Proposed zoning text amendments for wind energy conversion systems regarding bonding and interference issues (PDF)

Zoning code text amendments proposed in September (PDF)

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday resumed discussion of the bonding and interference policies related to potential commercial or industrial wind energy installations.

Bill Duvall, commission chairman, said he’ll feel more “comfortable” once he knows which wind energy company provided information to County Planning Coordinator Phil Hager. Hager said a wind energy company had submitted “the preponderance” of what Hager presented during the commission’s monthly business meeting.

At issue is the bond amount the county could require wind energy companies to post. Hager presented a draft proposal to the county’s zoning text that would require a $150,000 bond until an abandoned wind turbine has been taken down and the land restored similar to its original condition.

The proposed electromagnetic interference provisions would require the builder to prepare an interference analysis at the company’s expense. The analysis would have to conform to the county’s established guidelines and would be provided to regional public safety agencies, radio stations, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration.

There is, Hager said, “a vested interest on the part of the applicant to make sure there is not interference.”

If there are substantiated claims of interference from any stakeholder — whether a group of nearby residents, business interest or a government body — the wind energy company would be required to take action. The wind turbine in question could be shut down on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the complaints received.

Hager initially provided the bonding issue information. Duvall asked Hager where the information had originated.

“One of the wind energy companies provided actual data” on both issues, Hager said.

Duvall asked for the name of the company but Hager said the company had indicated a preference to remain confidential until any amendments to the county zoning code reach the public hearing stage.

“I can provide that (information) to you under a confidential heading,” Hager told commission members. “If it’s necessary, they can, in advance” testify but would prefer not to because the information is “proprietary” and potentially sensitive.

Hager said if the information was given to the commission, no member would be permitted to distribute it to the public.

“That sounds good,” said commission member Lois Crossland as Ted Robinette echoed consent.

In a break between the meeting and a public hearing on the request to rezone 104 acres north of Midland in the planned Miller Bottom Industrial Complex, Duvall said he’d like to “see the source it came from.”

“The public has as much a right to know as anybody,” Duvall said, noting the information could be “dead-on factual or biased as all get-out.”

At the direction of the commission, Hager and county staff will compile all of the recently discussed elements, including bonding, interference and proposed setbacks from schools and residential areas, to a single document. That report could be ready by the commission’s Dec. 17 meeting.

The proposed bonding information and interference regulations can be viewed online at

The continuation of the public hearing on the rezoning request by Braddock Construction continued past the press deadline for the Times-News.

Kevin Spradlin can be reached at

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