November 8, 2012

Windmills maybe on the horizon

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor | The Citizen Standard | November 8, 2012 |

VALLEY VIEW – The possibility of windmills being erected in the township has surfaced once again.

Hegins Township Zoning Officer Allan Swab reported to the township supervisors and the public at a meeting Monday evening that BP Wind Energy is applying for permits to erect windmills during the first quarter of next year.

Swab said he felt this was a sneak attack. He said he asked Supervisor Brad Carl to accompany him in his office one evening to address questions over the phone with a representative of BP Wind Energy.

“I was caught off guard with the questions and asked Carl to help address the answers.

Swab also said a variance hearing will be coming up shortly. He said he is waiting on applications from their Massachusetts office. According to Swab, the company wants to erect a temporary meteorological test tower behind Kushwa.

Swab said BP is also reapplying for renewal permits for the current meteorological test towers they have in place now. One is located on top of the mountain just behind the township building and the other is on the top of the mountain near Lambertson.

“We need to do everything in our power to make sure these windmills are going to be as far away from property lines and as far away as safety wise so no one is affected by them on a safety standpoint,” said Supervisor Chad Richards.

According to Township Solicitor David Rattigan, the ordinance the township passed in 2010 as far as wind energy safety is as good as it can get.

Rattigan also told the supervisors that under the current ordinance, the supervisors have the right to hire an expert consultant who will help the zoning officer and code enforcement officer to evaluate and review with them.

Rattigan suggested the supervisor should speak with Alfred Benesch and Company to determine if they have an expert within their company or if they would know someone. He said the person should have experience with the technical aspects of health and safety ordinances. Rattigan said it will cost the township money, but there are fee provisions by application that will cover the cost.

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