VALLEY VIEW – Hegins Township’s solicitor sparred verbally Wednesday night with the project manager of the proposed wind farm in Hegins and three other townships.
During a hearing that lasted more than three hours at the Hegins Township Ambulance Association, solicitor Donald G. Karpowich, Drums, challenged senior project manager David F. Allen on numerous issues related to the proposed $300 million project.
One was whether the township Wind Energy Safety Ordinance requires Anthracite Ridge Wind Energy, the company that wants to build the facility, to post cash or an escrow fund instead of a proposed bond. Allen said the company will comply with the ordinance.
“You’re not going to proceed with a project if you can’t afford to build it,” Allen said.
Anthracite Ridge is applying to the township zoning hearing board for permission to build the facility. Board solicitor Linus E. Fenicle, Camp Hill, said the only issue is whether the application complies with the safety ordinance.
The board is considering only the portion of the project in the township. County zoners are evaluating the proposal as it related to the sections in Frailey, Porter and Tremont townships. The site totals more than 12,000 acres.
The hearing, which approximately 50 members of the public crowded into the building to attend, ended with Karpowich continuing to question Allen. It will resume at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the same location.
Under persistent questioning from Karpowich, Allen remained firm in his presentation that the proposal complies with the ordinance.
Points raised by Karpowich, and Allen’s answers, included the following issues:
• Project maps: Karpowich said they were not all prepared by professional surveyors; Allen said that is unnecessary and the maps are accurate.
• Section references: Karpowich said there were no specific references to sections 1-5 of the ordinance; Allen said those were incorporated into the proposal.
“When I seal a document, I reference the sections,” Allen said.
• Incomplete documents: Karpowich said not all of the documents were complete; Allen said it is customary to omit financial information from any such document.
• Unrecorded documents: Karpowich said not all land documents were notarized or recorded; Allen said that is not necessary.
• Turbines: Karowich said there is no final purchase agreement for the turbines: Allen said that is likely to be done soon.
Allen also said turbines have different heights but the ones for the project are set.
“For this project, they will not exceed 500 feet,” and there will be underground and overhead power lines, he said.
Allen also said he knows the property well because he has previously worked with the owner, Rausch Creek Land LP.
• Property setbacks: Karpowich questioned the accuracy of the indicated property setbacks; Allen said drone surveys, field assessments and county property records were used to determine what buildings are occupied.
“Within the setback areas, there are none,” Allen said.
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