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Arguments heard in wind turbine zoning suit

Judge Steven Serfass held oral arguments on the Penn Forest zoning hearing board’s preliminary objections to Atlantic Wind’s suit requesting that the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas order a change of venue and appoint an independent hearing officer to replace the zoning board hearing its application for a wind turbine farm in the township.

Zoning board attorney Matt Rapa did not object to the change of venue but said there was no precedent for the court to grant the applicant’s request to appoint an independent hearing officer.

Atlantic Wind’s counsel argued that in light of the threats made, mainly on a private Facebook page, that the zoning board members could not be fair and objective and that the applicant was being deprived of its right to due process.

Serfass questioned whether the applicant would have the same problem even if an independent hearing officer was appointed by the court. Serfass gave Rapa 14 days to file any additional case law in support of the zoning board and gave Atlantic Wind seven days to respond.

The earliest a decision would be made would be sometime in mid to late January.