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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wind Turbine Regulations Being Revised

After months of research, the Potter County Commissioners are close to releasing the draft Industrial Wind Energy Facilities Ordinance to amend the Potter County Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. Upon the document’s release, the commissioners will announce a timetable for public comment and a date for adoption. That could come as early as Dec. 4.

Among the changes from the preliminary draft released several weeks ago is a reduction in the setback provisions. The preliminary draft called for a setback of six times total turbine height, or 2,000 feet, whichever is greater, from the nearest boundary line of a non-participating property owner.

The proposed change is five times total turbine height, or 1,750 feet, whichever is greater, from the nearest occupied building. A new subsection will require a minimum setback of 1,000 feet from the nearest boundary line. A second significant change will be to reduce the application fee from $1,000 per turbine to $500 per turbine.

These changes are in response to additional research as well as the input that has been received since the preliminary draft was circulated and a public hearing was held. The commissioners will confer with County Solicitor D. Bruce Cahilly to incorporate the changes detailed above and make sure the draft ordinance is in acceptable form; to post the legal notice of the draft ordinance’s availability for public review/comment, and to set the adoption date.

During their Oct. 23 meeting, the commissioners were informed by AES Corporation that the company has revised its original plan to build 79 turbines, 1.5 megawatts capacity each, in Ulysses and Hector townships. The new plan calls for 50 turbines at a capacity of 2.5 megawatts and a height of 428 feet. Approval would be sought in 2009, with construction to begin the following year.


Anonymous said...

Way to go dream team!

So glad the twp.'s can enact their own regulations on clean grean energy.

Your permit fee of $500.00 per turbine is a joke. Just one more step to placing the "Not Welcome Here" sign in Potter County for new industry!

Anonymous said...

The one term guys don't seem to get it. The small group of liberals can't control us landowners. Can't wait until our next election for Commissioners.

Anonymous said...

Get out your calculator. AES has a budget of about $275 MILLION for this project and didn't have any problem with the fee, even when it was at $1,000 per turbine. It is a tiny, tiny part of the picture. Do the math.
This is a major trimming of the setback rule they had, taking it from property boundary (and 6 times the height) to the occupied structure (and 5 times the height). That is not much protection for the innocent neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Being a landowner doesn't count for anything now that Obama is going to be president, because everyone will have to divide up all of their land and spread it equally with everyone else so all is fair.

Anonymous said...

"Get out your calculator"
"Do the math"

You just do not get it yet do ya?!

These regulations, once on the books, will dictate to ANY and ALL industries looking to come to Potter County. Because once on the books they can be cited and recited and used against ANY industry.

Do not think for one minute I am afraid AES does not have enough money for this project, I know they do!

Anonymous said...

I can't belive all the wasted time and money spent on this wind turbine regulation thing.Commissioners,you have no authority!Please,go find something better to do besides regulating,spending,borrowing,and renting.Have the voters of Potter really made the huge mistake it is shaping up to be?Wake up "Dream Team!"

Anonymous said...

Never fear our country is going to be PERFECT the minute B.H.B. takes office. We will all quit arguing and live in perfect harmony......

Anonymous said...

What nasty people live there in Potter County. No wonder there is no work there.

Signed: From the outside looking in.

Anonymous said...

Better do a little bit of research..

Looks like these wind farm companies are having real economic problems and many, including AES may just get gobbled up!

Anonymous said...

Carol Copperthwait/PH or what ever your name is.. stop looking at our blog and get back to your own.
I noticed it was mentioned that research was done(who the heck wrote this article, PH??)....when and where because all of us landowners did our research on you PH.. we know when you are plagiarizing, lying, and spending money where you shouldnt be.
We know that no research was done other than quickly copying off some papers in time of despair.. Yep PH We Know all about it.
Silly man to think of us as just farmers...
Keep digging your hole.. Pretty soon the entire county will be sitting in it.

Anonymous said...

We will not have to worry about the "dream teams" final plan now will we?

The only good thing that will even matter is the $500.00 permit fee per turbine. This is much needed money in the county check book...I am sure they will dream up another position to "appoint" someone to at our expense!

The twp's set backs will over rule anything the the "dream team" comes up with at this point.

They should have gotten a handle on this matter within 6 months of the planning commissions plan that was submitted.

I have no doubt in my mind that we will have 3 new commissioners come reelection!

Anonymous said...

"From the outside looking in."

I do not feel people in Potter County are nasty...FED UP, hard working tax payers is what you are reading here!

Anonymous said...

AIR RIGHTS - The rights vested by a grant of an estate in real property to build upon, occupy, or use, in the manner and degree permitted, all or any portion of space above the ground or any other stated elevation within vertical planes, the basis of which corresponds with the boundaries of the real estate described in the grant.

Anonymous said...

Wind Energy is running out of steam!

