CUMBERLAND – The citizen’s group opposing the Dans Mountain wind farm project has rescheduled a public meeting on the case for Tuesday at City Place in Frostburg.
The meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at City Place in Frostburg, will be hosted by representatives from Allegany Neighbors and Citizens for Home Owners Rights Limited, who oppose the Dans Mountain Wind Force plan to install 17 wind turbines atop the mountain.
Darlene Park, ANCHOR president, said the meeting was scheduled after a Jan. 7 gathering was canceled due to inclement weather.
“We will go over the whole nine yards at the meeting,” Park said, “the whole history and the facts about the turbines. The county has worked against us and they try to override us at every turn. They have not taken into consideration the views of the citizens.”
ANCHOR has been fighting the wind farm project since the issue surfaced in 2015. The project calls for turbines to be built on the ridgeline of the mountain near the communities of Midland and the Harwood Subdivision, along with Vale Summit, Cresaptown and Bel Air.
The opponents argue that the turbines create excessive noise pollution, light flicker and destruction of neighborhood views. They also fear the turbines, which are nearly 500 feet in height, will negatively impact property values.
The Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals initially denied the project in 2015, however the case was appealed by Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC and ultimately sent back to the county zoning board. On Oct. 16, with three new commissioners, that board voted 2-1 in favor of granting the setback variances and special exception needed for the project to move forward.
“We have filed our appeal,” Park said. “It will be in the Circuit Court of Allegany County. It’s a jurisdictional review and we are told it will be (heard) no sooner than spring. We are not going to say how we are going to do our case. We can’t make it public but we have a game plan. We have a strong case.”
Park said ANCHOR will be represented by Frederick-based attorney Paul Flynn.
The wind farm must also receive approval, in the form of a certificate of public convenience and necessity, from Maryland’s Public Service Commission. A request for the PSC approval has not been filed yet, according to Park.
Park said she is concerned that the wind turbines ultimately desired for the project will exceed, particularly in height and power, the parameters originally sought for the project.
“If they put those big turbines in, people within a mile and a half will be miserable … devastated,” she said.
County commissioners have publicly shown their support for the project. The officials estimate it will provide nearly $1 million in tax revenue annually. A letter signed by commissioners Jake Shade, Dave Caporale and Creade Brodie Jr. updating the PSC on the zoning board ruling was sent in late November.
The letter said, “Allegany County stands behind the project because it provides an essential revitalization of lost revenue, creates employment opportunities, conforms to the desire of our legislation and governor to increase the state’s renewable energy portfolio and will have little to no discernible effect on property values or tourism within the area.”
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force is owned by Laurel Renewable Partners of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.