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Wind-energy, solar panel ordinance passed

June 17, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

The Washington County Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to pass an ordinance that allows small wind-energy systems and solar panels in all Washington County zoning districts with limits on size, placement and other factors.

The ordinance amends the county's zoning ordinance, which does not apply in Hagerstown or incorporated municipalities.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said he voted against the ordinance because he disagreed with the other commissioners' decision to allow wind-energy systems in front yards as long as they are set back a certain distance from the property line. Kercheval said he anticipated the county would get complaints from residents unhappy about having wind-energy systems in front yards, regardless of the setback.

The county's regulations were developed from a sample ordinance recommended by the state. They authorize only small wind-energy systems, defined as systems less than 150 feet tall with capacities of 50 kilowatts or less.

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