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Argued: May 7, 2001

Appellants, West Penn Power Company (West Penn) and Allegheny Energy Units 6 & 7 LLC (Allegheny) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County (trial court) which overruled the decision of the Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board) granting special exception approval to Allegheny to erect an electric generating facility on property zoned A-1 Agricultural.

On January 18, 2000 Allegheny filed an application for a special exception with the Board to construct an electric generating facility on land owned by West Penn. The unmanned facility would generate power during periods of peak demand and require the installation of two, forty-four megawatt natural gas fired combustion turbine generators, with fuel oil backup capability. A five hundred-gallon tank would be used for the storage of diesel fuel, which would be used to power the plant should natural gas become unavailable. Two sixty-foot exhaust stacks would be constructed in order to allow for escape of waste products from consumed fuel. The proposed facility would generate electricity that would be transferred to an existing electric transmission and distribution substation adjacent to the site and operated by Allegheny Power, a public utility.

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