Friday, November 4, 2016

West Penn Supervisors decree that recording can't take place at public meetings - but this is allowed under the Sunshine Act

It is reported that citizens of West Penn Township have been told that they can't record public meetings, and/or that they would have have to prior written permission to make such recordings.  Recording of meetings is specifically allowed under the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act:
§ 711.  Use of equipment during meetings.
        (a)  Recording devices.--Except as provided in subsection
     (b), a person attending a meeting of an agency shall have the
     right to use recording devices to record all the proceedings.
     Nothing in this section shall prohibit the agency from adopting
     and enforcing reasonable rules for their use under section 710
     (relating to rules and regulations for conduct of meetings).
        (b)  Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives.--The
     Senate and House of Representatives may adopt rules governing
     the recording or broadcast of their sessions and meetings and
     hearings of committees.
Sec 711 of PA Sunshine Act

If a tv station appears at a meeting to videotape, do they need "permission"?  Nope.  This is more bs, which appears to be in abundance in West Penn Township.  Section 710, referred to above, merely provides that activities at a meeting shall not interfere with the meeting.  As long as the recording does not interfere, it is allowed.  Requiring "written permission" is a crock of sh!t.  The back-asswards leadership of this community needs a serious wake-up call.  This isn't the Wild West.

If it looks like a crock and smells like a crock, it probably is a crock

West Penn residents should get everything associated with this water extraction debacle recorded, so they can protect their rights.

West Penn supervisors have a quandry - either protect their citizens and roads, or cater to a single business owner

In West Penn Township, the patience of affected residents has run thin with long term water extraction at a site near the East Brunswick border at Kepners Road.  The recent expansion by the owner of this operation to a new site only 2 miles away, at #1 Fort Franklin Road, has pushed some residents over the edge.

Tanker trucks associated with the #1 Fort Franklin Road operation have been reported to:
  1. Have destroyed the guardrail at the intersection of Route 309 and Blue Mountain Dr
  2. Pulled completely over the double yellow line and road shoulder of Blue Mountain Dr, when turning from Blue Mountain Drive onto Route 309 South
  3. Pulled over into and blocked both oncoming lanes of Route 309 North, when turning from Blue Mountain Dr onto Route 309 South.
  4. Be of the 50-ton configuration as well as the smaller 40-ton.
Let's take a look at the box that West Penn Supervisors are in, considering the ongoing battle of wits that has taken place in the past few years.

November 2015 Road Structure Engineering Study Findings
Let's review the results of the Road Structure Engineering Study that West Penn supervisors commissioned and was completed in November of 2015.  Only four roads were studied - Retreat Road, Dorset Road, Kepners Road and Blue Mountain Drive.

  1. Apparently, this study was done specifically to address concerns of Jay Land's water tankers finding their way from the existing site of MC Resource Development at Kepners Road and the new site of Ringgold Acquisition Group at Fort Franklin Road onto Routes 895 and 309.
  2. The study's recommendation was that all four roads should be posted with a 15-ton maximum weight limit. 
  3. While Retreat Road and Dorset Road could withstand the current (prior to the activity that commenced at #1 Fort Franklin in October 2016) traffic with a 15-ton restriction, Blue Mountain Drive and Kepners Road require an additional 1-1/2 inches of pavement to withstand the traffic at that time, with a 15-ton restriction.  No upgrades have been made to these roads since the study.
  4. Even with a 15-ton restriction and 1-1/2 inches of additional pavement, Blue Mountain Drive and Kepners Road still would not have proper drainage or shoulders.

West Penn supervisors have allowed Jay Land to continue operations
at #1 Fort Franklin, in violation of his permit
Jay Land's company obtained a permit for agricultural water extraction at #1 Fort Franklin Road.  He never filed a Land Development Plan, and was issued a Notice of Violation in March 2015.  That's a year and half ago.  Despite the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors informing a resident on July 2, 2016 that a cease and desist order was being prepared, that was apparently never issued.  Or that is being violated too.  It's hard to tell - residents report that supervisors really don't tell them what is going on.  When the doo-doo hits the fan, the supervisors say they didn't know either.  Ignorance is not an attribute.  Now commercial water extraction is taking place, and at least one resident's water quality has gone from great to shit.

