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.”
The opposition to the wind turbines in Penn Forest Township received another opportunity to put on witnesses before the zoning hearing board in the special exception hearing into the application of Iberdrola Renewables.
Iberdrola is requesting a special exception to construct and operate 37 wind turbines in the township. The turbines would be located on property belonging to the Bethlehem Water Authority.
People are talking about the significant impacts that a 37-turbine wind farm will affect Penn Forest and neighboring townships.
Iberdrola Renewables, parent company for Atlantic Wind LLC, filed its application for a special exception permit before the Penn Forest Township Zoning Hearing Board.
The zoning board will continue testimony at 7 p.m. Thursday at Penn Forest Fire Company No. 1.
The 37-turbine farm near the township’s border with Towamensing Township will include 525-foot-tall towers with blades reaching across the width of a football field.
The pending special exception application of Iberdrola Renewables was before the Penn Forest Zoning Hearing Board again June 23.
The Penn Forest Township fire hall, which holds 299, filled to capacity quickly. A handful of people waited outside hoping that someone would leave, making room for them to join those inside.
Others stayed outside carrying signs along Route 903 urging those passing by to join the fight to stop the wind turbines.