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New date set for variance hearing for wind energy developer

A hearing for an appeal from wind energy developer Clean Air Generation LLC has been rescheduled before the Hegins Township Zoning Hearing Board.

The new date for the public hearing is 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Hegins Area Ambulance Association building, 352 Gap St., in Valley View.

CAG attorney Charles B. Haws, of Reading, confirmed the new date and time Monday.

Originally, the zoning hearing board was set to hear CAG’s application on Oct. 31, but Haws had requested the change.

CAG, of Waverly, is seeking a variance under section 803.4 of the Hegins Township Zoning Ordinance regarding the uses permitted in the S-3 Special Purpose Mining District and pursuant to the township’s wind energy safety ordinance.

The firm intends to construct up to 40 commercial wind turbines on the summit of leased Rausch Creek land, known as “Anthracite Ridge.” CAG entered a land lease and wind easement agreement with Rausch Creek Land LP, of Valley View, in March. The agreement encompasses approximately 12,672 acres. Rausch Creek’s land includes mountain ridge tops that extend across several townships, including Bear Mountain and Good Spring Mountain, near Hegins, and Big Lick Mountain, Porter Township, near Tower City.

On a related note, in June, CAG submitted a “substantive validity challenge” to Hegins Township asserting that the township’s current zoning ordinance was deficient because it did not address anywhere that wind energy development could occur.

Hegins Township hired a professional planning consultant, and decided to come up with its own correction of the zoning ordinance. CAG 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.