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State Supreme Court rules Lehigh Asphalt can't expand

Published January 08. 2013 05:02PM

Lehigh Asphalt Paving and Construction Co., Tamaqua, can't expand a quarry on Hollow Road in East Penn Township, supervisors learned during a meeting Monday. The company's request to do so was shot down in a Dec. 17, 2012 decision by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruling came to light during the public comment portion of the supervisor's meeting, when resident Joe Ehritz congratulated solicitor James R. Nanovic on his work on the case, which has been ongoing since 1999. Lehigh Asphalt's challenge to East Penn's zoning ordinance began with the township, and continued to the Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, the Commonwealth Court and the Supreme Court. Nanovic represented the township at each level.

Lehigh Asphalt sought to expand a five-acre quarry operation located within the boundaries of a 114-acre parcel on Hollow Road, which is owned by Charles and Agnes Messina. The parcel includes 64 acres on the west side of Hollow Road and 50 acres on the east side, which is where the 5-acre quarry is located.

Since 1996 the parcel was zoned R (Rural) and RR (Rural Residential). The township zoning ordinance regarding mining and excavation, states that such operations are considered temporary uses of land, and are permitted by Special Exception.

In another matter involving ongoing litigation, East Penn Township has received a $2,500 payment from Clair Troxell. In December, supervisors gave Troxell 60 days to remove and/or properly store junk on his property, located on Route 895, and also pay a judgment of $8,140, plus interest (approximately $9,890).

Troxell has been cited and fined for three separate zoning violations for storing commercial vehicles at the building previously used as a schoolhouse and community center, for raising pigs on the property along Route 895, and for using the property for storing junk, tires and scrap metals. Troxell challenged the East Penn Township zoning ordinance and fines in the Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, and also the Commonwealth Court, which affirmed township fines that total $624,500.

East Penn is currently seeking citizens to serve on its zoning hearing board, where two of three positions are vacant. The board's lone member is John Reedy, with Jay Frey serving as an alternate. Anyone interested in serving on the zoning hearing board should contact one of the supervisors or township secretary Deanna Cunfer.

The supervisors also held a reorganizational meeting before their regular meeting. Dean R. Kercsmar was reappointed as chairman and Jacob Nothstein as vice-chair. Confer, who also serves on the township's planning board, was reappointed as township secretary.

Meetings will be held on the first Monday of the month, except for August, when the meeting will be held Aug. 1, and in September, when the meeting will be held Sept. 3. The township office will be open 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. during the week, and will be closed on Wednesdays.

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