Township challenged with ‘curative amendment’ for solar | Local News | – New Castle News

3 minutes, 37 seconds Read

#inform-video-player-1 .inform-embed { margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

#inform-video-player-2 .inform-embed { margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

A Neshannock Township couple is looking to install solar panels on their horse farm on Old Pulaski Road, but needs a zoning ordinance change to do so.

According to paperwork filed with the township, the solar project planned for their property is by Kordis Energy of Denver, Colorado, which proposes to develop a three-megawatt solar facility and project. That would produce enough energy to power more than 300 homes annually.

Kordis Energy is represented by attorney James Manolis.

Louis Pomerico and his wife, Janet L. Kalajainen Pomerico, via their attorney Phillip L. Clark, are leasing their land to Kordis and have filed for a curative amendment to the newly adopted township zoning ordinance to allow the use of commercial, contiguous solar panels on their property located at 1151 Old Pulaski Road. Kordis would place panels on 80 acres of leased land.

The projected lifespan of the project, named the Blueknob Solar Project, is 40 years, after which the land would be reclaimed and restored to agricultural use, the report said. The plans propose to create 100 jobs during construction. Upon approval, the construction of the panels would take place in April through November next year and the system would go into operation in December 2025.

The Neshannock Township supervisors have the final say about whether to change the ordinance to accommodate them.

The supervisors advertised changes to the zoning ordinance and unanimously adopted it Wednesday. It will become effective Monday, five days from the adoption date.

The supervisors had set a public hearing for Wednesday to consider the curative amendment request, but that hearing was canceled at the request of attorneys from both sides. It will be rescheduled and advertised for sometime in May, according to Supervisor Leslie S. Bucci.

The couple’s proposed curative amendment seeks to add principal solar energy systems as a permitted use in the R-2 Rural Residential District.

According to a letter the township received from the couple’s attorney regarding the zoning ordnance challenge, the ordinance “is exclusionary as it does not provide for principal solar energy facility use or similar use in any zoning district.” The letter claims the Pomericos are adversely affected by the zoning ordinance and says the project will not have an effect on roads, sewers, water supplies or schools and will not impact preservation of the R-2 Rural District or other land uses.

The Neshannock Township Planning Commission voted 2-1 at its meeting in January to recommend the supervisors deny the curative amendment request. Randall Sumner, chairman, stated he does not agree that the ordinance is exclusionary. He added the “cure” in the proposed curative amendment is to have R-2 districts list solar installations as a permitted use, with minimum lot requirements of 3/4 acre. He contends that would open up the entire R-2 region to anyone with 3/4 of an acre. Votes to recommend denial of the request were by Sumner and Donald Kirkwood Jr. Member Jim Carna cast the vote in support support the Pomericos’ proposal.

A separate review of the proposal by the Lawrence County Planning Commission recommends the proposed curative amendment is nearly word for word the same as the solar section in the proposed Neshannock Township zoning ordinance that was submitted to the county office for review in June 2023. The only significant differences are the lack of definitions in the proposed curative amendment compared to those in the proposed zoning ordinance, and the inclusion of the solar energy systems as a permitted use in the R-2 district.

The proposed zoning ordinance lists principal solar energy systems as a conditional use in the I-1 Industrial and I-1-A industrial agriculture districts of the township.

The county board recommended the township should not allow the systems a permitted use in an R-2 district. All municipalities that have adopted ordinances have included solar energy systems and list the use as a conditional use in the districts where they are allowed. None of the current permitted uses in the R-2 district allow for any development that would be as intensive as principal solar energy systems, the commission advised.

The commission recommends should the township supervisors choose to permit the use of the solar systems as an allowed use in the R-2 district, they should attach more stringent requirements to that use.

[email protected]

#inform-video-player-3 .inform-embed { margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts