Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thanks to the people who have contributed and who continue to contribute to the fight - end of tunnel in sight

The withdrawal of Nestle's zoning hearing application yesterday means that there should be no possibility of industrial water extraction on the Gower property.

Concerned citizens have contributed generously with their time, effort, and their wallets in fighting this battle.  The lawyer for the Citizens who are named and for Everyone who has contributed and even those who haven't, James Preston, has appeared at each zoning hearing of Nestle's application, and had led the fight to overturn the ordinance that allowed Nestle to seek a permit.  Mr. Preston is eminently qualified in municipal law, and launched an excellent offense in the court appeal.  He also made strategic strikes during the zoning hearing board hearings, using his knowledge to ward off errant arguments by Nestle counsel Weston.

This battle is not quite over, and neither are the legal bills.  Lawyers bill monthly, so there is a current bill to be paid for May, and there will be one at least for June to handle tying up loose ends.  Edit 6/11 There will be a final zoning hearing board meeting on June 15 to formally accept Nestle's withdrawal of its application - an example of necessary steps to close this unnecessary chapter in Eldred's history.

There are multiple fund raisers either in progress or planned by ECCO/Eldred Future.  Raymond the Amish Comic will be at the Kunkletown Fire Hall at 8pm on July 16, where you and the family can trip the light fantastic while sipping some ice cold birch beer.  Orders are complete for tee-shirts (edit - deadline extended a few days), and there is a hoagie sale that orders are wrapping up for.  There also is a candle sale planned, and rumors of a series of "Movies on the Farm".

Community events are great and fun - and take work.  I bought a tee-shirt even though I'm an alien, and will be at the K-town Fire Hall to enjoy some frivolity.  I'd attend movies in the park in a heartbeat.

If you can afford to, please consider an outright tax deductible donation to Eldred Future, to fund the completion of the legal activities associated with this fight.  Every check for $10, $20, $50 etc makes a difference.  There is quite possibly a negative fund balance as we speak, and your water supply and your neighbors' water supplies have been very effectively defended in an unprecedented zoning victory in Pennsylvania against Nestle Waters.  Who beats Nestle?  Eldred Township, that's who.  Maybe you're not local, the same as me, but let's pay our collective fight in Pennsylvania and Everytown, USA back.   Your water is priceless.  Everyone who has contributed in whatever way should be proud of our accomplishment.  Think about Eldred's Future the next time you draw a glass of water.

Donations may be made payable to:
Eldred Future
PO Box 631
Kunkletown PA   18058

Neither this blog or the author has any connection with or interest in Eldred Future, other than a shared vision.

Nestle's withdrawal letter - not water withdrawal, but application withdrawal

Soon to be former Eldred Township zoning officer Ellerslie "Nestle's application is pristine" Helm was addressed the following letter by Nestle to officially withdrawal their application.

The WTF property line in Nestle's Site Plan - determined by Surveyor Bobby Beers' WTF Railroad Spike

An armchair examination of Nestle's site plan reveals an oddity.  The Gower Estates LLC property line allegedly crosses Stone Arch Bridge Road at a crazy angle, such that the road ends up totally on the Gower property.  Let's look at a reliable source to see if this is real, or nonsense - who builds a road on private property?

On left Nestle's Site Plan depicts property line crossing road on an angle
On right, PENNDOT map sheet 3 snippet of Chestnut Ridge Rd realignment in 1973
"PL" has been circled to show Gower Estates LLC property line
Identifying labels added by auther

Nestle counsel Weston put sheet 15 of PENNDOT's 1973 road realignment into evidence.  The map above right is part of sheet 3, clearly showing that the Gower property line is along the edge of Stone Arch Bridge Road.  Mr. Weston didn't put sheet 3 into evidence.

