A decision to recommend a public hearing to gauge residents’ views on construction of windmills in the county was reached during a May 23 meeting of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors’ Windmill Committee. Bob Martin and Josh Hendrick, the only supervisors attending the meeting, agreed to recommend the public hearing during the board of supervisors’ next scheduled meeting on June 11. The hearing should be advertised “at least 30 days,” said Martin, and Hendrick concurred.
“I have been deluged with phone calls and e-mails asking when are we going to have a public hearing,” said Martin.
“I’ve had a lot of people approach me, some saying ‘I’m for it’ and others saying ‘I’m against it’,” added Hendrick. “I think before we think about an ordinance, we need to have a public hearing so we can figure out what the people in the county want. There’s no need for an ordinance if nobody wants it.”
The biggest concern Martin and Hendrick expressed dealt with the setback distance required for the windmills. There can be no structures in the setback zone.
Martin said that a recent article he read stated that Canada required a 1,250-feet setback on each side of a windmill. “That raised a red flag with me,” he said, adding it would be hard to find an area that wouldn’t affect county citizens.
Hendrick said it was his understanding that the setback needed to “three times the height of the windmill. If the windmill is 300-feet tall, you need 900 (feet of setback), if it’s 400-feet tall, you need 1,200 feet.”
“Setbacks are going to pose a problem,” Hendrick continued. “There would be multiple parcels of land for each windmill. Not only would a release be required for each parcel of land, but there could be no future building.”
Thus far, most of the windmill attention has been focused on Stoots Mountain. According to landowners in the area, they have been approached by representatives of EDP Renewables/Horizon Wind Energy. However, landowners on Popular Camp Mountain are now getting attention.
“Some company has already approached people on the far end of Popular Camp Mountain,” noted Martin, adding “You’ve got to have a line connecting those windmills to the Appalachian (Power) lines. If you look at it geographically, Popular Camp Mountain is just as viable for windmills as Stoots Mountain.”
However, Martin added that he, for one, wouldn’t like to see windmills there.
“My brother and I own land there. I’m not interested in a windmill for my property and neither is my brother. We got a couple of red-tailed hawks that have raised their young’uns there for the past 10 to 12 years. I have more interest in the red-tailed hawks than a red-tailed windmill.”