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The North Lebanon Township Board of Supervisors met Monday to discuss solar and wind energy, paving project bids, and other business.

Solar and wind farm ordinances

Supervisors unanimously approved Ordinance No. 5 – 2022, which introduces preliminary regulations on properties used specifically for generating and distributing solar or wind power.

New provisions are as such:

  • Solar or wind farms are only permitted in the I-1 Industrial Zoning District. The NLT zoning map is available here (PDF).
  • The lot containing the solar or wind farm must be at least 50 acres.
  • Solar panels, wind rotors, or other associated structures must be at least 100 feet from any property line or road right-of-way line.

New provisions apply only to alternate energy systems installed specifically for commercial distribution. Property owners with solar or wind power installed primarily for their own use will not be affected.

The ordinance, the supervisors explained, is not meant to be the final word on the matter. Instead, it is meant to fill a gap in the code of ordinances, as previous ordinances did not consider solar or wind power being generated for commercial rather than personal use.

The board may in the future impose other restrictions on these properties.

“This is just our foot in the sand; we would be able to in the future amend this ordinance in any ways that we see necessary,” said Chairman Ed Brensinger.

While no solar farms have been proposed for NLT, North Annville recently saw a proposed solar farm meet with controversy from the community.

Read More: North Annville residents sound off on proposed solar farm project

Paving project bids

Supervisors agreed to table bids for 2022 paving projects until April 18.

The amount budgeted for all projects was $301,240, whereas the lowest bid was $398,963. With $338,000 remaining in unappropriated funds in liquid fuels, the board could make up the difference should they choose to accept the bids.

Supervisors considered delaying the projects until next year, when bids may be lower due to changing gas prices. In that event, the budgeted $301,240 would roll over into next year’s budget.

“The roads we have scheduled — Alpha, Beta, Cappa, Sholly — are they in that bad of shape that we couldn’t put it off another year?” said Vice Chairman Gary Heisey, noting that he had driven the roads to review their condition and found them not too bad. “Do we want to gamble the fact that maybe fuel could be twice as much next year at this time?”

The board has 45 days from when the bids were offered to accept them, and given that the April 18 meeting falls within that window, the supervisors unanimously opted to take a month to consider the issue.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Unanimously approved Ordinance No. 4 – 2022, regulating beekeeping and apiaries and allowing for (registered) beekeeping in the Rural Residential and Low Density districts after a public hearing for the ordinance.
  • Unanimously approved the minutes (PDF) of the Feb. 21 meeting.
  • Unanimously approved the closure of part of Colonial Circle for the Ebenezer PTE’s Race for Education on May 6 (rain date May 13) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Unanimously approved plans for the Caliber Car Wash for 1333 E. Lehman St. and two waivers for the property plans.
  • Unanimously approved the advertisement of a meeting between the NLT Board of Supervisors and the NLT Fire Chiefs April 6 at 6 p.m.
  • Unanimously approved the release of a $7,503.25 cash escrow for the 840 Patmar Drive street cut permit.
  • Unanimously approved a Meyer Oil $40,260 fuel bid for 15 PPM USLD Diesel, noting that this is a necessary service and no other bids were received.
  • Unanimously approved the location of an Ebenezer Beautification Committee chicken BBQ on the Lion’s Lake parking lot for May 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Considered a suggestion from the Park & Rec Board that supervisors eliminate the annual $500 association fee for township baseball and soccer fields. Heisey recused himself from the issue because he is a coach. Treasurer Ardy Snook proposed removing the fee, but it was not seconded, causing the motion to fail.
  • Unanimously approved a tree dedication.
  • Unanimously approved stormwater credit applications for Nolt Family Farms and 1210 Lochwood Drive, and denied an application for 915 Sweetbay Lane.
  • Unanimously agreed to authorize Heisey to attend a hearing regarding ZHB Case 2-2022 on the board’s behalf. The case is regarding 1204 Lochwood Drive’s request to install a second kitchen in their basement to conduct a home occupation, which is not permitted in the R1 Low Density Residential District.
  • Unanimously approved the authorization of township manager Cheri Grumbine to work with Scott Koons on a plan to upgrade the IT in the meeting room.
  • Unanimously approved the hiring of a police officer and a full-time maintenance employee.
  • Discussed rising fuel costs and considered ending the practice of some employees being allowed to take their township-issued vehicles to their homes. This was tabled to discuss later.
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Full Disclosure: The author of this article is also a part-time employee of Heisey’s Diner, which is owned by NLT supervisor Gary Heisey.

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.