There was a story in Financial Times (FT.com) on Sunday entitled
"Wind Energy is running out of steam"

The credit crunch has dried up monies for these companies "Warren Buffets bid on Constellation Energy & Exelon" is driving analysts to believe that other companies may file bankruptcy or be gobbled up in mergers.

The article reports that one of these companies is


So, it just may be that, for all their hooting & hollering, their wind farm proposals might be moot.

One of the first things to happen in a merger is the question of how many jobs are downsized and what projects need to be canceled.

I would have to assume that projects would be looked at more closely in terms of expected return.

We might find out that since we are dealing with lower end wind class areas, the new company, might decide to get out of Potter totally.

Just not enough revenue!

Anonymous said...

Folks -

The commissioners have three years left in office. Time will tell what happens and how they are doing overall, but if certain folks continue to suggest that they should be removed because of this and only this issue then I think you are being naive. For or against windmills one has to realize that the installation of windmills even under the most generous of regulations will not solve all of the problems our county faces. So if our commissioners blow one issue but prove themselves on other equally as important issues than please don't render a guilty verdict just because of their position on this one issue. We don't know the other issues yet to be faced so while you could stack the deck with "pro wind" commissioners today how do you know they will be able to deal with other issues that arise in the future. Look our commissioners may give us numerous reasons to give them the boot, but it scares me when people think they should be booted for this and only this ONE issue.


Anonymous said...

"So, it just may be that, for all their hooting & hollering, their wind farm proposals might be moot."

So let me get this straight... am I to be happy because the economy sucks and clean grean energy companies like one that promotes and installs wind turbine's is something we should be happy about?!

This is WHY we are so dependent on foreign countries!
Since the economy is tanking don't laugh too hard or long because wind energy will not be the only clean grean energy source to be hit hard.

"it scares me when people think they should be booted for this and only this ONE issue."

I think people have posted other reasons they are not happy with our "dream team" the turbine issue just adds to the list.

I have read about;

1. Sunshine Act (not being followed)

2. Renting out space in a building that is to be used for our county offices because the court house is falling apart. And other county offices should be moved in to cut down the expenses of running other buildings

3. Only reviewing one applicant for a job that others in the area are just as qualified for. BUT they had this person in mind when they thought up the position

4. Zoning, many are not for this in our area

So you see I do not think that it is just this one issue that the voters in Potter County are upset about. But you are right, we should give them their last 3 years to prove themselves.

Anonymous said...

Rep Chick -

You are right in that there may already be other issues to justify the boot. Moreover, who am I to tell someone how the hell the vote.

My point is that I hope we can give these folks a chance even if we disagree on the wind item. My gut tells me we have a good and decent group of commissioners here and they will do well by us. Of course, my gut has certainly been wrong before.


Anonymous said...


Take the air rights through eminent domain and be done with it.


Zone the Hoopes property as the only place for turbines and be done with it.

Spend no more time on this and move on.....

Anonymous said...

"Zone the Hoopes property as the only place for turbines and be done with it."

Hoopes are not the only ones that have signed lease agreements so why keep only mentioning their name?

Health and safety went right out the window as far as I am concerned. Sounds to me like quit a few are either envious OR have a hard on for the Hoopes families!! Either way I am darn tired of it!

Anonymous said...

"Zone the Hoopes property as the only place for turbines and be done with it."

at least this would restrict them to one area

Anonymous said...

"at least this would restrict them to one area"

There are quit a few property owners other than on Fox Hill that have contracts for wind turbines on their property.


We as land owners and tax payers do not need to be regulated any more than we all ready are. Or better yet, let the county own all our personal land and then we would not have to pay taxes on it any more. Then they can ZONE to high heaven for all I care!

Anonymous said...

Regulations must be set to a standard for every community or we would have all kinds of things being built like trash burning plants, paper mills, and land fills. Without regulations, people would be able to put in a septic system wherever they felt like it or dump trash everywhere. I do feel that the wind turbine issue has been blown out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

Against Zoning...


How many here want to live right next door to a smelly Petrochemical Plant?

Cough, cough...



Get my point?

Nothing wrong with zoning laws they keep everyone happy.

If not for a zoning law then you might wake up one morning and find your next door neighbor is not a farm but a plant or worse.

Anonymous said...

"Regulations must be set to a standard for every community"

I agree with you on this statement.
We do have regulations for the things you mentioned...but there is such a thing as OVER regulating and I for one do not want to see that happen here in Potter County.

"I do feel that the wind turbine issue has been blown out of proportion."

I agree with you on this statement as well.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing wrong with zoning laws they keep everyone happy..."

Then how have we survived all of these years in Potter County with out zoning laws in place?

Land owners are all ready regulated by the Potter County Planning Commission, that has been all the regulating we have needed for a very long time!