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Hegins to hear wind farm developer appeal

The Hegins Township Zoning Hearing Board has scheduled a meeting to hear an appeal by wind farm developer Clean Air Generation LLC.

The public meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at the Hegins Area Ambulance Association building, 352 Gap St., in Valley View.

CAG, of Waverly, had filed a zoning permit application for 40 wind turbines to be constructed on leased Rausch Creek land, known as “Anthracite Ridge.” Allan Swab, township zoning officer, denied the permit application, and CAG appealed the decision to the zoning hearing board.

Nicholas Cohen is CAG principal and Tomer Droval, of Doral Group Renewable Energy Resources Ltd., of Israel, is partnering with CAG on any potential project in Hegins.

In June, CAG submitted a “substantive validity challenge” to the township asserting that the township’s current zoning ordinance was deficient because it did not address where wind energy development could occur. The wind farm developer had suggested a curative amendment to the ordinance would be to permit wind energy projects in the township’s S-3 special purpose mining zone.

The Hegins Township supervisors agreed in August that CAG’s challenge had merit. However, the township decided to come up with its own correction of that zoning ordinance defect.

The township hired John R. Varaly, a Wilkes-Barre professional planning consultant, to study the matter and draft a “preliminary proposed alternate municipal curative amendment.”

Interested parties had until Sept. 30 to send written comments to Varaly on the proposed fix.

Varaly’s 18-page draft, plus pages of exhibits, addressed wind energy facility compliance on many levels. Among the regulations noted for consideration were: noise, vibrations, accessory buildings, underground power line transmission, color, lighting, shadow flicker, ice throw, distance between turbines, visual impact, height and setback distances and decommissioning when the wind turbine life had expired.