Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wind Farm Hearing in Penn Forest Township continues tonight after 9 month delay due to legal gymnastics by applicant - attempts deemed approval

Iberdrola (Atlantic Wind) went through several well attended meetings at the Penn Forest Fire Company last year, in a review of its Special Exception Hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board.  These meetings drew maybe 200-250 people, and while occasionally a few members of the audience would yell out comments, the meetings generally went without incident.  There was testimony by numerous experts, and a couple from western PA who testified about the negative impact a wind farm has had on their health and property values.

In September, Atlantic Wind filed a motion with the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas to have an independent hearing officer appointed, and for the remainder of proceedings to be held at the court house.  Atlantic Wind claimed that one or more people representing Atlantic Wind felt their safety was at risk.  Naturally the ZHB opposed this motion.

In February, a judge ruled against Atlantic Wind's motion, finding that the court does not have jurisdiction.  The provision in the Municipalities Planning Code to appoint an independent hearing officer grants only the Zoning Hearing Board this authority.  Atlantic Wind then requested of the county commissioners that the venue for the remaining ZHB proceedings take place at the court house - a request unopposed by the ZHB.  In late Mach, this request was denied by the county commissioners, citing a short list of reasons.

The next hearing for Atlantic Wind's proposal is tonight at 6pm.  Atlantic Wind, scum suckers that they are, and afraid of having their application denied on meritorious grounds, filed two weeks ago what is called a notice of deemed approval.  Deemed approval is provided for when a municipality fails to review a proposed project in the time provided for in the MPC.  In this case, the delays that have taken place have all been due to Atlantic Wind's legal maneuvering - not due to Penn Forest's lack of effort to complete the review in good faith.  This blogger is told there is record of communications between Atlantic Wind and Penn Forest that will document that an ongoing effort was being made to schedule the next meeting.

Most of the testimony and evidence in this case has been entered into the record.  It will be interesting to see this matter dusted off and brought to a conclusion.

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