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Richland Twp. Asphalt Plant Update

The construction of the Asphalt Plant off of Mine 37 road has been put to a temporary stop as residents have filed an appeal against Richland Township’s zoning board.

Attorney Michael Carbonara along with attorneys Joseph Green and state senator Wayne Langerholc filed a land use appeal in the court of common pleas of Cambria county against a zoning decision by the Richland Township Zoning Hearing Board for the construction of an asphalt plant by the Quaker Sales Corporation back in August.

They filed the appeal in September on behalf of The Hunter’s Ridge development and the Mine 37 community within Richland Township. While the appeal process is taking place, the court issued a stay in the matter which halts all asphalt plant construction. Attorney Carbonara explains the different errors they found within the zoning board’s findings which are included in the appeal.

“There could be no smells, debris, or particulates that would leave the property where the development was going to go on, It was pretty clear from the testimony of the zoning hearing board that in fact particulate matter, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), and the like is going to leave the development where Quaker Sales was going to develop and those particulate matters are going to leave because of the winds and they’re going to end up in the Hunter’s Ridge and Mine 37 residences.”

He and the other attorneys believe that the zoning ordinance was purposefully vague in order to allow for its manipulation.

“The way that the zoning hearing board permitted Quaker Sales to develop the property, the zoning ordinance does not specifically allow asphalt plants to be placed at that location, There’s a catch-all provision in the ordinance that they relied upon It’s unconstitutionally vague because it’s hard to describe exactly what’s supposed to be there. That’s because people would not understand exactly what will be allowed there. It’s unconstitutionally vague and therefore not permitted.”

They’re also making an argument claiming that the variance is considered spot zoning, which is the illegal practice of singling out one area over others in surrounding land for the economic benefit of the owner.

“There’s an asphalt plant that’s currently in the manufacturing zone in Richland Township and this is where we believe this asphalt plant should have also been placed, So, by allowing the same type of development from manufacturing into light industrial, they’ve basically created a new manufacturing zone which we believe would be considered spot zoning under the law.”

The next step in the process is a public hearing that’s scheduled on March 16th, 2023, at 1:00 pm in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County.

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