Now let's look at the WTF Property Line on Nestle's site plan - the depiction of Gower's property line crossing Stone Arch Bridge Road on a diagonal (top half of following diagram):

WTF Property Line exposed at top, rotated to its estimated correct orientation at bottom
33' Right of way also corrected in bottom panel

Note that there is a small circle along the property line, which Nestle's surveyor noted as "Railroad Spike Found", and is reflected on the boundary survey:
WTF Property Line, with pins and WTF Railroad Spike found that allegedly confirm deed

 Looking at the Gower deed from Eastern Industries in 2002, indeed this railroad spike is mentioned:

The WTF Railroad Spike - first mention in history is in Bobby Beers' 2002 survey

And in fact here is a picture of the spike taken on June 5:

WTF Railroad Spike on June 5, 2016

How did this railroad spike last through resurfacing of Stone Arch Bridge Road before it was abandoned in 1973?  Are we to believe that someone connected with the Chestnut Ridge Railroad drove this puppy into the bridge in the 1900's?

OK, let's look at the deed prior to Gower - the transfer in 1969 from Sheesley to Eastern Industries:

The WTF Railroad Spike was not mentioned in the 1969 Eastern Industries deed

Ignore the bearing difference of 10 and 15 degrees (Bobby's compass appears to have been off).  Bearings are relative in surveys.  There is no spike in the Eastern Industries deed.  There is also no spike in the Sheesley deed from Chestnut Ridge Railway in 1963:
The WTF Railroad Spike was not mentioned in the 1963 Sheesley deed either

Chestnut Ridge Railway owned the property dating all the way back to the 1900's, and there is no mention of the spike there either.  And there isn't mention of it in any of the PENNDOT maps from 1973.  WTF indeed.

The WTF Property Line can only be explained by the WTF Railroad Spike.  And there is no explanation for the WTF Railroad Spike.  Someone pounded it into the bridge around 2002 apparently.  And Bobby included it in his survey.  And someone apparently moved the two survey pins at the bottom of this course, near Chestnut Ridge Drive, because the Nestle surveyor indicates that he found pins there (one bent).  Any fool knows the property line crossing the road can't be legitimate - how did Mr. Beers and the Nestle surveyor not catch it?  How about Nestle Professional Engineer Ed Davis, who put the survey on his site plan, and signed it with his signature?

Evidence of the egregious misrepresentation in the depiction of Gower's property line would have been introduced if the Nestle hearings had continued.  Mr. Gower does not have and never had direct PENNDOT access to his property, because Edlred Township owns Stone Arch Bridge Road.  Locate it wherever you want right to left, put the survey markers wherever you want and he is still separated from PENNDOT property by the 33' right of way.  Six is half a dozen always.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The reason Nestle withdrew its application for a water extraction permit in Kunkletown, Eldred Township

On June 8, 2016, Nestle Waters announced it was withdrawing its application for a special exception permit.  After investing perhaps $250,000 in this project, why?

Let's recall that there were two hurdles for Nestle to overcome, both obtaining a permit and landowner Gower defending the court appeal of the ordinance change that allowed Nestle to target this site - if the appeal was won, it would have voided the amendment from Day 1.  Nestle needed a favorable outcome of both of these, and they wouldn't have obtained either one...

Special Exception Permit

In only an hour or two of cross examination of Nestle's civil engineer Ed Davis at the May hearing, very significant weaknesses were exposed.  First, it was established that Nestle's 30,000 gallon water silos are really tanks, and storage tanks are not permitted where Nestle wanted to place them.  Counsel Mr. Timothy R. Weston and engineer Ed Davis had tried to consistently call them silos - but slipped occasionally.  Second, Nestle ignored the fact there are two roads across the site (they didn't even show them on their Existing Features site plan), and that they had blocked one of them already with well installation.  They proposed placing a building in a road, and then had the nerve to argue it was a "driveway" with "some stone on it".  People have used this road since the 1960's as the sole access to their properties.  That Nestle thought it would get away with these absurd deceits of residents whose families have called Kunkletown home for a century or more is incomprehensible.  Is there a farmer anywhere that calls a water tank a "silo"?  Look who called a water storage tank what it is, at a Nestle Waters site only 15 miles away:

In Nestle Waters' 2004 Bangor, PA special exception application Mr. Weston called the water tanks "storage tanks".  True story.

