Residents to appeal windmill

120-foot structure has been OK'd for Phoenix yard

July 24, 2008|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,SUN REPORTER

Several Phoenix residents are appealing a decision by the Baltimore County zoning board that would allow a couple to build a 120-foot windmill on their property.

Neighbors say the windmill that Barry and Urszuela Antonelli hope to construct on their 97-acre property on Cooper Road would be an eyesore and would decrease their property values.

"It's the equivalent of having a 12-story structure in your backyard," said John Reistrup, a marketing executive and one of the neighbors who is filing the appeal. "We bought our house specifically for the view."

On Friday, Deputy Zoning Commissioner Thomas H. Bostwick issued an opinion approving the Antonellis' request. The county does not have formal guidelines pertaining to windmills and considers them accessory structures - similar to garages or sheds - which need approval if they are taller than 15 feet.

This month, the County Council passed a resolution directing the Planning Board to propose amendments that would govern windmills on larger residential tracts. Neighboring Carroll County allows homeowners to build two 150-foot-tall wind turbines on their properties.

The Antonellis say they want the windmill as part of their plan to maintain an ecologically beneficial home, heated and cooled by geothermal energy and powered by wind and solar panels.

Reistrup, his wife and two other families are appealing on grounds that the county did not prove that the Antonellis would suffer a hardship if they were not able to construct the windmill and that the turbine would interfere with views and property values.

J. Carroll Holzer, a lawyer representing the opponents, said the appeal would be filed today with the county's Permits and Development Management department.

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