Res­i­dents op­pose ex­tend­ing quarry agree­ment

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Re­becca An­to­nioli

Jour­nal Reg­is­ter News Ser­vice

Hill­town res­i­dents came out in droves to dis­cuss con­cerns about pos­si­bly ex­tend­ing the Hanes & Kib­ble­house Quarry 2005 agree­ment un­til 2045.

The cur­rent agree­ment be­tween H&K and Hill­town Town­ship ex­pires in 2020, but if ac­cepted, a pro­posed amend­ment would keep the quarry — lo­cated at 901 Minsi Trail in the Bloom­ing Glen sec­tion of the town­ship — open an ad­di­tional 25 years.

Ac­cord­ing to H&K rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the rea­son they want to ex­tend the agree­ment is be­cause of the poor eco­nomic cli­mate over the past few years. Scott Drum­bore, man­ager of en­gi­neer­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices at H&K, ex­plained that the ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion in­dus­try pro­duc­tion has de­creased, leav­ing ex­tra re­serves at Bloom­ing Glen Quarry.

“Based upon the in­vest­ment made in the op­er­a­tion and pro­jected recla­ma­tion costs, it will be im­prac­ti­cal for Bloom­ing Glen Quarry to

aban­don avail­able re­serves,” Drum­bore wrote in a let­ter to the Hill­town Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

Drum­bore stated that if the agree­ment wasn’t ex­tended, more trucks would need to be added to make sure all of the avail­able re­serves would be ex­tracted from the quarry and then shipped to H&K Ma­te­ri­als by the 2020 dead­line.

In ad­di­tion to ex­tend­ing the min­ing sched­ule un­til Dec. 31, 2045, the amend­ment would also in­clude an in­crease in the quarry fee paid to the town­ship from 10 cents/ton to 35 cents/ton, a change in the dis­count on ma­te­ri­als pur­chased by the town­ship from 5 per­cent to 10 per­cent and an an­nual quarry fee cap of $1 mil­lion.

“We’re get­ting some­thing out if it, we don’t deny it. We have a prod­uct; it’s a valu­able prod­uct,” said Joe LaFlamme, an at­tor­ney for H&K. The prod­uct LaFlamme was re­fer­ring to is the red stone that’s used in ar­chi­tec­ture.

At a pub­lic fo­rum Feb. 6, com­mu­nity mem­bers shared an open di­a­logue with mem­bers of H&K, giv­ing their points of view as to why the ma­jor­ity of them didn’t want the agree­ment ex­tended.

“It’s like we’re up against Go­liath,” said Judy Green­halgh, of Bloom­ing Glen Road. “My fear is for the en­vi­ron­ment and for the in­fra­struc­ture dur­ing the recla­ma­tion process.”

The recla­ma­tion process is some­thing with which many of the Hill­town res­i­dents took is­sue. Ac­cord­ing to Drum­bore, a 10-acre recre­ation lake would be added to the amend­ment, some­thing that wasn’t in­cluded in the 2005 agree­ment.

“I get the mu­tual ben­e­fit for H&K and Hill­town, and that it looks nice on pa­per,” said a res­i­dent who lives on Bloom­ing Glen Road. “But I’d like to get a much more im­me­di­ate ben­e­fit with the orig­i­nal pro­posal for a walking trail and trees. I’m not go­ing to get in my wheel­chair 33 years from now and watch my grand­kids swim in a lake.”

An­other res­i­dent agreed. “The peo­ple of this town­ship de­serve a park that they’ve been look­ing for­ward to,” he said.

One of the rea­sons why res­i­dents were so dis­traught about the pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion of the min­ing is be­cause even once the con­tract ex­pires, the recla­ma­tion process can go on for years, though H&K can’t say how long it will take. Ac­cord­ing to H&K owner John Haines, Point Pleas­ant, a sig­nif­i­cantly smaller quarry, has been in the recla­ma­tion process for about nine years. It’s cur­rently three-fourths of the way filled and still has about two or three years to go.

An­other res­i­dent, John Ap­ple, voiced his con­cern about what hap­pens once the mine ac­tiv­ity ceases and the recla­ma­tion process be­gins.

“Af­ter the day they stop min­ing, the money will stop coming in xto the town­ship] and the roads will keep get­ting torn out,” he said.

The lack of water and con­stant drilling and shak­ing were also prob­lems res­i­dents said they had with ex­tend­ing the agree­ment.

“I sit in my 200-year-old house and it shakes and rum­bles,” said res­i­dent Bill Stall. “I don’t hear the blasts, I feel the rum­bling.”

Ken Rush, a life­long res­i­dent, said neigh­bors have been wait­ing 25 years for the drilling and shak­ing to stop.

“This pro­posal is bold, au­da­cious, al­most out­ra­geous,” he said.

Brook Rush shared the same sen­ti­ment.

“A quarry, just like peo­ple, has a life cy­cle. bvery­thing comes to an end, and it’s time for the quarry to end,” said Rush.

Ac­cord­ing to Town­ship Man­ager Richard Sch­naedter, no date is set for the Hill­town Board of Su­per­vi­sors to make a de­ci­sion on the pro­posed amend­ment.

At the board of su­per­vi­sors meet­ing Mon­day, Feb. 11, the board de­cided Sch­naedter, Chair­woman Bar­bara Salvadore and town­ship So­lic­i­tor Fran­cis Grabowski would meet with an H&K rep­re­sen­ta­tive to seek an­swers to the pub­lic’s and the board’s ques­tions about is­sues such as tip­ping fees and the size of the pro­posed recre­ation lake.

Staff writer Meghan Ross contributed to this ar­ti­cle.

Right, Kenny Gehman and John Pat­ton take fas­nachts out of the frier.

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