September 7, 2018

Deadline set for Broad Mountain windmills

By Jim Dino | Republican Herald | September 7, 2018 |

HUDSONDALE – An international firm that wants to build large windmills on Broad Mountain faces a Sept. 19 deadline to appeal the denial of its application.

Martin Cichowic, the township’s zoning officer and building code official, told the supervisors Tuesday night he rejected the application from Broad Mountain Power of Milford, Delaware.

The firm, a subsidiary of Algonquin Power, doing business as Liberty Power, applied to build a 7,000-acre windmill farm that would be made up of 21 to 30 windmills ranging in size from 480 to 650 feet high, with an approximate rotor diameter of 360 to 492 feet. The turbines would generate between 80 and 90 megawatts of power. Eighty megawatts of electricity is enough to power 64,000 households.

“The township did in fact receive a zoning application for the construction of wind turbines,” Cichowic said. “The application was rejected. They have the right to appeal within 30 days of the rejection. That is pretty much where it is at.”

Cichowic denied the application because of a lack of information about the exact location and ownership of the land, the zoning districts, floodplain management, licenses, insurances, and accessory structures and buildings.

He said the application was submitted Aug. 16, and rejected “by certified registered mail” Aug. 19, giving the firm 30 days to appeal.

The announcement of the project spurred interest in township land, he said, as he received 64 calls on zoning during the last month.

“Of the 64 calls, 14 were from individuals and investment companies wondering if there were any large tracts of land available in the township,” Cichowic said. “Each caller was told the same thing – I am the zoning officer, BCO (building code official) for Packer Township. I am not a Realtor. Pretty much, the phone call ended at that point.”

This is the third proposal for windmills in the same area in the last seven years. Jay Gartlan, a wind energy developer, has been involved in all of the projects.

Four years ago, he said a firm called Creative Solutions, with offices in Washington, D.C., New York and Hawaii, applied to build a wind farm on 3,500 acres that would also generate 180 to 200 megawatts of power. The wind turbines would have been smaller than those in the current proposal.

In 2011, Enercon LLC, Gartlan’s firm, appeared before the supervisors and a group of residents to talk about a proposed $250 million project to erect wind turbines on about 3,500 acres. Those windmills also were expected to generate 180 to 200 megawatts of power.

Gartlan proposed 50- to 80-foot-high turbines, as opposed to the 200-foot-high turbines on Locust Mountain in Mahanoy and West Mahanoy townships.

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