TOWER CITY – Porter Township resident Virginia Morton attended the Nov. 11 borough council meeting in the hopes of encouraging council members to submit comments on the curative amendment currently being developed for the Schuylkill County commissioners.
Morton provided a review of past happenings. In June 2019, she said, Rausch Creek LLP, had signed a lease agreement for 12,000-plus acres with Clean Air Generation LLC, Scranton, for the construction of a wind turbine farm in Hegins, Porter, Frailey and Tremont townships.
Since the county’s zoning ordinance needed updating, the commissioners voted to have a curative amendment written by a professional land developer. Charles Schmehl of Urban Research and Development, Allentown, was retained to update the section of the ordinance covering wind turbines, as well as compressor stations and medical marijuana facilities. In September 2019, a resolution covering the updating of the ordinance was approved.
The curative amendment is needed, Morton said, to protect the health and safety of county residents. At the present time, the county’s planning director, Susan Smith, is accepting comments for possible inclusion in the amendment.
Morton provided a list she had developed and passed on to Smith, as well as council President Paul Ruth to discuss with the remainder of the council.
The list includes a turbine height restriction of 400 feet; a 5,000 foot set back or 10 times turbine height, whichever is greater, from occupied dwellings’ property lines; and space between turbines seven times the blade length.
In addition, insurance will be required and the wind energy company will be responsible for all public road repairs.
Morton noted that Clean Air immediately applied for a zoning permit when they found out the county had approved the development of the curative amendment. The request was rejected.
Clean Air had also applied to the FAA in August 2019 for 83 wind turbines in the four townships, all 499 feet in height. That application is currently under review.
Clean Air appealed the negative decision for the construction of 40 wind turbines made in August 2019 in Hegins Township by the township’s zoning officer. The appeal will be heard Thursday. Hegins is also developing their own curative amendment.
The council briefly discussed Morton’s list and agreed they would give their support to it. The council, however, agreed to add something about water run-off from the mountain.
Ruth reported several barricades that were in use on School Lane between Ninth and 10th streets were stolen at 4 a.m. Nov. 10. According to Ruth, the exact time shows up on a clear photo of the vehicle. If they are returned, no one will be charged. If they aren’t, the borough will prosecute. The barricades are worth $600.
Three part-time snow plowers, Adam Koppenhaver, Ryan Auchbach and Nathan Bach, were hired at the rate of $14 per hour. Robert Fetteroff was hired full time at the same rate.
Ruth noted he has found the backhoe he would like the borough to purchase. Because of its price, an advertisement for bids was approved.
The council also approved advertising for bids for the borough’s old truck and back hoe.
Before the 17 bicycles stored in the borough garage can be advertised for sale, Ruth will check with police officer John Boyer to determine which are involved with thefts.
The council unanimously approved paying a bill of $1,233.60 for instructors who will bring courses to the area covering tactical emergency care training such as active shooter incidents. The courses will be held on Saturday and Sunday during May and will be open to police and fire departments and ambulance associations.
Ruth said widening the alley between Sixth and Seventh streets to 16 feet cost $500 and will now be eligible for liquid fuels money.
Fourth Street resident Gloria Yoder complained the house in the alley behind hers drains water out of his basement with a small hose onto the alley. Last winter she was constantly throwing ashes or ice melt on the alley where her garage is located. She suggested the people have a back yard where the water could be drained. Some of the water, she said, has soap suds in it.
In other business
• Secretary Irene Dubbs will check with the borough’s insurance concerning the damages to items stored in the basement of Paul Dimon Sr. According to Ruth, a municipal storm drain runs under the Dimon property.
• Chris Reiner said the police logged 114.8 hours during October.