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Bethel zoners reject wind turbine plan

The Bethel Township Zoning Hearing Board voted 3-0 Wednesday night to deny a zoning variance for a wind turbine at a residence along Myer Drive.

Larry Levan had proposed building a 54-foot-tall wind turbine on his property to generate electricity for his home in the 100 block.

The zoning ordinance does not permit a structure taller than 35 feet in the agricultural preservation zoning district, which is where Levan’s house is located.

Levan said he needed the extra height so that the wind turbine would be above the trees surrounding his property.

“Electricity rates are supposed to go way up, and I’ve been wanting to do this for 30 years anyway,” he told the board. “I thought now is the time to do it.”

He has lived on the property for 35 years, he said.

A neighbor, Judy Apgar of Little Mountain Road, was also at the hearing to learn more about Levan’s plan.

“It doesn’t make any difference to me,” she said of the proposal.

Zoning board member C. Eugene Siegrist told Levan that an alternative energy ordinance dealing with wind turbines is currently being developed that would allow for turbines up to 45 feet high.

Levan told him that an extra 10 feet would still be needed to get above the trees on his property.

Levan did not say if he would appeal the decision, but that he would wait for the board’s letter of explanation, since the board members did not explain at the meeting why the variance wasn’t granted.

Also, the board voted to grant a variance for Richard Blatt of Lancaster Avenue to allow an automotive repair business on his property along Cabin Lane.

He needed a variance because the Cabin Lane property is in an agricultural preservation zoning district.

The variance was approved on the condition that he starts construction of a previously approved home in six months and that he is living on the property within 18 months.

Board members said Blatt will probably need to reapply for a building permit.