PENN FOREST TWP., Pa. – It was standing-room-only in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County.
No more testimony, just dozens of people waiting to hear one response from the zoning board which was that Atlantic Wind’s application had been denied. The unanimous decision brought applause from the crowd.
Atlantic Wind proposed building more than 20 wind turbines on 260 acres of land owned by the Bethlehem Authority. The turbines would have been on the ridges above the reservoir and also close to some homes near Hatchery Road.
“The zoning hearing board does not think this was an appropriate use for the property in the residential area where it is located,” said Penn Forest Township zoning board member Paul Fogal.
The zoning board heard plenty of testimony over the last two years. Some say they feel the turbines would disrupt wildlife, create noise problems, and destroy drinking water in the area.
“If you don’t have clean water, then you might as well pick up and leave,” said township resident Alan Ingrassia.
The Bethlehem Authority would lease the land to Atlantic Wind and says it’s done impact studies as well.
“The authority is supportive of renewable energy projects. We believe it can work in the watershed without any negative impacts on the water supply,” said Bethlehem Authority executive director Stephen Repasch.
The latest denial by the zoning board is the second for Atlantic Wind. The company says it’s disappointed in the decision and is evaluating its next steps.
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