HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Big environmental changes are coming to a Luzerne County community, but not everyone is excited about it. The change involves a solar farm in Hazel Township built on hundreds of acres.
The proposed solar farm is proposed to be built between Club 40 Road and Stockton Mountain Road. Those who live near the property showed up Monday to learn more and voice their opinions.
With the proposal of a solar farm nearly 1,000 acres wide in Hazle Township, many residents are left wondering, “How will this enhance our quality of life over there on Stockton Mountain Road?” One resident asked during public commentary.
The solar farm would be built in a wooded area between Club 40 Road and Stockton Mountain Road, a place many call home.
The Hazle Township zoning board held a meeting on Monday to hear more about the project and get the public’s input.
“It’s important for the community to have the proper information, it’s important for the zoning board to have the proper information to see what the intent and the potential impact there will be on the environment and the quality of life in the community,” said Hazle Township resident Kristin Ferdinand.
Many listened as the property owner and his team explained; why a solar farm?
“It’s woodland now, but soil is very poor so it doesn’t grow good timber, and with as large as the property is we could situate the solar system that won’t be visible from any adjoining properties,” said property owner Lamar Reiff.
But locals say their concerns go beyond the solar farm being an eyesore.
“Water run-off issues, erosion issues, also the diminishment of property values,” Ferdinand explained.
Many were worried about wildlife, something that the project team says they have taken into account.
“We are committing to only tree clearing during the winter months when the bats aren’t active to avoid impacts,” said one resident.
And others wondered what would happen to the area’s history.
“Because I’ve always been told and it’s been brought up that’s a burial ground for an Indian tribe,” another resident expressed during public comment.
People who live nearby were promised they’ll get the benefits of the proposed solar farm– and it will ultimately be good for the environment.
“All of us around here, who live close to the generation source are going to be consuming that electricity,” one resident added.
“Obviously the people that are in favor of green energy, this is it,” said Reiff.
The board was supposed to make a decision on the application this evening but decided to push it to their next meeting on December 4 at 5:00 p.m.