The review process for wind farms in Foster Township will spin into next month when the zoning board scheduled another hearing on the proposal of EDF Renewable Energy for 6 p.m. on Dec. 3.
EDF Renewable seeks a special exception to install a total of 25 turbines as tall as 525 feet on three parcels, according to an application signed by Doug Copeland of the company’s office in Philadelphia.
Since the zoning officer denied the company’s application Sept. 13, Foster’s zoning board met twice and the planning commission met three times about the proposal.
In the planners’ opinion, the wind turbine proposal doesn’t fit with the township’s comprehensive and land development plans.
EDF Renewable offered to keep turbines 1,200 feet away from homes and 577 feet from roads and power lines. There would be no setbacks from “signed parcels,” its application states.
To the application, EDF Renewable attached leases or approvals from four landowners: Genetti Partnership, Pagnotti Enterprises, Reading Materials and Freeland Water Authority.
The company is based in San Diego and has installed energy projects throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to Businessweek magazine.
Meanwhile, the Foster supervisors scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. on proposed ordinances that would regulate wind farms, solar energy farms, oil and gas operations, and timbering and forestry.
The proposed wind ordinance won’t affect the current application of EDF Renewable, which pre-dates the ordinance.
If the supervisors approve the ordinance and if the zoning board denies the application of EDF Renewable, however, the company would have to abide by the ordinance if it reapplied for zoning approval. The ordinance also would apply to any other companies that present proposals for wind farms in Foster later.
The ordinance limits wind farms to industrial zones.
Only one of the three parcels on which EDF Renewable wants to erect wind turbines is in an industrial zone.
Also, the ordinance would cap the height of towers at 450 feet rather than the 525 feet that EDF Renewable proposed. Where EDF Renewable would keep towers 1,200 feet from homes and lesser distances from roads and other property lines, the ordinance would require setbacks of 1,500 feet from all properties.
Sound from the turbines couldn’t exceed 55 decibels at boundaries of the wind farm, the ordinance states, whereas EDF Renewable would set that noise limit only along the boundaries of unsigned properties.
If the zoning board approves the application of EDF Renewable, the company would go through the land use process that requires approval of the supervisors before building the wind farm.
But if the zoners disapprove, EDF Renewable can reapply or appeal to Luzerne County Court.
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