- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Township intervening in wind case; Penn Forest makes decision after company files appeal

The Penn Forest Township board of supervisors has decided to intervene in Atlantic Wind LLC’s case to build a wind turbine farm in the township.

At the opening of the board’s monthly meeting Monday, Supervisor Scott Lignore made a motion to ask township solicitor Thomas Nanovic to file the necessary documents to intervene into a suit recently filed against Atlantic Wind.

Nanovic said the board made the decision because of the wind company’s attempt to remove the township’s zoning hearing board from the equation.

“The board has always said that the decision on the application of Atlantic Wind lies with the zoning hearing board, where it should be,” Nanovic said. “It is clear that Atlantic Wind wants to take the matter out of the zoning hearing board’s hands. And for that reason the board has asked me to file the necessary papers to intervene in the objector’s case.”

Last month Atlantic Wind LLC claimed that its special exception zoning application to build up to 37 wind turbines and ancillary buildings in Penn Forest Township was “deemed approved” due to the township’s zoning hearing board’s failure to schedule additional public hearings in a timely fashion.

The zoning hearing board disagreed with Atlantic Wind’s assumption, and scheduled and held a public hearing on May 17. At that time the zoning hearing board closed the record and issued a ruling denying the application.

On May 22, Phillip Malitsch and Christopher Mangold, opposing the application, filed a suit in the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas appealing Atlantic Wind’s claim of a deemed approval.Atlantic Wind also has a case pending before the Commonwealth Court appealing Carbon County Judge Steven R. Serfass’ ruling which denied its request to appoint an independent hearing office in place of the township’s zoning hearing board.

Another wind matter

Resident Marcus Laurence addressed the board expressing gratitude that the board has agreed to intervene in the objector’s appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

However, Laurence revisited a subject which he has brought up and for which he has shown great passion.

Following the filing of the application before the zoning hearing board, Laurence addressed the board of supervisors regarding the wind turbine ordinance in the township’s municipal code.

Laurence had prepared a 12-page revision of the ordinance and has argued that while Penn Forest’s current ordinance is “robust” compared to many other townships, many of which don’t even address wind turbines, it is not enough based on “newer” and more “current” scientific data.

Laurence said he is aware that these changes would not apply to the current application of Atlantic Wind.

But he said he would still like the opportunity to move forward to present his revisions to the planning commission to get the ball rolling toward getting the changes approved.

Nanovic advised the board to wait, fearing that any change now would be in response to what is ongoing with Atlantic Wind.

Laurence said he appreciated Nanovic’s position, but requested that the board consider rejecting Nanovic’s advice and permit the review of the ordinance to proceed.

“I hear you and I understand where you are coming from. I’m with you,” Lignore said.

“Give us a chance to discuss this and we will address your request at the next board meeting.”