Carbon County Judge Steven R. Serfass has appointed an independent hearing officer to hear additional testimony in Atlantic Wind’s initial wind farm application in Penn Forest Township.
Serfass ruled Wednesday in the case, which came about as a result of an approval of the application for a special exception permit that was pending before the Penn Forest Township zoning hearing board. The application was deemed approved when the hearing board missed an important date in setting up additional hearings.
Atlantic Wind filed a new application this week to construct 28 wind turbines on land belonging to the Bethlehem Water Authority in Penn Forest Township. This new application is separate from the one currently before the township for 37 wind turbines.
In her letter to the township’s zoning board, Atlantic Wind’s attorney Debra Shulski points out that the new proposal and plan is different from the one which was submitted in April 2016.
According to Shulski, the new application:
• Reduces the number of proposed wind turbines.
• Reduces project footprint.
Pleasant Valley is mourning the loss of one of their own.
Chris Hixon, a 1986 graduate and athleteat the Brodheadsville school, was among those killed in the shootings Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla.
Hixon was the athletic director at the school.
News sources close to Parkland state that Hixon was one of the first to be identified after a former student entered the school brandishing an AK-15 semi-automatic rifle and numerous magazines.
Carbon County Judge Steven Serfass on Tuesday heard oral arguments regarding whether Atlantic Wind had properly asserted a deemed approval of an application for a special exception that was pending before the Penn Forest Township zoning hearing board.
In April, Atlantic Wind LLC claimed the Penn Forest Township Zoning Hearing Board had failed to schedule a hearing in a timely manner, allowing the company to assert that its application for a special exception to build up to 37 wind turbines in the township had been deemed approved under a provision of the Municipal Planning Code.
Penn Forest Township supervisors voted Wednesday to review its ordinance that permits turbines in the township.
After Atlantic Wind filed its application for a special use exception permit to build wind turbines in Penn Forest Township, resident Marcus Laurence asked the township to tighten up the ordinance that permits turbines. Laurence has even provided the township with a sample revised ordinance to consider.
During June’s supervisors meeting, the board agreed to consider Laurence’s request.
In a letter to Penn Forest Township Zoning Hearing Board solicitor Matthew Rapa, Atlantic Wind has refused to attend any additional hearings into its application to build 37 wind turbines on land owned by the Bethlehem Waster Authority in the township until a safer venue can be provided.
The letter stated that the applicant would not be in attendance at board’ next meeting in late September.
That meeting was called to order and zoning hearing board Chairwoman Audrey Wargo informed the crowd that the proceeding would be stayed pending action being undertaken by the applicant.
New emergency alert program ready for roll-out
Residents in Northampton County are able to register for a new emergency alert system.
For several years county residents have been able to register for an emergency alert system known as Redi-Notify Northampton.
Surrounding counties have similar programs. The alert programs are part of the emergency notification plans that went into effect after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Local link to Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security was created in the aftermath of the terror attacks in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. The first director of Homeland Security was then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
Responses are mixed to Iberdrola Renewables constructing 37 wind turbines in the ridges above Penn Forest Township.
“We would still vacation here,” said Anthony Rendell of Hudson Valley, New York. “I see no problem. I like to see something different when I leave home, it’s part of being on vacation.”
Others are dead set against the turbines.
Stephen Repasch, executive director of the Bethlehem Water Authority explained how the authority came to consider using the property in Penn Forest Township to collect wind energy.
“In 2009 we were approached by Delsea Energy out of New Jersey,” Repasch said. “They were in the process of studying wind all along the East Coast. It was their belief that our ridges would be a good place to produce energy.”