Members of the Reading Township Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday night to deny a zoning variance for the construction of a meteorological tower.
The tower would be used for wind resource assessments.
James Galloway, in partnership with Own Energy, applied for the zoning variance and sought permission to construct the meteorological tower. The construction of the tower is the first step in the possible construction of wind turbines, according to the development manager at Own Energy, James Damon.
Damon said information gathered from a meteorological tower is needed to determine whether or not the location is suitable for a wind energy farm.
Dustin Wheeler made the motion to deny the variance request. He said the board believes the party seeking to construct the tower should apply for a conditional-use permit from the planning commission.
“I truly believe they should ask for a conditional-use permit rather than a variance,” said Wheeler. “That’s is my interpretation.”
Wheeler said he believed a variance was requested in the previous construction of a meteorological tower because no language in the township ordinances addresses such structures. However, he said the board doesn’t believe that is now the right procedural process.
The board did decide to allow a $250 paid variance application to be applied to the application for a conditional-use permit, if pursued.
The decision comes after consultation with the township’s attorney, Kevin Shirk. Two weeks ago, the board tabled a vote on the issue after a public hearing raised concerns regarding the procedures of granting a zoning variance.
“The wrong paperwork was filled out,” said Wheeler. “It’s not the fault of anyone.”
Members of the board made it clear that the only reason they denied the application was because the wrong permit was submitted.
If Galloway and Own Energy want to pursue plans of constructing a meteorological tower, they will now have to apply for a conditional-use permit through the planning commission.
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