Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Former Eldred Township Zoning Officer who botched Nestle Waters application review and cost residents $90K rumored to run for Supervisor

In Eldred Township, Nestle Waters submitted a fatally-flawed application in December 2015 to cite a water extraction operation next to the Buckwha Creek.

Eldred's Zoning Officer at the time, Ellerslie "Bub" Helm, gave Nestle's application his seal of approval.  This first came in the form of a few sentences, which he didn't even bother to sign.  A month later, he wrote a paragraph in which he now stated there "might be an issue" with multiple uses, and signed it.  The township's engineer was paid over $10,000 (well spent, since "Bub" fucked up) to locate the serious and obvious issues with Nestle's plan that Helm missed.

Helm missed:
  • The fact that Nestle's operation would close a county-mapped through access road that existed on the property for 80+ years, to multiple land-locked parcels off-site.
  • That Nestle's proposal located bulk storage tanks in an area disallowed by the ordnance.
  • That Nestle's operation could not be co-located with the other uses on the proposed site and satisfy the zoning ordinance.
If Helm had flagged these issues, he would have issued a ruling that at least one variance was needed by Nestle.  This is critical, because Nestle could not prove the hardships needed to justify a variance.

Helm was sacked at the June 2016 Eldred BOS meeting.  This pathetic sack is rumored to have an interest in running for Eldred Township Supervisor.  He must be suffering from dementia or something.
Ellerslie "Bub" Helm at age 21

This blogger had the extreme displeasure to encounter or witness Helm on multiple occasions in his former official capacity.  The first time was in his office, when the request was made to inspect the Eldred zoning ordinance.  Although Helm had spent the previous 15 minutes shooting the breeze about how wonderful the walking trail on the old railroad bed is and it goes all the way to Little Gap (turns out the trail doesn't go all the way to Little Gap, and due to Helm's incompetence and lack of attention, the trial was heavily damaged by irresponsible tree harvesting at the Kunkletown Rod and Gun Club), he suddenly announced he was far too busy to hand me the zoning ordinance.

The Zoning Officer is the first line of defense when a business seeks to develop a site in town.  Helm informed me there was plenty of water on the site that Nestle was considering, and he had no problem with their proposal.  It was clear that when Nestle submitted a Site Plan, Helm would give it the green flag - which is not his job.

In nearby Plainfield Township, Zoning Officer John Lezoche similarly gave Synagro his gold seal approval in November 2016, when they applied to locate a human crap bakery in town.  Only when it was shoved in his face that Synagro needed not one but two use variances, did he reverse course and issue a new ruling that Synagro would need zoning relief.  Similar to Nestle, Synagro can't meet the criteria to achieve a use variance.  Cost to Eldred taxpayers to successfully fight off Nestle, since "Bub" fucked up?  $89,500.  Cost to Plainfield Township taxpayers?  $0, but only because people intervened and bitch-slapped the Zoning Officer.

Mr. Helm was useless.  Despite being asked numerous times to address annoying burning of trash, Helm shit the bed in his ordinance interpretation and enforcement.  First, he argued that the resident could burn egg cartons because they don't contain petroleum products (bullshit).  Next, he took glossy 8x10" date-stamped color photographs (at taxpayer expense) of the resident dumping paper, cardboard and plastic wrappers onto a fire, to "prove" they were not burning trash.  Only problem is, plastic wrappers are trash, and the county has an ordinance that states recyclables must be recycled county-wide.  So Helm proved the resident was breaking the law, but took the photos to prove they were abiding by it.

Dumb asses like this shouldn't be allowed to breathe the same air as the rest of us.  Helm will be doing competitors a favor by running - so they can bring up his performance as Zoning Officer.  Go ahead and run, Bub.