Friday, June 2, 2017

West Penn Supervisor Anthony Prudenti may have solution to Jay Land's water tanker traffic - and stand to personally benefit financially

Pseudo spring water operations proliferate in West Penn Township

Water extraction has been the hot topic in West Penn Township for the past three years, and for good reason.  There are multiple operations running currently, and others are known to be in the planning stages.  On Dairy Road, Mountainside owned by Joe Jones is one operation but was shut down three times in 2017 for coliform.  Jay Land's M.C. Resources on Pine Valley Rd is selling untreated and untested water in violation of its DEP license, and was unable to reach a settlement with the DEP in an Environmental Hearing Board action - scheduled to be finally be ruled on later this month.  If whomever Land is selling water to is selling it as spring water, that's another problem - his wells at Pine Valley are over 200' deep and that isn't spring water.  Actually none of the operations in West Penn is producing spring water - they all use deep wells below bedrock.  Land is running a new operation on Fort Franklin Road under the name Ringgold, without any permits other than a zoning permit which the land owner obtained to allegedly extract water for ag use.  Also on Dairy Road, Bill Verano under the guise of an aquaculture operation called WJ Aquaculture, is believed to be gearing up to sell water with some label - his has manganese in it and can't be sold as spring water.  It is believed that Verano does not have a zoning permit to extract water for sale.  Last, Larry Hower, who is believed to want to break his contract with Jay Land (Hower owns much of the land used for Pine Valley) is seeking a Zoning Hearing Board special exception to get around Clean and Green regulations to withdrawal acreage on a property he recently purchased at 104 Blue Mountain Drive, and it is believed he may want to start his own water extraction operation there.  Jump on in - the water is full of crap.

All these half-assed operations producing a product that Nestle Waters won't go near with a 10' pole (spring water is from shallow sources above bedrock - the West Penn operations are all wells 200'+ deep) in one township.  How could West Penn residents be so lucky?   And what are township supervisors doing to make sure that these operators are following permit requirements and not damaging the roads and creating unsafe conditions?  Sadly and oddly, the answer is township supervisors are not doing a damned thing.  Why not is a question you should keep in mind...

Bonding and posting of roads - nothing more than a $14,000 smoke screen (you bought that)

The water extraction operations all involve selling to others - none of these businesses bottles the water itself.  This means trucking of water, in large water tankers.  A tandem axle 6200 gallon tanker is a gross weight of 40 tons, a triple axle 8000 gallon tanker is a gross weight of 47.8 tons.  A permit is required from PADOT for the larger tanker on state roads, from the township on township roads.  Loaded triple axle tankers have been observed running out of Fort Franklin Road, using both township and state roads, and are believed to not have these required permits.  West Penn Supervisors have done Jack Shit about this.  They used $14,000 of taxpayer funds in 2015 for an engineering road study, which recommended bonding and posting of roads.  The study found that township roads being used by water tankers are woefully deficient in being able to support said traffic.  On March 27, 2017, a workshop was held in West Penn to educate the supervisors and road department employees on how to enact a bonding and posting program, but Supervisor Prudenti is rumored to have stated afterwards that such a program could place an undue burden on owner/operators bringing their trucks home, and an unnecessary expense on businesses.  So having that workshop was just going through the motions?  Do nothing and let water hauling companies whose owners like Land don't even live in West Penn Township ruin the roads?  What the fuck?

Mr. Prudenti has a few solutions - which may benefit him in the wallet.  First let's pause and look where you can turn to for help in the township administration if you have a concern about water extraction and truck traffic.  Hint - the answer is no one.

Who you gonna call - Ghostbusters?

West Penn Township has a website.  If you go there looking for assistance in how to solve a problem, guess what you will find?  You'll find a smiling family - which means that is probably a stock picture and these people live far from Schuykill County.  Not a single township official, solicitor, township engineer, zoning officer, planning commission member, zoning hearing board member, road department member is identified anywhere on the website.  No board minutes.  Lights are on (maybe) and nobody is home.  And this speaks volumes - let's look at the "contact us" links.  Look carefully down the left side of the page:
If you want assistance, don't contact "Us" - contact "Someone Else" - we don't give a crap about you
The unmitigated gall

