Planners to vote on wind turbines

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The Logan Township Planning Commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a request to expand the wind zone so turbines can be built above Avalon Road north of Altoona

The vote, in the form of a recommendation, will be a key factor for supervisors to consider when they address the request in January.

Supervisors, who met Nov. 13, nine days after the commission hosted a public hearing on the issue, declined to say if they’ve reached a decision on how they will vote.

Supervisors Chairman Frank Meloy said he would not do that without sufficient information. He and fellow supervisors agree they are waiting on the commission’s recommendations.

The commission has been involved in the wind zone from the beginning.

Two current supervisors, Joe Metzgar and Ed Frontino, are former commission members who were involved in studying the subject and proposed the ordinance designating the Chestnut Flats area south of Route 36 as suitable for wind turbines.

They were on the supervisors board that later asked the commission to come up with some measures to refine the ordinance, including rules to strengthen the township’s position if noise issues develop.

Representatives for Gamesa Energy USA have told the township that they cannot build a financially successful wind farm inside the zone.

The latest plan shows 17 turbines inside the zone and eight more outside on land that the Altoona City Authority owns.

If built, the project will provide Logan Township with an estimated $75,000 annually and the authority with a lease payment.

Residents in the Avalon Road area have registered their opposition, both in writing and at the public hearing, to the proposed wind farm that they fear will create noise and ruin the appearance of their rural environment.

At the recent public hearing, more than two dozen people spoke, most of them in opposition.

Gamesa representatives have pledged to work with the township and have posted on the township’s Web site computer-generated pictures of what the turbines would look like from different locations.

Those interested in larger versions of the photographs can stop at the township office during regular hours.

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