About 60 citizens turned out for the fifth session of the Packer Township Zoning Hearing Board’s hearing on the Broad Mountain Power LLC wind farm project, proposed for Kovatch-owned property on the hilltop between Nesquehoning and western Packer Township.
William Schneider, PE, director of Engineering Services for Schoener Environmental Inc. in Dickson City, presented the engineering plans for roads, parking, land disturbance during construction, the improved Dennison Road access from Nesquehoning, the power line from the substation on site to the PPL main power distribution line.
There was a discussion of dust control during construction.
Discussion revolved around the proposed route for towers and blades for the windmills could come to the site.
The preferred route is from Interstate 81’s exit south of McAdoo, onto Route 309 south to Hometown, then east on Route 54 to the access road.
An option was a trip that comes through Beaver Meadows on Route 93, then over Broad Mountain before coming through Nesquehoning to the site, and a third choice of coming onto Route 54 directly off the interstate.
Attorney Robert Yurchak, solicitor for Packer Township, said trucks are prohibited from this route.
He then added that when pieces of windmills were transported through Nesquehoning for the project near Mahanoy City, power and phone lines got pulled down by the oversized loads. Schneider answered the preferred route via Route 309 is likely the best.
Attorney Bruce Anders, who represents a group of property owners opposed to the project, asked Schneider, since tractor-trailers are not allowed on the Route 93, “why include it” as an option?
Schneider responded as an engineer – that the site could be accessed that way, then focused on the preferred route.
Questions covered a wide range, including the amount of land disturbed (a maximum of 290 acres); location of a maintenance building – off-site (a building with a garage, likely in Nesquehoning); and any fire access road, such as an extension of Fire Tower Road (not on the plan).
It was noted that the three weather measuring towers are listed, but details are not shown. The size of these are yet to be determined was the answer.
Anders questioned the timing of the plan submissions (late, not following the ordinance), and whether they are complete (missing information on easements). He also asked if any approvals are needed in Nesquehoning.
Attorney Greg Mousseau, representing the zoning hearing board, asked about the trucks and their loads. Schneider said he was not the person to ask.
Mousseau asked about the land disturbed in the process. The answer was the minimum amount necessary. Roads existing on the site will reduce disturbance.
Mousseau asked about a fire control plan, but Schneider could not answer.
Schneider said that Dennison Road would be improved to 50 feet wide, while others on site would be 36 feet if needed for cranes.
Roads on the site would be restored after construction to 16 feet.
Mousseau confirmed the maps and plans being discussed are dated May 14, 2019. Revisions to the maps are expected.
Of the attendees that night, nearly 20% came from Nesquehoning, and a handful from the Jim Thorpe area, along with Packer residents, and Broad Mountain Power’s own team members.
The next hearing is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Weatherly Area High School gymnasium, beginning.
Parking nearby is limited. A session is scheduled for June 24.
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