West Penn residents report that supervisors have told them to go elsewhere to get relief.  Talk to PADOT, talk to DEP, talk to DRBC.  Go everywhere but the people running the township.  Don't expect anything from us, but we're doing everything we can.  What the hell - take some responsibility damn it.  50-ton trucks aren't allowed to be on the roads being used without a permit from both West Penn Township and PADOT.  Did you issue one of those?  Do you even know?  What's my name, what day is it?

West Penn Supervisors are "doing all we can" - like Jerry Lundegaard @ 1:44

I can't get out of my own way
So what is the box?  West Penn Supervisors have allowed a business owner to do whatever he pleases, their own road study shows the roads can't support the traffic from either of Mr. Land's facilities even if 1-1/2 inches of pavement were to be added, the added tanker traffic beginning in October 2016 is destroying the shoulders of Blue Mountain Drive (or the guard rail - pick your poison) when turning onto Route 309, and tankers are blocking oncoming traffic onto Blue Mountain Drive, Route 309, or both.

Here's the real problem:  Mr. Land's tankers are 40 to 50 tons.  The roads used to transport water from the Kepners Road and Fort Franklin Road sites can't handle 15 ton trucks even if improvements were made.  According to the study, Mr. Land should switch to tankers that don't exceed 15 tons, or cease operations.  He should cease operations at Fort Franklin Road anyway, because he never satisfied the conditions of his permit.  West Penn supervisors spent over $10,500 of taxpayer funds on this study, but they don't seem eager to do anything with the results that negatively impact Mr. Land, but provide a plan for securing the safety and integrity of the roads for all citizens.  The plan was to implement a posting and bonding program.

Do West Penn supervisors have the balls to make a single business owner accountable, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents?  Based on history, it is unlikely.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jay Land water extraction operation in West Penn operating despite notice of permit violation causes neighbor's well to become unusable

About three weeks ago, a water extraction operation at #1 Fort Franklin Road in West Penn Township ramped up production despite the fact that a required Land Development Plan was never submitted and the township issued a Notice of Violation regarding same on March 2, 2015.   This operation is run by Jay Land, who also owns a similar operation a few miles away on Blue Mountain Drive.

The water tankers leaving this site are 40 to 50 tons, which far exceed the 15-ton recommended limit that resulted from a November 2015 engineering study commissioned by the township.

Neighbor's water FUBAR

 In the past week, a neighbor to #1 Fort Franklin Road had the insult of their water quality going to hell in addition to the nightmare of tractor trailer traffic at all hours of the night that they have experienced for the past three weeks.  Their water became muddy, dirty and foul smelling:

Honey, would you like to take a romantic soak tonight?

True Grit - a little iron in your diet will do you wonders

On October 18, 2016, West Penn Supervisor James Dean told this blogger that the Supervisors couldn't comment on what they were doing to insure the health, safety and welfare of West Penn residents, but to rest assured this was the highest priority of the supervisors.  I call Bull Shit.  This is the same supervisor who told a resident via voice mail on July 2, 2016 that a cease and desist order was being crafted against this operation.  Fool me once, fool me twice.  Actions speak much louder than words.

Next BOS meeting on November 7, 2016

The West Penn supervisors next regularly scheduled meeting is on Monday, November 7.  What will happen?  Will Mr. Land bathe the audience and supervisors with the usual raft of nonsensical mumbo-jumbo that is memorialized in countless BOS minutes of the past few years?  Will the supervisors tell residents that they are listening to their concerns, and then ignore them after each has spoken at the lecturn?  What about... the health, safety and welfare of the residents?  Does water quality fall under that?  The ability to pull into your road without risking a head on collision with a massive tanker that is parked totally in your lane facing you?  The road being destroyed by tankers nearly three times the weight the road can handle?

Health Safety and Welfare is the stated highest priority in West Penn Township