Land Use Concerns Brought Before Dorrance Officials

Chairman Gary Zane led a contentious July 14th Dorrance Township municipal meeting with zoning matters very much on residents minds.

In a continuation of the previous complaints, Keith Hazlak, the neighbor of Stairville Road-based Mountain Express, Inc. again brought new objections to the board. While an appeal of the township’s zoning hearing board is tied up in county court, Hazlak reported, harassment from the truck repair business continues. The latest instance was the loss of a trailer from a truck coupler, sending the trailer in to rest in Hazlak’s yard.

“This has been going on for over eight months. I’ve been living with this every day, and I’ve had it. I’ve got some pictures. After the last meeting on June 7th, at 9:20 am we hear a big bang! What kind of trucking company losses their trailer off of their truck across two lanes of the highway?” To make matters worse, he continued, a car trying to avoid the obstacle veered into his front yard almost hitting him.

Solicitor Donald Karpowich explained that the supervisors are not party to the court case, chiding Hazlak, “It’s not fair of you to blame the supervisors for a matter they’re not a party to.” Hazlak ask what could be done to hasten the process and the solicitor reminded him the he’d suggested before that Hazlak join the case so that his interests are represented in court.

During the discussion, resident Kevin Gallagher commented that the truck business has, “been there forever.” He asked Hazlak why he is objecting now, “You didn’t notice it when you were moving in?”

Later Gallagher raised his own zoning concerns relating to recent reports that the township is taking a proactive step in address CAFO’s or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Gallagher asked if there would be a public hearing on the amendments to the township’s zoning laws. Atty. Karpowich explained the steps required under state law to amend the zoning ordinance.

He said that the revisions would be presented to the planning commission and reviewed publicly by them. Then the commission prepares a written recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Upon the board’s approval, a public hearing will be scheduled and the amendment will be sent to the Luzerne County Planning Commission for review and comment. All of this before the board can make any changes, the attorney explained.

Gallagher said, “So there‘s nothing to view yet? Because when I hear something like this, I wonder how it’s going to affect guys like me with agricultural property.”

He said, “I’m always wary of how things like that can filter down and come down to smaller areas being affected.”

Karpowich explained the state’s role in regulating these controversial concentrated animal feeding operations. “The state regulates the operation and the municipality regulates the location.”

He added that it’s important for the supervisors to do this because these commercial operations aren’t addressed at all in the zoning rules and that restricts a local say in where an operation like that could be placed.

Gallagher objected, “Regulation to me equals stoppage. I’ve seen it a million times.”

Karpowich replied, “The township needs to regulate the separation of industrial use from residential use so that the industrial use doesn’t interfere with the quiet use and enjoyment of a residential property.”

Gallagher persisted, “I want to see what’s in this plan. I want to see how this is going to affect me and a lot of people I know.”

One industrial neighbor has been visited and found to be compliant

See Concerns page 4