Friday, August 4, 2017

Between a Rock and a Zoning Hearing Board Ruling

The relationship between the proposed expansion of the as-yet non-operational Gibraltar Rock Quarry and groundwater contamination at the neighboring property remained the central point around which all argument revolved Thursday night as the lawyers had their final say before the Zoning Hearing Board.

Now I could try to repeat everything they said, but most of it is contained in the Tweets below.

So let me sum up:

Gibraltar Rock Quarry Attorney Stephen Harris argued that even if the water pumping at the quarry pulls in contaminants form the former Good's Oil site off North Charlotte Street, it will be treated under the conditions of the permit, so everyone should be happy.

Rowan Keenan, attorney for the Paradise Watchdogs group, said even if the contaminants that reach the quarry pits are treated, the pumping will alter the flow of water underground and may contaminate nearby wells that will not be treated with the quarry water.

In a sadly comic passage, he also told the zoning hearing board that it is "alright to vote your conscience," whereas zoning board solicitor Ed Skypala said actually, that's not the case and the zoning board only has the authority to make decisions based on the facts in evidence.

And Bob Brant, attorney for the township, said he agreed with everything Keenan said and also pointed out that while Harris is trying to convince the zoning board that the first two parts of the quarry are going to begin operations, and they were approved by the zoning board, that Gibraltar has lost in court several times.

He pointed out that when the first two quarry segments were approved by the zoning board, no one knew about the groundwater contamination and the zoners should not feel obligated to follow suit on those first two decisions.

Brant and  Keenan both argued that testimony from township and Paradise Watchdog experts gave the zoning board adequate legal standing to deny the quarry request for the third expansion, which Harris said would take at least five years to get up and running.

The zoning board will issue its decision at the next meeting on Sept. 7 In the meantime, satisfy yourself with the Tweets!

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