The Bethlehem Water Authority’s property line dispute with a local hunting club continues to play out in county court.
The Palmerton Hunting and Fishing Association and the water authority disagree over the location of the boundary between their properties in Penn Forest Township.
The dispute came to light after the authority proposed to use its property for wind turbines, three of which would be located on the land in question.
The wind turbine project is currently on hold as two other cases progress through the courts.
Last month, the judge hearing the case dismissed the authority’s charge that PHFA intentionally misrepresented its property lines to claim land where Bethlehem Authority has proposed to build wind turbines. He also dismissed the authority’s request that the club compensate them for $50,000 in revenue it says it lost from the wind turbines.
Judge Steven Serfass has yet to weigh in on who actually owns the property in question.
Palmerton Fishing and Hunting Association has owned property along Hatchery Road since the 1920s. The authority first acquired land nearby in the 1940s but has added additional parcels.
In 2017, the club commissioned a survey of its property, which it then recorded with the Carbon County Recorder of Deeds.
In 2018, the water authority sued the club over the property dispute in the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas. In their suit, the authority asked the court to rule that it owns the disputed property.
The authority also sought damages of $50,000. That figure represents the amount the authority says it would have received in revenue for the wind turbines.
The judge rejected Bethlehem Authority’s argument that the Hunting and Fishing Association knew about the turbine project and intentionally claimed the land in order to block it.
The club argued that their survey was based upon a 1964 agreement signed by both parties when Bethlehem Authority wanted to build a fire lane between the two properties.
Following the judge’s decision, the hunting and fishing club requested that the court rule that it owns the property in question.
As evidence, they said their property line was confirmed by several other surveys, the last one before 2017 being conducted in 1992.
They said that both sides have agreed upon the fire lane as their boundary line for decades. Both sides had its side of the boundary marked with property markers, and in the club’s case, no trespassing signs.
Bethlehem Authority and the company seeking to build the wind turbines, Atlantic Wind, are currently appealing two other county court decisions which denied their application for zoning approval to build turbines on the authority’s 23,000-acre property in Penn Forest Township.
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