Lehigh College will get OK for 14-acre photo voltaic farm on campus

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh College’s proposed 14-acre photo voltaic farm was authorized by the Bethlehem Planning Fee Tuesday evening, regardless of issues by an area condominium affiliation.

The undertaking will probably be constructed on Goodman Drive, simply south of the college’s baseball subject on the identical land used for the cross-country course.

In line with Erin Kintzer, director of actual property for the college, the photo voltaic farm will offset 90% of electrical energy use for the Murray H. Goodman Campus and also will be used for instructing and analysis.

“Along with vitality,” she mentioned, “this undertaking serves the college’s instructional mission.”

The photo voltaic farm will comprise 7,400 panels, which is able to pivot on a single axis to face the solar because it strikes overhead. The realm surrounding the panels will probably be planted as a restored meadow with a mixture of wildflowers.

Members of the Saucon Fields Rental Affiliation, who dwell on Stone Stack Drive, instantly to the west of the sector, got here to the assembly to voice issues that the undertaking would break their view and decrease their property values.

Dolores Luputka mentioned she purchased her rental simply 4 years in the past for $500,000, but when she have been to promote at present, “I am unsure I would get that for it now, with the photo voltaic subject being constructed.”

“We’re not in opposition to photo voltaic,” she mentioned. “We’re simply in opposition to photo voltaic subsequent to a residential space.”

Different members of the rental affiliation expressed issues that the plans didn’t do sufficient to display screen the deliberate photo voltaic farm from view, and that glare from the photo voltaic panels would possibly mirror into their houses. In addition they complained of a scarcity of communication between the college and residents.

See also  Pennsylvania county demolition funds for blighted properties: a rural and concrete divide

Kate Durso, legal professional for the undertaking, mentioned the college had already held a number of conferences with residents, and had made alterations to its plans to assist accommodate their needs.

She agreed, nevertheless, that the college may lengthen a deliberate berm and plant further timber to offer extra screening between the condos and the photo voltaic farm.

“Whereas it isn’t 100% what the neighbors needed to have, it is an enchancment,” she mentioned. “We have to transfer the undertaking ahead and get development began.”