Quarry proposal tabled for 30 days

August 14, 2003|by DON AINES

A preliminary plan for a proposed quarry near St. Thomas was tabled for 30 days to allow engineers for the developer to address about three dozen issues raised Wednesday at the St. Thomas Township Planning Commission meeting.

Major issues raised by township engineer Timothy C. Cormany included extension of sewer service to the 400-acre site and traffic concerns.

More than 50 people, most of whom oppose the quarry, concrete and asphalt plants planned for the former Mountain Brook Orchard, crammed in to the small meeting room, although the commission did not take comments from the public.


The township's subdivision and land development ordinance requires properties within 1,000 feet of a sewer line to connect to the system and extend it to the farthest end of the property, Cormany said.

That would mean extending the existing sewer line along U.S. 30 approximately 2,000 to 3,000 feet, according to Lance Kegerreis, the engineer for St. Thomas Development Corp.

"It could be a big issue," according to Kegerreis, who said the quarry would require only a few employee bathrooms. He said the development corporation may ask the township supervisors for a waiver of the requirement.

Last month, about 80 residents met to form a group to oppose the quarry. One issue raised was traffic from trucks hauling gravel and asphalt from the site.

Cormany said the commission wants more information about "how many trucks are going to be going in and out of there on a daily basis." Information about hours of operation also was requested.

The anticipated number of workers at the site will be about 20, according to Bryan Salzmann, an attorney for the corporation. In response to questions about the quarry earlier this month, he said another 50 jobs could be created in trucking and support services.

Investment in the project likely will exceed $5 million, according to Salzmann. The corporation spent about $2 million for the land.

Some concerns raised by the township planning commission also will be covered in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection permitting process, Cormany said.

The township wants more details of plans for stormwater management, soil erosion and screening. There also are questions about wetlands, historic preservation, road maintenance and improvements and a land reclamation plan that overlap with state regulations, Cormany said.

Kegerreis said state regulations require monitoring wells within 1,000 feet of the quarry and the corporation will ask to test all wells within that radius to establish existing water quality and monitor the effect of the mining operation on groundwater.

The township requested more detailed geological and hydrological studies of the site. The supervisors have hired geologist Wallace C. Koster of Chambersburg to review the data.

Koster said the site's geology includes layers of limestone and shale and faults that could mean the rock is unstable. That could be a safety issue as the quarry is mined as deep as 300 feet.

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