FROSTBURG – Roughly 70 people attended Tuesday night’s meeting conducted by the Allegany Neighbors and Citizens for Home Owners Rights Limited who oppose a plan to place 17 wind turbines on Dan’s Mountain.
Darlene Park, ANCHOR president, and Erin Stark, secretary for the group, gave an update on the project and took questions from citizens.
“We thought this project was dead in 2015 but we found that it had come back,” said Stark. “We will continue the fight. They claim there is no noise, but if you talk to people who live near the turbines you find that is not the case.”
ANCHOR has been fighting the wind farm project since the issue first surfaced in 2015. The project calls for turbines to be built on the ridgeline of Dan’s Mountain near the communities of Midland and the Harwood Subdivision, along with Vale Summit, Cresaptown and Bel Air. The entity Dan’s Mountain Wind Force, LLC is behind the effort to build the wind turbines at the site.
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 project was denied by the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals in 2015, however, through an appeals process, a state court sent the case back to Allegany County in 2019. In October, a new group of zoning board members approved the project in a 2-1 vote. The project also has the support of the three members of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners.
For the project to receive final approval, Dan’s Mountain Wind Force, LLC must receive a certificate of public convenience from the Maryland Public Service Commission.
ANCHOR officials said they were concerned by reports received this week that Dan’s Mountain Wind Force, LLC has filed for approval for the project with the PSC.
“This is very upsetting,” said Park. “We hope that we can get this case dismissed and we have to stay vigilant. We will fill you in once we get the case number and read the information. It was supposed to happen today but we have not seen the information.”
Stark said, “People in Garrett County talk about a number of health issues including migraines from the turbines. You’ve got the flicker and the noise. One person told us that if the wind turbines go through, make sure you ask them to turn them off on major holidays. When we heard that we became very concerned.”
Stark said people are often required to sign non-disclosure agreements, or “gag orders,” about health issues and other problems experienced whenever they agree to settle cases against wind farms. A resident in the audience said that was true; she said she had to sign such an agreement when she filed a case against the turbines.
One asked where the electricity generated will go. Another asked if the turbines would really generate jobs.
“The people at the county think this project will be a savior for the county and it’s not,” said Stark. “The majority opinion is this is not a consistent long-term employment opportunity.”
A citizen with the Bel Air Community Association said they have donated $10,000 to ANCHOR to help with rising cost of legal representation.
Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson was as the meeting. He said he lives in Midland and is concerned.
“I’m here to learn more because there are a lot of questions with this project,” said Robertson. “Who will take care of these turbines and what do they do when they are no longer used? Do they just let them lay there? There are a lot of things we just don’t know and I’m looking for answers.”
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