UDC weighs in on Holbert Brothers quarry, Lackawaxen citizens group threatens lawsuit
July 13, 2011 —
More opposition to the proposed expansion of the Holbert Brothers Bluestone Quarry has surfaced. The Upper Delaware Council has sent a letter to the Lackawaxen supervisors asking them to reject the conditional use permit application because it would “constitute a clear violation of the Lackawaxen Township Zoning Ordinance, and it is not in substantial conformance with the Land and Water Use Guidelines in the River Management Plan (RMP) for the Congressionally-designated Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS).”
This is essentially the same argument made by the NPS superintendent Sean McGuinness a week earlier. The UDC letter says the permit application is nearly identical to the one made for expansion in 2008, which was later withdrawn by the applicant.
Then, as now, Dave and Wayne Holbert seem to have the view that the river corridor does not include land that cannot be seen from the river, although this is not reflected in the RMP.
On another matter, the Holbert’s application says that the project has received a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which would allow up to 375 trucks a day to enter and exit the site. The UDC letter requests a traffic study so that road and safety issues can be studied.
Those issues were also a concern of a group called “Save Lackawaxen,” which sent materials to the supervisors and The River Reporter. The group is calling for the supervisors to reject the permit application on various grounds. One is that the increased number of trucks on the winding, narrow roads in the area will pose a threat to safety. Another concern is that the rain run-off from the expansion will fall into a neighborhood known as St. Vincent’s Point below the mine.
The group also accuses the brothers of operating beyond the two five-acre sites that are already permitted for quarrying, and it says, based on aerial photography and a Google measurement tool, it appears that the size of the area presently being mined is 18 acres, not 10. (The permit application asks that an additional 40 acres be permitted for mining.)
A representative from the group, who did not want to be identified, said that if the supervisors grant the permit, the group will file a lawsuit against the township. McGuinness has also said the NPS will file a lawsuit against the supervisors if the expansion is approved.
The supervisors may make a decision on the matter on July 20.