Zoners reject turbine proposal for land surrounding Bethlehem’s reservoirs.December 17, 2018 | Nicole Radzievich | The Morning Call
Carbon County community rejected an application for 28 power-producing turbines on the rural ridges surrounding Bethlehem’s water supply.
The Penn Forest Zoning Hearing Board voted unanimously on Monday against granting a special exception for the project on 260 acres of land near Hatchery Road, also known as Reservoir Road.
“The Zoning Hearing Board does not approve the use for the property,” Vice Chairman Paul Fogal said in an interview after the vote.
Zoning Solicitor Michael Greek said the board will lay out the specific criteria that the application failed to meet for a special exception in a written opinion that will be filed within 45 days.
Atlantic Wind, the applicant, would have 30 days to appeal the decision.
Debra Shulski, an attorney for Atlantic Wind, directed comment to the corporate offices.
The decision met with a resounding applause from a crowd that filled the township meeting room and spilled out into the hallway.
Among those applauding the decision was Joe Kukal, a resident.
“It’s not that we’re against the wind company, but it’s the wrong location. “This is a recreation area. It doesn’t belong here.”
From the start, the turbine project faced headwinds from residents who have packed zoning meetings for the application in the township since 2016. Residents have argued the turbine project would hurt property values, the environment, water quality and the region’s tourism industry.