A proposal to build windmills on Laurel Ridge in Upper Yoder Township has neighbors torn.
“The windmills are definitely a devastation to our conservation,” said Sue Konvolinka, who lives near the proposed windmill site.
“I don’t think it would affect the property values that much and I don’t believe the noise this far away would impact the people,” said Wilber Shirey, whose family lives near the proposed site.
Tuesday, the Greater Johnstown Water Authority (GJWA) signed an agreement with Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) to lease watershed land to build about ten windmills. Authority officials said the deal will bring in more than $200,000 a year, which will reduce costs for customers.
The authority will have to raise rates to pay for two unfunded repairs at the North Fork dam and the Dalton Run dam mandated by the Department of Environment Protection. The repairs will cost more than $20 million over the next ten years.
“That’s a big expense for us. A very big expense,” said William Gleason Barbin, the GJWA solicitor.
The windmills would sit along the Laurel Ridge just above the Dalton Run Reservoir land. Red signs that read “Stop CPV – Laurel Ridge Industrial Wind Project” are scattered along Route 271.
“It would actually be a detriment to the top of our mountain,” said Konvolinka.
It could still be years before the windmills are built, if at all. Township ordinances, a lack of wind, or environmental factors could prevent construction.
In the meantime, protestors are talking with local officials. They formed the Save Laurel Ridge group and are planning a public meeting in December to discuss the impact of the windmills.
“I would be in favor of it, yes. I think I would be if it were handled right,” Shirey said.
“We need to make sure that every single person in this community is informed before they say yes or no,” said Konvolinka.