MILFORD, PA — Ever since the first mention of the potential mega-warehouse to be constructed off Routes 84 and 6, environmental activists have been making their opinions clear, demanding a …
MILFORD, PA — Ever since the first mention of the potential mega-warehouse to be constructed off Routes 84 and 6, environmental activists have been making their opinions clear, demanding a shutdown of the project.
The proposed development is approximately 2,800 feet from Milford Springs, a resource for fresh water that supplies both Milford and Dingmans Ferry. With the potential warehouse being constructed in close proximity, activists fear that the water source could be contaminated.
Those advocating for the project say that all regulations are being upheld.
The project is making its way through the regulatory process. The first step was submission of a conditional-use application to the Milford Township planning commission. While there was a delay in supporting documents for the application, the application has now been received. The planning commission is working on its review.
The first meeting was July 26 and a second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23.
The proposal will also receive a public hearing. LVL Engineering Group (LVL) and its legal team are making a case for the development to enter the township, opposing the Milford Water Authority (MWA) and its legal team.
The first hearing took place on July 5, and the second will take place on Monday, October 3.
The mega-warehouse is being marketed by the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA). According to executive director Michael Sullivan, the EDA is helping the developer find clients who will utilize the 450,000-square-foot facility. The EDA is partnered with the developers through marketing; however, Sullivan supports LVL’s statement that the project has followed all zoning regulations and compliances.
“The people who oppose development often say things on environmental concerns; one thing we make sure of is that we follow all environmental compliances,” said Sullivan. Along with environmental compliances, Sullivan has also said that the project is appropriately zoned and is in “full compliance with zoning regulations.”
Though the EDA’s primary role in the project is purely marketing and facilitating aid for local business development, it faced backlash from local activists at their meeting on August 2.
A group known as the Friends of the Milford Aquifer (FMA) has been combatting the proposed development out of concern for the Milford Springs.
A small group came to the meeting and asked the EDA for a “cease and desist” on the project. However, the EDA only regulates marketing on the project; it is not attached to any applications that were submitted by LVL. Activists also demanded that the EDA halts all marketing on the project.
“First of all, we did not submit the application… individuals submitted the application. Secondly, the idea of marketing, well, it’s fundamental,” said Sullivan.
FMA members hoped the EDA would turn down the project, as the MWA came out against the development during the public hearing last month.
However, the EDA remains as a primary marketer for the the mega-warehouse.
The FMA’s Vito DiBiasi has been the leading force from the advocacy group to end the project entirely. The FMA is focused on protecting the aquifer.
Despite Sullivan’s claim that the project met environmental requirements, DiBiasi has referenced multiple tests from the past that suggest any devlopment could be detrimental to the springs. Through all the meetings that have taken place, DiBiasi has noted some failures in the development’s process from LVL, as well as negligence regarding tests conducted in years prior.
“The more we learn about the inadequacies of LVL’s water/sewer two-year storm limited system, the more we are concerned for the Milford Aquifer, Milford Springs and Exceptional Value streams—Sawkill Creek and Sloat Brook,” said DiBiasi. “LVL, at their last application meeting on July 26, said this project will not affect the water, the air, the noise and the road safety. Zero effects on anything. LVL has no scientific studies to back up those outrageous claims and does not plan on doing them. They want us to take their word for it. Where[as] the opposition has many scientific studies that show just the opposite.”
DiBiasi has cited 1989 chemical tests conducted on the issue of water leading into the aquifer and the springs multiple times about the harm the development could cause. The test results showed an eight-hour window in which pollution would fall into unconfined aquifers, leading to contamination of the freshwater source. There was also a study conducted in 2004 by a local hydrologist on sand and gravel reaching the uncontained aquifer. It was found that the hydrologist was tied to the EDA through funding.
As more meetings are expected, DiBiasi plans to continue his and the group’s cause to end the proposal.
“The next step is to continue to educate the community taxpayers/voters on the inadequacies of LVL’s two-year system and the wider health and safety hazards inherent in this project, and raise the community to the next level of protests,” said DiBiasi.
The ultimate determination on the suitability of the project in that location will be made by the Milford Township Board of Supervisors as informed by the planning commission’s review, and by the public hearing on October 3.
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