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Attorney wraps up testimony for windmill opponents

Attendees of the continuing hearing about Broad Mountain Power company’s wind farm proposal for the top of Broad Mountain in Packer Township were given a break of sorts, as opponents’ attorney Bruce Anders wrapped up the testimony for the opponents at the Feb. 6 session before Packer Township’s Zoning Hearing Board. He did so by presenting a list of his 235 clients – the objectors – and where they are located from the proposed site and turbines. With the list comes a list of 18 objections that the objectors agree are issues, from noises, impairment of views, spoiling the property and its headwaters, impact on wildlife, light flickering, fire hazards, to incompatible use.

This document was accepted by Broad Mountain’s counsel and the landowner’s counsel without objections.

Two other items were offered by Anders as evidence, drawing objections. Attorney Brian Stahl for Broad Mountain objected to the inclusion of the signed resolution of the Pennsylvania Game Commission stating their opinion that wind turbines are incompatible with state game lands. Stahl pointed out that this was an outside agency not involved in this project, as the turbines would be on private property.

There were more detailed objections by both counsels to the inclusion of the minutes from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s hearing about the project’s application of a permit to clear trees and disturb earth since the project is near wetlands and streams. The objections are that it’s an outside agency, there was no ability to cross-examine and some hearsay was included.

Anders defended including these items.

Greg Mousseau, attorney for the zoning board, will accept both the items into the record with objections noted.

Also for the record, Anders withdrew a previous objection to professor Roark Lanning as an expert.

The next session on schedule is Feb. 27, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Weatherly Area High School cafeteria.

Stahl said he’s not certain he will have a witness by then. After a review of dates and attorney availability, it was agreed to have a session on March 4, likely again at the high school.

Another go-round was to hammer out an agreement with all parties that the objectors have the right to continue to March 23. After some back and forth, with Anders pointing out how long BMP took to make its presentation, and Mousseau pushing all to agree, the five parties chose to waive the 100-days rule within the code.

Anders noted he expected to be done in early March.

Anders also pointed out that he would likely provide witnesses to rebut any rebuttal from BMP.

This meeting filled the Packer Township municipal building. It’s expected there will be more attendance as the prospect of individuals’ testimony gets closer, and the cafeteria is a larger room with more parking nearby.