.
“When we spend taxpayer money, we better have a justification for it.”
So far, Invenergy has placed three meteorological towers – two in Ogle and one in Shade – to record weather. Michael Kaplan, vice president of business development for the Chicago-based Invenergy, said in a previous interview that it is too early to say how many turbines will be proposed for the project or how tall they will be.
Topka said he and the other supervisors have met with Invenergy officials informally. They said they will be at the township’s next meeting, at 7 p.m. April 5, to address residents’ concerns, he said. The officials are also expected to speak with residents at an Ogle Township meeting Monday.
Paint Township resident Joe Cominsky said at the Shade meeting that he is most concerned about devaluation of property values. He also owns properties in Ogle and Shade townships.
“Residents that pay taxes in this township should be considered,” he said. “If the ordinance is stiffened, Invenergy will not come in.”
Topka said the supervisors cannot stop the turbines from being constructed.
“It is not this board’s intention to stop this project,” he said.
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