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Luzerne County Court denies appeal for wind farm

An appeal filed by a firm hoping to erect wind turbines in the area was denied recently by Luzerne County Court.

EDF Renewable Energy filed the appeal after the Foster Township Zoning Hearing Board rejected its application for a special exception to erect up to 25 windmills in parts of Upper Lehigh, Sandy Valley and Eckley.

In his ruling, issued Nov. 18, Judge William H. Amesbury wrote that the court “finds neither an abuse of discretion nor error of law” by the zoning hearing board in its denial of the special exception permit.

EDF applied for the special exception in January 2014 to allow a wind farm with turbines, associated roads, cables and a substation.

Three hearings followed, with the zoning board rejecting such a land use in those parts of the township. Opponents said the turbines would be injurious to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhoods, and argued that noise could cause sleeping and mental health issues.

The special exception was denied in December 2014 after the board determined the wind turbines were not compatible with other permitted uses in the zoning districts where EDF proposed putting them. In addition, the board found that the site plan submitted by the company wasn’t specific enough to comply with requirements.

In the recent denial, Amesbury wrote, “To the contrary, (EDF) reasonably explained the failure to provide the necessary information and site plans to meet the objective criteria of Foster Township’s zoning ordinance.”