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Ashland Mountain windmill project nixed  

Credit:  By Peter E. Bortner, republicanherald.com 22 July 2011 ~~

A Gilberton company on Wednesday lost its final attempt to build a wind turbine project on Ashland Mountain in Butler Township.

In a one-sentence order, the state Supreme Court declined to allow Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC to appeal the revocation of its zoning permit to build the wind turbines, more commonly called windmills.

The order did not give a reason for the court’s decision not to allow the appeal.

The high court’s decision leaves intact a March decision by a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel that had upheld county Judge Charles M. Miller’s ruling against Broad Mountain Development.

The company had sought to build 27 windmills along the mountain. Such windmills have been constructed on top of several mountains in northern Schuylkill County, and are used to generate electricity.

Township Zoning Officer Thomas Squires issued the permit to the company Feb. 4, 2008, at the request of John D. Rampolla, Broad Mountain Development’s secretary-treasurer.

However, the township Zoning Hearing Board revoked the permit July 29, 2009, ruling Squires did not have the authority to issue it because a wind farm is not a permitted use in a Woodland Conservation (W-C) zoning district.

Broad Mountain Development appealed that ruling to the county court on Aug. 25, 2009, but Miller upheld the township’s decision on May 28, 2010. Miller ruled that citizens who objected to the project had filed a timely appeal to the board, thereby preventing the company from acquiring a vested right to the permit.

In its opinion, the Commonwealth Court panel ruled that Miller was correct in his reasoning that the citizens had a direct and substantial interest in the proposed windmill project, thereby giving them the right to intervene in the case.

Source:  By Peter E. Bortner, republicanherald.com 22 July 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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