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Broad Mountain Power scolded for late documents

Published June 26. 2019 01:05PM

Packer Township Zoning Hearing Board’s seventh hearing on Broad Mountain Power’s proposed wind turbine farm atop Broad Mountain on Monday was shortened because support materials for that evening’s expert only arrived for that day.

Jack Coyle MAI, member appraisal institute, an experienced real estate appraiser, developer and longtime Realtor, of Media, near Philadelphia, was the evening’s expert. Coyle had come to talk about his 37-page report with his analysis of the project’s impact on local property values.

The report came with a support document more than 100 pages long which included the background information such as the zoning rules for both Packer and Nesquehoning, data and charts, a comparison with two other counties he felt were similar, and more. The report and its companion were sent in on Sunday afternoon, so they were received by most of the parties Monday morning, and by two of the attorneys on Monday afternoon since they were in court during the morning.

Attorney Bruce Anders, hired by opponents of the project, opened his files when he returned from court that afternoon. Instead of starting a cross-examination of Coyle, he asked zoning board solicitor Greg Mousseau for a couple of days to read through the material. Mousseau, who chairs the hearing for the board, admitted the zoning board members would also like time to review them.

Attorney Robert Yurchak, Packer Township’s attorney, also supported this.

Mousseau addressed the attorneys for Broad Mountain Power about the timeliness of their documents, “The board is not happy (that) you have submitted reports … so late.”

He then noted neither the board, nor the zoning hearing officer had time enough to read the material.

A discussion among all four sets of attorneys arranged for a phone call by noon Tuesday to set additional dates including to continue to hear from Coyle. Anders will propose the dates.

Broad Mountain attorneys asked for four more meetings to hear engineers on shadow flicker, ice throw and the site plan; testimony on human health effects; on environmental impact; and a review of the balloon study, perhaps two meetings a week in July.

No decisions were reached.

Coyle testimony

Earlier, Coyle established his credentials and methods. He said he toured the area and the property, then followed up with extensive research. After he came to some conclusions, he did further work to support them before his testimony. The research and his support documents made for a thick binder.

The question for Coyle was, would the proposed use substantially impair the value of nearby properties? Through a group of studies including specific counties in Pennsylvania and New York states, Wyoming Counties in both, he said, “generally speaking, there was no material difference (in valuations) before and after the wind farm.” While there would be some people who don’t like the turbines and towers, he said, “Overall … there was not much of an impact.”

However, Anders did not begin his cross-examination of these statements or Coyle, Lynch and Company’s report. After housekeeping items, Mousseau ended the hearing early.

The board canceled this Friday’s session, allowing for a break until July 8. Sessions were confirmed for July 16 and 22, back again at the middle/elementary school cafeteria, starting at 6 p.m.

About 70 people attended, around 10% from Nesquehoning, the rest from Packer Township and Weatherly, plus one couple from Rush Township.

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