DORRANCE TWP. – Following what was the eighth in a series of public hearings on the proposed expansion of the Pennsy Supply Corp. quarry on Small Mountain Road, the township supervisors said Thursday night they will announce a decision on the company's application for a conditional use permit on Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Royce Engler, chairman, said there will be no other deliberations in the interval, but the governing panel, which also consists of Ben Ostrowski and Gary Zane, will take under advisement and study comments presented by advocates and opponents of the project.
Engler did concede, however, that whatever the supervisors' decide will probably not be the final word. Engler said he fully expects follow-up litigation from either side that could tie up the case in court.
One of those sides is a team headed by attorney George Asimos of the Saul Ewing Law Firm of Harrisburg, who throughout the hearings has maintained that engineers and experts that Pennsy assembled to devise the project and present its case has met all of the burdens associated with a conditional use presentment. He reasserted that the company has demonstrated that the quarry will have no adverse affect on the health, safety and welfare of the community.
Asimos was one of about a half dozen people to comment. Attorney William Higgs of Mountain Top offered rebuttal on behalf of township resident Kevin Casey. Higgs contended . . . the entire site is an environmentally sensitive area . . . and testimony has shown the quarry will indeed have an adverse impact on the (underground) water supply and (nearby) wetlands.
Higgs encouraged the supervisors to take into account these potential negative aspects when making their decision.
Higgs prefaced his remarks by stating that Casey, a resident of Small Mountain Road, has filed legal action against the supervisors because of alleged non-public meetings that had been conducted between 2007 and the present between township and Pennsy Supply officials. Casey and Higgs contend the alleged meetings violate the state Sunshine Law.
Casey, furthermore, through Higgs, has also challenged a decision by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which issued a permit in March 2012 approving the expansion. Casey wants the permit revoked.
In its proposal, Pennsy is planning to shift its operations from its present site on the north side of Small Mountain Road to 120 acres on the south side.
Overall, the implied threat to the water supply was a recurring theme. In summary, township residents offered these comments:
• Kirk Buchanan: We need leverage over the company in order to protect our water.
• Dan Donough: Our water is everybody's water and we need you (the supervisors) to protect us.
• Joseph Chalawick: If they ruin our water, then we're all in big trouble.
• David DelRigno: (to the supervisors) In making your decision, you have to think about the impact on our water.