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Sugarloaf Twp. considers various energy ordinances

In response to residents’ concerns over endeavors in the power industry, Sugarloaf Township is considering four new ordinances.

Supervisor John “Jack” Wittig said the township planning commission will meet with the supervisors after the commission’s work session at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 to discuss the composition of ordinances for residential and commercial wind turbines, gas well drilling, outdoor wood burners and solar panels.

Wittig said there are several petitions in the township opposing gas well drilling and although the township can’t prevent drilling within the municipality, it can ban drilling in heavily residential and commercial areas to ease people’s concerns for quality-of-life issues.

Wittig was unsure of how many people actually signed the petition.

Some Sugarloaf residents already use wood-burning stoves to lower their homes’ heating costs and there haven’t been any smoke complaints yet from residents. However, Wittig said, the township should have an ordinance in place regulating how far away from homes wood burners should be to prevent future nuisances.

Likewise, several residents have showed interest in using solar panels to offset electric costs, and Wittig said the township also should regulate them.

And though Sugarloaf doesn’t have a commercial wind turbine farm yet, as wind turbines become more prevalent, the township needs an ordinance that protects residents, Wittig said.

Prior to talking about the new ordinances, the planning commission will review new plans for an electrical substation in Sugarloaf that will collect wind-generated energy from a proposed turbine farm in two nearby townships.

Penn Wind LLC, of Sunbury, plans to build 22 wind turbines on Buck Mountain in Black Creek and Beaver townships. The turbines will be 425 feet tall from the base to the tip of the blades.


Though Sugarloaf Township has enough money in its uniform and nonuniform pension plans, Supervisor Chairman Robert Stanziola said the township will pay an extra $300 each month into both plans in 2011 to ensure the retirement accounts are properly funded.

The supervisors initiated the change when it approved signing the 2011 minimum municipal obligation for pensions at its meeting Tuesday. MMO budget totals are $33,794 for the uniform fund and $25,947 for the nonuniform fund.


The supervisors agreed to apply for a highway occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the Sheetz convenience store to be built at the intersection of Sugarloaf Avenue and state Route 93. The township already approved plans for the store development.

Sheetz also is adding a turning lane to enter and exit the store on Sugarloaf Avenue and as a result will modify the curb radius there, engineer Steven J. Lyncha said.