Articles from Pennsylvania
Four Mount Joy Township supervisors on Thursday deadlocked on motions to grant or deny a conditional use permit to the 75-megawatt solar project from NextEra Energy. Supervisor David Updyke, who holds leases with NextEra, was absent. By default, the permit was denied.
The bill would require not only a greater amount of alternative energy in Pennsylvania but also increase solar's footprint to 7.5% for in-state grid-scale solar and 2.5% for in-state distributed solar generation. It would also get the Public Utility Commission to study a state renewable energy storage program, which would allow for more resiliency during the night and when the wind isn't blowing. And it would also seek to limit the costs of electricity increasing.
“If there are not limits placed on utility-scale solar projects, it will consume all of the remaining really great land in New Jersey,” said Susan Payne, executive director of New Jersey’s State Agriculture Development Committee. “I mean, it’s existential at that point.” ...On farms that have already been preserved, states must determine whether landowners can add solar arrays. And on farms that aren’t protected, preservationists could find themselves racing to get there before solar developers do.
“My basic concern is economics. Why are we doing it? These smaller solar things where you put it on the house, or on the side of the house, they make sense,” he says. “When they start these 2,000-acre projects and they take prime ag land, it makes no sense.” “We can’t do it if we're going to be in the dairy business,” Zuber adds. “If we’re going to be in the dairy business, where are we going to go with the manure? Not every farmer will allow manure on their ground.”
Zoning to allow a large windmill farm atop the Broad Mountain in Packer Twp. was denied Tuesday afternoon by the township zoning board. The board voted 3-0 to deny a special exception to the township zoning ordinance to operate the wind farm, and to deny three zoning variances associated with such an operation.
The long-delayed hearings for Broad Mountain Power’s windmill farm proposal before Packer Township’s zoning hearing board resumed Aug. 31.
Carbon County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven R. Serfass has denied a land use appeal filed by Atlantic Wind LLC and the Bethlehem Authority, seeking to erect a wind turbine project in Penn Forest Township.
A Carbon County judge has sided with two property owners who appealed the construction of 37 wind turbines on Bethlehem Authority-owned property, arguing the structures would be too loud and ruin their property values. The judge also ruled that a special exception the turbine company, Atlantic Wind LLC, was seeking should be vacated because Atlantic Wind failed to show the project will comply with Penn Forest Township zoning codes.
In a 61-page opinion Judge Steven R. Serfass wrote, “Atlantic Wind has failed to demonstrate that the sound produced by the proposed wind turbines will not exceed 45 A-weighted decibels and that there will be only one principal use on the proposed project area. Atlantic Wind has failed to meet its burden of persuasion that the proposed wind turbine project will comply with all the objective requirements for special exception to the granted under the Penn Forest Township Zoning Ordinance.”
Anders asked for Rand’s conclusions. Rand prepared a 32-page report, submitted to the board. His summary is that, with the rules of Packer Township stating the turbines’ noise “shall not exceed 50 decibels” at the property line, “noise levels are certain to be exceeded.” He sees the proposed turbines for the Broad Mountain Power project as “too big and too loud.”
VALLEY VIEW – The Hegins Township Planning Commission on Thursday did not make a decision, but instead, continued its public hearing on a curative amendment to the township zoning ordinance.
The complaint argues, in part, that the county zoning ordinance presently allows wind turbines as a permitted use in the I-C (industrial/commercial) and C-M (conservation/mining) districts. As such, the county commissioners “cannot declare the zoning ordinance substantively invalid regarding wind turbines,” because their use is provided for in the county zoning ordinance, according to the complaint.
Losses of regional birds hit us hardest. Few people may have noticed that we have been seeing fewer indigo bunting, scarlet tanager, ovenbird or rufus-sided towhee. They live in heavy cover and never have been very numerous. But when we look at typical backyard birds like dark-eyed junco, whose population slipped back 175 million individuals, or the white-throated sparrow, which declined by 93 million individual birds, this hits home.
On Sept. 4, the Schuylkill County Commissioners adopted a resolution declaring portions of the county zoning ordinance to be “substantively invalid.” When the ordinance was last revised in 2010, business ventures such as natural gas compression stations, growing and dispensing facilities for medical marijuana and wind turbines didn’t exist locally. ...During a workshop meeting Wednesday, the Schuylkill County commissioners met that first 30-day requirement by adopting a resolution called “Specific Findings Curative Amendment, presented by Glenn Roth, county solicitor’s office.
FISHERTOWN — A Massachusetts-based energy company is studying the potential for wind turbines on the ridges in East St. Clair, Bedford and South Woodbury townships.
The end of the Broad Mountain Power’s presentations was set for Aug. 14 at the Packer Township Zoning Hearing Board’s eighth hearing on Broad Mountain’s proposed wind turbine farm atop Broad Mountain, held Monday night.
"From the time I was three years old I lived here," Hinkle said. "We have a nice peaceful valley, we don't want some kind of chaos, first of all the construction of it, and the look of it, to destroy the scenery." County Commissioner Tom Gerhard has his concerns too. "I am 110% opposed to the project," Gerhard said.
In the appeal, Debra A. Shulski and Edward J. Greene, attorneys for Atlantic Wind, call the zoning board’s denial of its second application “arbitrary and capricious,” saying that the zoning hearing board “improperly discriminated against Atlantic Wind and held Atlantic Wind to a stricter standard than mandated or permitted by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, the Zoning Ordinance or Pennsylvania case law.”
According to the decision filed Jan. 30, the board found that overall, Atlantic Wind failed to produce sufficient evidence and did not show that the project would comply with the Penn Forest Zoning Ordinance. The application sought to construct 28 nearly 600-foot-tall industrial wind turbines in the township.