None other than Nestle counsel Weston!  Mr. Weston's own words would have been placed into evidence if hearings had proceeded, on cross examination of Mr. Davis - who incidentally was also involved in the Bangor operation.  Above-ground storage tanks are not permitted where Nestle planned them on the Gower property.   Mr. Weston and Mr. Davis have been through this rodeo many times.  A two-person hit squad.  Busted.

If on-site roads had been shown , it would be clear an ordinance violation has already occurred
Note: Sandy Hill Path's edges (brown lines) were not shown on Nestle's Site Plan

Nestle's own exhibit NWNA-28 shows that Sandy Hill Path is a "road" - you can't make this sh!t up

Looking down Sandy Hill Path at blockage at Nestle well PB-2
Why the hell would they block the road, and not find a better place?

There is plenty more, but there is no need to go further.  Nestle needed variances for both of these ordinance violations, and former (as of June 11) Eldred zoning officer Helm didn't catch that.  If he had, Nestle would have been required to apply for variances that they could not obtain.  They couldn't obtain them because they couldn't meet the criteria.  One criterion for relief is that the site can't be used for another use.  There are two other uses already on the site - end of story, done, finished.  Thus, Nestle's application was total garbage from inception - a pile of crap.  If not for the incompetence of Helm, a lot of attorney's fees could have been avoided.  Just because Bub didn't catch it doesn't mean Nestle gets to violate the ordinance.  Bub couldn't catch a snowflake with his hat in a blizzard.
Nestle Engineer Ed Davis would have had a bad night if the June 15 hearing had taken place

If the June 15 hearing had taken place, Ed Davis' testimony would have been hacked to pieces on further cross examination.  Lot lines depicted wrong on the site plan, a right of way shown where it isn't, many other deficiencies.  It would have been ugly.  We can take much satisfaction Nestle is gone, but dang it would have been fun to pummel them into the ground on their way out of town.

Update 6/9 2:15PM See a previously unreported major deficiency in Nestle's Site Plan here.

Court appeal of amendment that allowed Nestle to apply for a permit

What has become obvious to anyone with eyes, and who has been exposed to the process that was required but was not followed, is that the procedural challenge of the amendment under the laws of Pennsylvania would have been easily won.  The recent discovery that the advertisement of the amendment was modified after it was sent to the Pocono Record for advertisement was just the icing on the cake; procedures were violated every single step of the way.  The probability the appeal would have been won at the county court was very high - 80% or more in this author's opinion.  If When won, it would have voided the amendment from the day it was enacted, meaning Nestle could not proceed.

Depositions were about to take place, and several people had reason to fear this.  Who knew about and took part in efforts to alter the ordinance?  What about Darcy Gannon altering official planning commission minutes on request of her daughter's boyfriend's attorney?  Who altered the Public Notice ad that was placed by the landowner's attorney's law firm after it was submitted, and was that it done in writing or by phone call to a "friend"?  Why didn't the CJER solicitor or county planning commission review the water extraction amendment?  In Nestle's application withdrawal statement on June 8, they said that the landowner had "concerns" about the project proceeding. Um, yeah, and lots of others too.

About four months ago, I looked Mr. Andreus in the eye and said "This isn't going to end well for you."  I am not clairvoyant.  The writing was all over the wall.  It's pathetic that Nestle put Eldred Township though this.  The greed is palpable.

Nestle pulls out of Kunkletown/Eldred Township - don't let the doors of the Community Center hit you in the ass

Nestle water scavenger Eric Andreus announced at this evening's Eldred Township Board of Supervisors meeting that Nestle is pulling the plug on the absurdly envisioned and poorly planned operation to suck the very life blood out of Kunkletown and destroy its character and ambiance.  As reported here and in the press, their application was grossly deficient.  This announcement by Nestle was an acknowledgement that they could never obtain a permit, and even if they did they would have lost the court appeal of the ordinance change.

