After months of debate, plans to bring wind turbines to North East Township are officially moving forward.
Tonight, township supervisors approved an ordinance that will allow the construction process to begin. The decision was met with mixed emotion at the North East Township building.
As it stands right now, the company Pioneer Green Energy will build up to a dozen 500 foot turbines around the area of Side Hill Road. But, there must be certain setbacks or buffer zones between the turbines and other property lines. Depending on where the turbines are built, they must have anywhere from 550 to 1,500 feet of buffer space.
"We just feel that the setbacks are adequate," said Pioneer Green Energy Development Manager Johnny Walker. "They're a lot stiffer than all of your existing projects that are on the ground spinning in PA."
Some opponents say that stricter rules are needed.
"There's a lot of ordinances in the country that have a lot more stringent ordinances as far as setbacks," said Matt Putman. "We just feel it's going to be a detriment to properties and the effects of wind turbines that people will have to deal with."
While some supporters think the proposed regulations are fair.
"I think it's a pretty strong ordinance," said Steve Porter. "I think the setbacks are longer than most of the comparable ordinances around PA."
According to North East Supervisor Vernon Frye, the decision comes after hundreds of hours of review.
"I think it tells us we are doing our job," said Frye. "Both sides are not 100% happy with the proposed ordinance, so I feel we are doing our due diligence."
Construction is expected to begin within the next several months.