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Wind farm project stalled because of zoning issues

A county zoning board in western Maryland rejected a real estate developer's application for a zoning variance. The owner of Dan's Mountain Wind Force was planning to build 17 wind-power turbines on Dan's Mountain near Cumberland. After the project was rejected in 2015, the developer filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. On March 7, Allegany County filed an objection to the developer's plan with the state Public Service Commission.

The first proposal for the wind-turbine project on Dan's Mountain came in 2001. Originally, the proposed project included 25 wind turbines. Allegany County has no other wind farms. In order for the project to proceed, county regulators would have to determine that existing land use rules do not apply to the wind farm project.

Those who oppose the plans for a wind farm on Dan's Mountain say that public health and property values in the area would be negatively affected by the installation of 17 tall wind turbines. Because land use rules vary from county to county, navigating this area of real estate law can be complicated for developers. A real estate developer may want to discuss its development plans with an attorney before purchasing a piece of property.

Even if there are local rules against commercial development in an area, real estate developers may apply for variances or special exceptions. A real estate attorney can often assist a developer with the process of applying for a zoning variance or exception. An attorney could also discuss the zoning issues that may affect a piece of property that a developer is considering purchasing.

Source: WTOP, "County opposes wind developer's bid to circumvent zoning," Associated Press, March 8, 2016

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