Nestle Waters statement with commentary added by this blog's author

Congratulations to the community for coming together in solidarity to fight the corrupt and incompetent actions that allowed Nestle to even apply to locate an operation in the village.

The hard and diligent work of the new Eldred Township Supervisors, the Eldred Township Planning Commission and its new solicitor, Hanover Engineering, concerned citizens and a few non-citizens made this victory possible.  Screw Nestle Waters and the horses they rode in on, and the assholes who clandestinely invited them into town through many acts intended to deceive taxpaying citizens and deprive them of their right to due process.  The citizens are not your whores.  Incompetent fools from the so-called Planning Consultant, CJER, the county planning commission and to top it off devious and unethical attorneys and proudly corrupt politicians.

Monroe County is a damned cesspool in places when it comes to government.  Eldred Township has put a marker down that it is bucking that trend.

Housekeeping announced at BOS meeting

In other news, Ellerslie "Bub" "Nestle's application looks just fine and you can burn egg cartons" Helm was told he need not come to work after this Friday.  Eldred Township will be contracting out zoning and building code official tasks from this point forward.  Also, recently appointed Solicitor "Bulldog" "Is naming a road across someone's property really a problem?" Karasek was replaced by the supervisors with Mr. Gaul this evening.  Mr. Gaul is also the planning commission solicitor, and a heck of a nice guy.  Keep up the great work, Eldred Supervisors!

Edit 6/9 10:30am: Eldred supervisors switched their legal advertisements from the Pocono Record to the Times News at last evening's meeting.  This in the wake of the revelation on this blog that the 2014 water extraction amendment text authorized to be advertised by the Record had language removed prior to printing.  Who made that call?  It wasn't Hillary Clinton.  And who took it?  Kelli?  Congratulations to the supervisors for shoving it up the Record's derriere.  More to follow on this blogger's investigation into this altered advertisement matter.

Who would have thought the residents of
Eldred Township and Kunkletown could destroy such wickedness?

Water destroyed this bitch too

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nestle Site Plan road right of way details FUBAR at entrance to target site

Nestle has a made a big deal out of their claim that the proposed site has direct access from a PENNDOT road.  But it doesn't, as was shown here.

In its application, Nestle refers to the short road that connects Chestnut Ridge Drive to near the Gower Estates LLC property as an "unnamed township road" numerous times.  This is not correct either - the name of that road is "Stone Arch Bridge Road".  There was a road sign at Chestnut Ridge Drive until it went missing in the last few years.  Wonder who took it.

But it gets worse.  Much worse.  Hanover Engineering indicated in its reviews that the right of way (ROW) of road T-361 (Stone Arch Bridge Road) must be shown on the Site Plan.  Look where Nestle's engineer placed it (red rectangle):

Nestle depicts Stone Arch Bridge right of way hanging halfway over Buckwha Creek and dead-ending in a field instead of spanning the road - field of dreams?
"Stone Arch Bridge Rd" labels, "stolen road sign" and ROW highlighting added by author

The lime green rectangle is an approximation of where the ROW actually is - you know, like actually encompassing the road?  On the southern portion of Stone Arch Bridge Road where it turns west towards Chestnut Ridge Drive, Nestle's purported ROW is entirely to the west of the road edges depicted.  Who builds a road next to its right of way instead of within it?  In addition, the depicted ROW abruptly ends without explanation in the middle of a grassy area which is a portion of the Old Mill property.  Nestle appears to not want to show that the full 33' width of the Stone Arch Bridge Road right of way separates the Gower Estates LLC property from PENNDOT property.

Nestle's site plans submitted in December 2015 didn't mention road or right of way - fail

A deficiency independent of the right of way misrepresentation is that about 30' of Stone Arch Bridge Road just north of the Gower entrance is depicted as entirely within the Gower Estates LLC property boundary.  Looks pretty fishy, ey?  More to follow on this subject later.

An approximate corrected depiction of the Stone Arch Bridge Road right of way
What's with that funky lot line - where is Surveyor Beers when you need him?