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, declare that township supervisors violated the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code by making the change in November. 8 with out public data and scrutiny, and county and city planning commissions.
The ordinance amends an present 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) mentioned within the lawsuit that metropolis supervisors knew it wished to construct a significant solar energy era facility on 10 of the 15 acres of land close to Monastery Street 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 town is displaying its “unreasonable and unwarranted anger” towards them by adopting the modification to stop the usage of its premises as a photo voltaic array.
Knoebel mentioned 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 mentioned 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. Specifically, 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.”
“Because the Ralpho Township Planning Fee is the developer of the photo voltaic vitality ordinance modification adopted by township supervisors on November 8, there isn’t any have to 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 mentioned the agenda, which is obtainable on town’s web site, particularly contained language about adopting the photo voltaic ordinance, including that no less than two residents offered feedback in the course of the listening to, by which the plaintiff “falsely admittedly carried out in secret.”
Regardless of the twice-published advert notifying the general public of the upcoming listening to, Kerstetter mentioned there isn’t any requirement beneath any legislation 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 wished, particularly when its requests had been vehemently opposed by neighboring residential-property homeowners, does not imply Knoebel was denied due strategy of legislation,” argued Kerstetter. “As a substitute, native residents have taken an inexpensive place that business 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 reduction it requested.
“It’s denied that there was any rush to make the zoning change or that there was any malice towards the plaintiff,” Kerstetter mentioned. “Quite the opposite, the Ralpho Township Planning Fee spent a number of months creating the ordinance. These conferences are open to the general public, and it’s tough to think about that any legislation or structure, within the context of zoning, may presumably require zoning schemes to offer for a business photo voltaic operation in a residential zone.