July 27, 2011 —
A company was issued a building permit for an asphalt plant in a zone where it is not permitted. Damascus Township officials were surprised when they learned that Haines and Kibblehouse (H & K), a large quarry operator in the state and owner of the Bedrock Quarry in the township, was issued a building permit to open a hot asphalt plant next to its quarry on Oregon Turnpike.
“It’s not allowed in that zone,” said Jeff Dexter, chairman of the Damascus Township Board. The supervisors were puzzled that the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) did not check with them first before the permit was issued.
“This is very unconventional,” Dexter said.
Last Friday, Dexter directed the township’s planning commission to discuss the permit at its meeting and make a recommendation. The commission stated that it was very clear that township zoning forbids it.
It would be considered “spot zoning” if the township created zoning just for this company. Spot zoning is forbidden in state regulations.
Township officials were worried what could happen when a large company like H&K had a permit in hand and could possibly act on it.
Dexter has directed township attorney Jeffrey Treat to write a letter of complaint to DEP.
A few years ago, H & K intended to build a cold asphalt plant at the site but the plant was never built. The township zoning allows a cold asphalt plant but not a hot asphalt plant.
Neither a representative from the DEP or from Haines and Kibblehouse could be reached for comment.