This court decision concerns the land use appeal initiated by Phillip Malitsch and Christopher Mangold against a Notice of Deemed Approval assumed by Atlantic Wind for a project in Bethlehem, PA. Penn Forest Township and Atlantic Wind each filed to present additional evidence against the appeal, providing testimony on project infrastructure and turbine noise. The court raised concerns regarding Atlantic Wind's inexact turbine noise predictions and the project's negative impacts on the area's potable water supply. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and vacated the Notice of Deemed Approval, and denied the special exceptions Atlantic Wind had requested. Portions of the court decision are cited below. The entire decision can be accessed by selecting the document link on this page.
Documents filed under Legal from Pennsylvania
Atlantic Wind (aka Iberdrola) filed a complaint on September 26, 2016 (amended on November 7, 2016) before the Pennsylvania Carbon County Court of Common Pleas arguing that the venue to hear its Bethlehem Watershed wind turbine proposal was unsafe and that the location should be changed and an independent hearing officer appointed. Atlantic Wind alleged that threats of violence by the public impacted the company's ability to receive a fair hearing before the Township zoning board. Atlantic Wind also requested an injunction barring the zoning board from holding further hearings until the court could rule. In this ruling the Court of Common Pleas ruled against Atlantic Wind. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. A portion of the order is provided below.
This important ruling by a panel of three Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court judges reverses a county judge's order that allowed PPM Atlantic Renewable (now Iberdrola Renewables) to construct the South Chestnut Windpower Project in southern Fayette County, PA. The project consists of 24 turbines, each standing 425 feet tall. Ths week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the reversal. The decision, issued on May 20, 2014, upheld minimum setbacks from all property lines, not just participating landowners involved in the project (eliminating participating vs non-participating property owners), due to safety issues. It also upheld that sound studies and bat studies must be completed to allow the project to be built. Despite the appeal process continuing, Iberdrola went ahead and erected the turbines but the project was built without the proper permits and approximately 14-15 of the turbines are out of compliance with the setback restrictions. The facts in this case as affirmed by the Supreme Court are provided below. The three court decisions issued by the lower courts and the Supreme Court can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This 18-page opinion and order issued by a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel upheld county Judge Charles M. Miller's ruling that the zoning permit issued to Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC was correctly revoked by Butler Township. Broad Mountain sought permission to construct 20-28 wind turbines in the township. The panel found the developer did not have the right to the permit because wind turbines were not allowed in a Woodland-Conservation zoning district in the township. In addition, the panel ruled that the citizens who opposed the building of the windmills filed a timely appeal of Broad Mountain's original permit, and the company did not acquire a vested right to the permit, according to the opinion written by Judge P. Kevin Brobson.