Balto. Co. supports wind power

Planners to draft rules for home windmills

July 08, 2008|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,Sun reporter

An effort to allow windmills to be used to provide power to individual houses in parts of Baltimore County won support from county lawmakers last night.

The resolution, introduced by Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, directs the county Planning Board to propose amendments that would regulate the location and use of windmills for residential energy. The measure passed unanimously.

"They're not appropriate in every location, including a typical neighborhood where the closest house might only be 15 feet away," Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat, said before last night's meeting.

But he said he hoped the regulations would encourage residents living on larger properties to consider wind power. The legislation comes as a zoning commissioner considers the request of a northern Baltimore County couple who want to erect a windmill as part of their plan to build a "green" home that draws energy from renewable sources.

In the county, a windmill is now considered an accessory structure, subject to the same restrictions as structures such as sheds. Property owners must get a variance if the turbine is taller than 15 feet.

In other business, county lawmakers authorized giving $250,000 in county funds and supported an additional state grant of $450,000 to remodel the Towson offices of ViPS, a health software company that employs about 450 people. As part of the deal, the owner of the Towson Commons complex, where ViPS is located, will contribute $900,000 toward the $1.6 million cost of expanding and remodeling the offices.

The council also approved the reappointment of Dr. Gregory William Branch as the county's acting health officer and is allowing a proposed age-restricted condominium complex in Catonsville to use a planned unit development process.

Because of its summer schedule, the council meets next in a work session July 29. During that meeting, members are scheduled to consider possible increases in parking fines, zoning regulations in the Back River Neck area and two proposals about the county's rental registration program.

One of the proposals, co-sponsored by all seven council members, would extend the deadline for property owners to have their rental units inspected, and another, by Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, a north county Republican, would end the program.

laura.barnhardt@baltsun.com

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