"Stop Killing Bats," read one sign displayed by the protesters. Their biggest sign, draped over the road by a construction vehicle, declared, "Constellation is a bad neighbor!!"
The banner was placed there by Eric Robison, a contractor who claims construction workers blocked his driveway as intimidation after he complained about problems with the turbine project, including insufficient erosion control that led to a state-ordered construction halt in 2010. A Constellation spokesman, Kevin Thornton, rejected Robison's claims.
Robison was joined by Jeffery Conner, an accountant and farmer who says wind energy does not justify the tax incentives offered for such projects. Conner, who lives 25 miles away, said he can clearly see the turbines from his home — an unwelcome sight. Each turbine consists of a 262-foot tower with a diameter of roughly 20 feet. When one of the three massive blades points upward, the tip is 415 above the ground.
"I have a million-dollar view on my farm," Conner said. "Now all you see is blinking lights at night. That's the most disturbing part."
But to others, the view is just fine.
Beitzel said he can see six turbines from his front porch 15 miles away. "I personally don't find them offensive," he said. "It's unique, almost like an airplane propeller setting up there."
Bill and Pauline Kalwa have leased part of their 254-acre property to Constellation, which acquired the project last year from a California-based company, for the site of one turbine. The couple, whose primary residence is in White Marsh, also enthusiastically agreed to set aside 30 acres for an endangered mouse-like rodent called the rock vole.
The Kalwas believe wind power has great promise as a renewable energy source, and they appreciate the monthly royalty check from Constellation. Both also happen to be quite fond of the turbines' alien appearance.
Pauline Kalwa said they remind her of pterodactyls — in a good way. And her husband gushes when talking about the mesmerizing machines.
"I could sit here and stare at them all day," he said. To him they call to mind "big birds gliding in the breeze." He added, "You probably think I'm nuts."