SUNBURY — Ralpho Township denies accusations by HH Knoebel Sons Inc. that it improperly adopted the photo voltaic vitality ordinance.
The Knoebels, represented by attorneys Robert Cravitz and Matthew Cravitz, claimed that township supervisors violated the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code by implementing the modification on Nov. 8 with out public information and scrutiny, and county and city planning commissions.
The ordinance amends an current zoning ordinance by including definitions of photo voltaic vitality programs, permitting minor photo voltaic vitality programs in any zoning district and main photo voltaic vitality programs in agricultural-forest districts. by particular exception.
HH Knoebel Sons (Knoebel) stated within the lawsuit that metropolis supervisors knew it needed to construct a serious solar energy era facility on 10 of the 15 acres of land close to Monastery Highway and Route 487. , situated in a residential zoning district, as a result of it sought a variance from the township listening to board and, after it was denied, filed an enchantment in county courtroom on Sept.
The Knoebels imagine the town is displaying its “unreasonable and unwarranted anger” in opposition to them by adopting the modification to forestall the usage of its premises as a photo voltaic array.
Knoebel stated the Ralpho Township Planning Fee didn’t maintain any public conferences throughout September, October and November when it ready, mentioned and formally submitted a zoning modification to supervisors.
Ralpho Township Solicitor Todd Kerstetter stated within the city’s response filed Tuesday that the city’s planning fee met in public session in full compliance with the Sunshine Act on Sept. Particularly, the photo voltaic vitality ordinance that was adopted by the supervisors of the city on Nov.
Knoebel additionally alleged that the supervisors, earlier than holding a public listening to on a change, should submit such a change to the Northumberland County Planning Fee.
Citing the Municipal Planning Code, Kerstetter responded that the one ordinances a governing physique is required to undergo a planning fee are “aside from these ready by the planning company.”
“For the reason that Ralpho Township Planning Fee is the developer of the photo voltaic vitality ordinance modification adopted by township supervisors on November 8, there is no such thing as a must submit the modification to the planning fee for evaluation or remark,” Kerstetter defined.
Knoebel additionally confirmed that the agenda for the November 8 supervisors assembly “doesn’t comprise any discover of public listening to on the change that violates the Sunshine Act.
Kerstetter stated the agenda, which is out there on the town’s web site, particularly contained language about adopting the photo voltaic ordinance, including that at the least two residents offered feedback throughout the listening to, wherein the plaintiff “falsely admittedly completed in secret.”
Regardless of the twice-published advert notifying the general public of the upcoming listening to, Kerstetter stated there is no such thing as a requirement beneath any regulation that requires particular language for use for a listening to.
Kerstetter acknowledged that Knoebel was denied a zoning variance, then filed an enchantment within the Northumberland County Court docket of Widespread Pleas, however denied that the city violated the plaintiff’s due course of rights.
“Simply because Knoebel did not get what it needed, particularly when its requests have been vehemently opposed by neighboring residential-property house owners, doesn’t suggest Knoebel was denied due strategy of regulation,” argued Kerstetter. “As a substitute, native residents have taken an affordable place that industrial photo voltaic growth is inappropriate in a residential zoning district.”
Kerstetter continued that the Ralpho Zoning Listening to Board, after a number of public hearings, discovered that Knoebel was not entitled to the aid it requested.
“It’s denied that there was any rush to make the zoning change or that there was any malice in opposition to the plaintiff,” Kerstetter stated. “Quite the opposite, the Ralpho Township Planning Fee spent a number of months growing the ordinance. These conferences are open to the general public, and it’s troublesome to think about that any regulation or structure, within the context of zoning, might probably require zoning schemes to supply for a industrial photo voltaic operation in a residential zone.