Saturday, January 14, 2017

Waste Management buys another residential property in Plainfield Township, while partner Synagro searches for new site for biosolids plant

On January 9, 2017, a deed was filed transferring another residential property in Plainfield Township to Grand Central Sanitary Landfill (Waste Management).  Waste Management paid $325,000 for this property.  The address is 1863 Delabole Road, right next door to a house the landfill bought just two months ago for $350,000.  These are princely sums, considering the location.  Both are in Farm and Forest zoning - which does not permit solid waste operations.  The most recently purchased property is shown in yellow shading in the following diagram:

Waste Management is buying houses in Plainfield Township PA in an agricultural preservation/residential zoned area next to its landfill - could this be related to a planned expansion?

Jan 9, 2017 recorded transfer of one acre residential property from Tommy Messinger to Grand Central (Waste Management)

Possible reasons a trash dump is buying residential properties

Plainfield Township's Solid Waste Processing and Disposal (SW) district was created to host the landfill.  There are only three tax parcels in the SW district.  One is Evergreen Cemetery, one is a 4.35 acre site that is owned by the landfill and leased to Green Knight Energy Center, and the last and by far largest is the landfill.  The parcel with the landfill extends into the Farm and Forest zoning district, and that portion is adjacent to the houses the landfill recently purchased.
Plainfield Township's Solid Waste Zoning District - landfill parcel spans two zoning districts - click lower right corner to see full screen

There are three possible reasons that Waste Management is scooping up houses in this area.  
  1. Reduce complaints by and liability to homeowners against a perceived bad neighbor.  What if the incidence of throat cancer is inordinately high, for example?
  2. Expand the landfill (!).  Note that Perins own adjacent farmland to the east.
  3. Reduce the number of neighbors to a property you own contiguous with the landfill that could host the Synagro crap bakery.
The second and third require that the SW district be enlarged.  The landfill has already expanded to its boundaries, with the exception of steep and wooded areas along its western border with the Plainfield Township Recreational Trail.

Plainfield Township Zoning Map
For reference, here is the Zoning Map for Plainfield Township:

Synagro is reportedly considering sites within the SW district for biosolids plant
At the "information sessions" held this past week, multiple attendees report that they were told Synagro is considering sites within the SW district - they they haven't chosen a site yet.  The latter part of this is not true - Synagro has a Site Plan before the Plainfield Township Planning Commission, that they quietly submitted and had reviewed without notifying the public they were in town (even though their PR materials claim the public would participate in reviews):

Synagro Site Plan for solid waste processing plant in commercial industrial zoning district

Syangro's proposal to construct a biosolids plant that will process 400 tons of crap a day is for a site in the Commercial Industrial (CI) district to the northwest of the energy center - where it is not permitted, and a variance can not be granted for it.  Therefore, they will have to find a location within the SW district to locate the plant.  It is submitted that the only possible places to do this would be either in a low lying area along the Little Bushkill Creek on the left edge of the SW district, or in the field shown at the bottom right of the picture above, assuming the zoning of that area is changed to SW.  Another reason to buy houses is to reduce objections from homeowners to having zoning changed.  Waste Management isn't going to object to itself expanding the area for solid waste operations.

Waste Management and its predecessors are used to getting what they want in Plainfield Township, but residents are fed up with the odors from next door to miles away, reduced property values and reduced quality of life and are looking forward to the dump being closed.  Little wonder that the possibility of hosting a crap processing plant for decades after the dump closes is not acceptable.  Hosting a dump turns out to have its downside - go figure.  Money doesn't talk like it did prior to the elevation of the dump rising to compete with that of Blue Mountain.

It is rumored that more properties in the same area as those just purchased are under contract to Waste Management.  This story isn't over - these greedy people haven't shown all their cards yet.

Golden Turd awarded to Synagro, Green Knight Economic Development Corporation and Waste Management for deceit and misrepresentation

In its October 31, 2016 Site Plan submission, Synagro included a public relations document in which it boasted that the public would be notified of and take part in hearings.  The only one of these hearings thus far - not advertised to the public, was on November 21, 2016, when the Plainfield Township Planning Commission reviewed the Site Plan.  What happened to public participation?   Synagro issued a press release on November 22, 2016 informing the public of the meeting that happened the evening prior.  Lying and deceitful are words that come to mind.  That evening, Planning Commission Vice Chairman Robert Cornman Jr, who is also the Vice President of Green Knight Economic Development Corporation, suggested four times that Synagro's application could be forwarded with conditional approval.  Now it is known that Synagro's use is not even permitted where proposed in that site plan, and their pending application is a steaming pile of crap.   In recognition of his shameless and unsuccessful effort to push this nonsense through despite fellow members' reservations, Mr. Cornman was voted off the planning commission by a vote of 3-2 at the Plainfield BOS January 2017 reorganization meeting.  He earned it.

Talking shit - Joint public relations document submitted October 31 misrepresents that the proposed project meets zoning requirements and that the public will be notified of and participate in hearings

The public was not notified of the most important first review before the planning commission, at which a member with a conflict of interest attempted to move the application forward - a member who should have known the Site Plan violated the zoning ordinance.  Does this in any manner represent a cooperative and open partnership or dialog with the community?

For their stunning lack of public transparency and proposing a project that does not come close to satisfying zoning requirements, Synagro, Green Knight, and Waste Management have jointly earned the Golden Turd Award.  Congratulations - it looks smart on you.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that the mission statement on green knight's website has changed. I am fairly certain that in December it read "to improve the lives of residents of the Slate Belt community". It doesn't say that now but rather touts economic development. And it is the first thing you see on their home page. I think this has been changed to justify the synagro sludge plant. Unfortunately I didn't take a screen print of the mission statement at the time.