Buffalo Township’s solar array ordinance in disarray – PennLive

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Buffalo Twp. supervisors held a public hearing Feb. 19, followed by a special meeting concerning an alternative energy and solar energy systems ordinance. The proposed ordinance, which has been in the works for more than six months, was tabled due to a variety of comments taking exception to restrictions the ordinance would impose on homeowners who may be interested in installing solar panels on their property.

“I’m just a little confused,” said Joyce Bentley during the hearing. “I’m very thankful that we have people wanting to make sure that guidelines are in place, safety factors, benefits for neighbors and community, well-being and safety. I’m thankful for that. I’m confused because this whole issue seems to have been developed because of commercial entities and concerns, and our township recognizing there’s nothing in place to address those concerns.

“I then read what’s proposed, and there’s nothing that specifies commercial. It’s like this big umbrella of anything, anyone, individual houses. I don’t think an individual house has the same kind of concerns as a commercial entity or enterprise, which certainly comes with a lot of concerns. I’m feeling, for lack of a better phrase, nickeled and dimed here. As a resident of the community, I would like to see this ordinance proposal be more specific in addressing what brought it to the table in the first place. If I am correct, that is commercial concerns, not residential.”

Later during the meeting following the hearing, supervisors decided to take the proposed ordinance back to the drawing board to address concerns of township residents. They requested that anyone who wishes to make a comment to submit them to township secretary Nancy Cangioli no later than 5 p.m., Feb. 29. Cangioli said comments can be submitted to her via email at [email protected] or dropped off at the township building’s mailbox.

During the secretary’s report, Cangioli reported a township truck has been listed for auction. Fifteen bids have been received. Two permits were issued to township residents for a garage and for a roof-mounted solar panel.

There was discussion concerning the Eastern Perry Emergency Management Association (EPREMA) and a $5,000 contribution Buffalo Twp. had budgeted for the organization. Supervisor Art Lindsay had reservations about contributing to the organization.

“I’m wondering why we want to pay $5,000 to an organization that’s not formally organized,” Lindsay said.

Supervisor Gary Witmer stated he was okay with paying EPREMA the $5,000 the township had budgeted, but had reservations about continuing to contribute in years to come. He said three of the five participating municipalities have contributed, and that the organization has been discussed for the past three years. Witmer and Supervisor Keith Finton voted to pay the contribution, with Lindsay opposed.

The township currently has a vacancy on the planning commission. Andy Bucke had submitted a letter of interest concerning the position, which was read during the meeting. A motion was made to appoint Bucke to the commission, with Finton and Lindsay in favor and Witmer opposing.

Following the appointment, Donna Rhodes, who had also expressed interest in being appointed to the commission, spoke to the supervisors.

“I attended every meeting, every planning commission meeting, every township meeting,” Rhodes said. “I spent hours of my time doing research, phone calls, trying to make sure I have all of my facts right, that I’m being educated. I’ve been asking questions of the supervisors, which I don’t feel have gotten very many answers.

“I would like to be helpful to this community. More than once I’ve expressed interest in this position.”

Residents in attendance were not pleased with the appointment of Bucke, and Rhodes threatened legal action concerning the appointment. Ultimately, the supervisors voted to rescind the appointment of Bucke and accept letters of interest for the position until Feb. 29. The township also is accepting letters of interest for Tim Albright’s position on the planning commission. He currently is up for reappointment.

The next supervisors’ meeting is at 7 p.m. March 4.

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