By. Neil Williamson
In yesterday’s (5/6) BOS meeting, the board held a joint meeting with the Albemarle County Planning Commission to discuss the potential of allowing power generating wind turbines to be built in Albemarle County. As a matter of record, the Free Enterprise Forum has testified in support of wind turbines for personal power generation.
Near the end of the discussion, Supervisor David Slutzky mentioned that the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors should not get hung up on their individual definition of aesthetics.
To his way of thinking (I am paraphrasing from my notes), when he sees a cell tower, he sees a big corporation making money. When he sees a wind turbine, it is more aesthetically pleasing as he sees someone that is trying to be environmentally sensitive.
Beyond the corporate economic benefit Mr. Slutzky cited, properly placed cell towers increase coverage area and increase safety of the traveling public.
Today, cell towers must be painted in a manner to help them blend into the landscape. The Free Enterprise Forum believes both cell and wind turbine towers have equal visual impact. We encourage the Planning Commission and Board to use the same visual mitigation requirements for both.
As we look across the landscape, we fail to see the aesthetic difference Mr. Slutzky described. A tower by any other name will be as tall.