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Public hearing on wind farm March 19

CUMBERLAND – The Public Service Commission of Maryland will conduct a public hearing March 19 in Frostburg to allow citizens to comment on the proposed Dan’s Mountain Wind Farm project.

The hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Dunkle Hall at Frostburg State University, according to a letter issued by Ryan C. McLean, chief public utility law judge.

The project calls for 17 wind turbines to be constructed 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 case, which first surfaced in 2015, has placed representatives of Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC against Allegany Neighbors and Citizens for Home Owners Rights (ANCHOR) Limited, a citizens’ group opposed to the project.

The opponents argue the project would create excessive noise pollution, light flicker and destruction of neighborhood views. They also fear the turbines, which are nearly 500 feet in height, would negatively impact property values.

“We hope as many people as possible show up,” said Darlene Park, ANCHOR president. “It’s an opportunity for people to voice their opinion on this project.”

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 by a 2-1 vote.

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC must now receive a certificate of public convenience from the Public Service Commission.

According to McLean’s letter, a ruling will not be made at the hearing.

“The Public Service Commission of Maryland determined a public comment hearing was necessary prior to considering Dan’s Mountain’s application, which is tentatively scheduled for the commission’s April 14, 2020 administrative meeting,” McLean wrote.

That administrative hearing will take place in Baltimore.

Several residents that own homes at the proposed project site have signed agreements to permit the wind turbines.

Park said she fears the 70 megawatt wind farm, applied for by Dan’s Mountain Wind Force, may be larger than people realize. She attended a Feb. 27 meeting of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners and asked them to withdraw support for the project.

“It has been very disappointing that the county commissioners have supported this,” Park said Wednesday. “They have not listened to the citizens and I hope they will hear our concerns.”

The Public Service Commission said citizens may also send letters to share their thoughts about the project.

“Written comments on Dan’s Mountain’s application may be submitted to the PSC either by first-class mail or by hand-delivery on or before Wednesday, April 8, 2020. All comments must include a reference to mail log No. 228173 and must be addressed to Andrew S. Johnston, executive secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Only the originally signed comment is required. No public comments will be accepted after Wednesday, April 8, 2020.”