OPPOSITION: Local residents
BACKGROUND: Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC planned to construct and operate a 27-windmill farm in the township of Fountain Springs. Construction would create roughly 100 temporary jobs. A project spokesperson expressed that he anticipates stimulus funding, adding that “these projects don’t work without stimulus dollars.”
Local residents have cited health concerns, possible environmental damage and harm to the natural beauty of the area as reasons for their opposition
In February 2008, Township Zoning Officer Thomas Squires issued the permit to the developer. The Butler Township Zoning Hearing Board revoked the permit July 29, 2009, ruling Squires did not have the authority to issue it because a wind farm is not a permitted use in a Woodland Conservation (W-C) zoning district. Broad Mountain appealed that ruling in August 2008.
In the May 2010, a Schuylkill County judge rejected the company’s proposed project, ruling the board had substantial evidence to support its decision and Broad Mountain could not overcome that. The board's substantial evidence included testimony from several neighboring property owners who opposed the project. The judge rejected Broad Mountain's claim that it had a vested right to the permit, even if it was wrongly issued, because it had acted in good faith and spent substantial money it cannot recover. The judge opined that the assertion was not supported by the record. The developer “relied upon at best a mistakenly issued zoning permit and then proceeded to expend resources on a multi-million dollar project with no notice to the adjoining landowners in the Fountain Springs valley. The course of action taken by (Broad Mountain) was at (its) own risk,” Judge Miller wrote.
SOURCES: Broad Mountain Development: http://www.readinganthracite.com/rich-family-companies/broadmountain.php;
Standard Speaker: http://standardspeaker.com/news/schuylkill-judge-denies-appeal-on-windmill-project-1.821431;
Citizen Voice: http://citizensvoice.com/news/wind-turbine-farms-provide-ecomomic-boom-to-region-but-still-draw-controversy-1.502477;
Republican Herald: http://republicanherald.com/news/5m-in-stimulus-funds-will-pay-for-windmills-in-w-mahanoy-twp-1.642704?firstComment=0
Last updated November 24, 2010