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Nestle moves forward in Eldred Township, files special exception zoning permit application

Published December 31. 2015 05:30PM
Nestle has filed a special exception zoning permit application with Eldred Township as it moves forward with its attempt to start water extraction in the township. Earlier this month, residents filed a suit against the township, charging that a new ordinance that allows water extraction was not properly executed. The group has formed a non-profit to raise money for the fight. The Chestnut Springs Project Update on the Nestle website, details the testing conducted by EarthRes Group prior to the applications submission. Nestle says the report demonstrates that an average water withdrawal of 200,000 gallons of water per day would be environmentally sustainable with no adverse effects on the aquifer or water supply to residents. A traffic impact study conducted by Pennoni Associates. The study found that the water extraction project would result in a less than 3 percent increase in the traffic on Kunkletown Road and Silver Spring Road. In accordance with township zoning ordinance, truck loading operations would be prohibited between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. A sound level impact assessment, commissioned by Nestle and conducted by Epsilon Associates Inc., found that the proposed operation will not exceed current background noise levels in the surrounding area. Nestle says it would be proposing additional measures to minimize noise at the site so as not to impact neighboring properties. The report proposes to design the operation is such a way as to assure that it "blends into a rural community setting." The company says it is dedicated to "Manage Water Resources for Long-Term Sustainability." This is to be accomplished through "extensive monitoring" of aquifer water levels, and stream flows. If the project moves forward in Eldred Township, Deer Park says its will establish a community benefits fund of up to $750,000, depending on the permitted withdrawal amount. Next step The permit filed with Eldred Township is only the first step in the permitting process. Separate permit applications must be filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission. Neither of this permits have been submitted at this time. The Eldred Township Zoning Hearing Board will provide an opportunity for residents to offer public comment. If, after a public meeting the zoning hearing board approves the application, either with or without conditions, the residents may appeal the board's decision to the Court of Common Pleas. Nestle would also have the right to appeal any decision made by the board.

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