There is a section devoted to Water Extraction (lol) but every single link is for an outside agency or outside politician.  Why aren't the supervisors listed here, and their home phone numbers?  You know why - because they aren't going to do diddly squat to act to protect the health safety and welfare of their citizens.  It's all lip service.  James Dean called a resident on July 2, 2016 and left a message that a cease and desist order was being drafted to shut down Jay Land's Fort Franklin site for lack of having filed a land development plan, which was bull shit.  That order was never completed.  This blogger called James Dean in late 2016, and he said supervisors would "protect the health safety and welfare of West Penn residents."  Bull shit, Mr. Dean.  You're full of shit, and I was too polite to tell you that at the time.  Supervisors were alerted to trucks leaving Land's facility, damaging property and driving recklessly into oncoming traffic in Rt 309 in October of 2016, and what have they done?  There are water extraction operations springing up all over West Penn and what are supervisors doing?  Nada.  Zilch.  The supervisors are welcoming the devil in to abuse the roads and residents - sending the message they are glad to whore your natural resources and let these operators destroy your infrastructure for nothing in return - not that destruction of a vital resource like water can be compensated.  At least nothing they will reveal to you.  You must ask, what is in it for them, because they are selling you right down a rocky dried-up stream and shoving drill rods up your asses.

Conflicts of interest emerge and Supervisor Prudenti's
"solutions" to road problems

Let's look at some individuals, companies and connections.

Gretchen Sterns - Solicitor in West Penn through 2015.  Office at 200 Mahantongo Street Pottsville, the same address as Lehigh Engineering owned by Jack Rich.  Told residents the state considers water extraction an agricultural use - which is not true.
Too cozy in government is when you share the same building
... and when you hire a real estate attorney instead of a municipal law attorney as solicitor

Bill Anders - West Penn Codes Officer who issued the permit for Land's Fort Franklin site, for "Water Harvesting", works for Lehigh Engineering.  Water harvesting is not a use in West Penn Township.  Issued a letter warning Land he must complete a land development plan in early 2016, and was said to be drafting a cease and desist order in July 2016 - that order never was filed.

Bill Verano - Owner of WJ Aquaculture and believed to be attempting to start up a water extraction operation using the same facility - but he doesn't have a permit for a water extraction operation.  An engineer and writing the West Penn Township's Act 537 compliance plan allegedly for free.  Why would he do that - what is in it for him?

New Tilapia LP - an aquaculture business owned by Jack Rich.

Lehigh Engineering - If there is a really crappy business seeking to set up in your township, don't be surprised if bottom feeding Lehigh Engineering represents it.  Also owned by... Jack Rich.

John Anthony Prudenti - brother of West Penn supervisor Anthony Prudenti.  Owned a parcel of land now owned by Wissohickon, which purportedly hosts the well used to extract water for Pine Valley (operated by Jay Land near Kepners Rd).

James Dean - West Penn Supervisor
As mentioned above, Mr. Dean falsely "misrepresented" in a telephone call to a concerned resident on July 2, 2016 that a cease and desist order was being drafted to force Jay Land to comply with local laws.
Anthony John Prudenti -West Penn supervisor and land baron extraordinaire - both his and yours

Part A of Prudenti solution
As reported in the Times News, at the May 1, 2017 BOS meeting, Mr. Prudenti suggested he has a "solution" to "negotiate to get water tankers off township roads," but his fellow supervisors did not engage him in this discussion.  Perhaps they were aware that Prudenti recently purchased a parcel of land that is on the corner of Kepners Rd and Route 895, where tankers leaving Land's Pine Valley operation turn from a township road onto a state road.  Here's a picture that contains a lot of information - Prudenti's November 2016 acquisition is in the upper left corner: 

LAMB EQUITY purchased a  2.85 acre property at Kepners and 895 in November 2016

The tax records indicate the parcel is owned by "LAMB EQUITY LIMITED" with an address of 187 Archery Club Road New Ringgold.  Guess what that is the address of?

LAMB EQUITY's address is West Penn Supervisor Anthony Prudenti's address

A water tanker truck terminal property for $25,000?  Sign me up!

LAMB EQUITY's address is where West Penn Supervisor Anthony Prudenti's house is located.  Note that currently, trucks departing Land's Pine Valley facility go along the old railroad bed (owned by Larry Hower who also owns the land the wells that supply the water are located on), and turn left on Kepners.  What if a pipeline were installed that runs the same route, along the west side of Kepners, to a loading facility right on the state road, owned by... Anthony Prudenti?  Sweet!  Consider that a pipeine on the other side of the road to Jay Land's parcel on the other corner of Kepners and 895 would cross more residential lots (green circle) - and likely be problematic.

Part B of Prudenti's solution

Mr. Prudenti reportedly told a citizen that to assist Mr. Land to have safer access to his Fort Franklin location from Route 309, the town may sell Bulichs Road - a dirt road that turns into a tow path between Route 309 and Blue Mountain Drive, to Land.  This road has 4 houses on it - welcome to heavy trucker hell, residents.  You read that right - this solution of Mr. Prudent's is to sell township property to Mr. Land.  No wonder Supervisors Dean and Bogosh didn't want to discuss Prudenti's plans at the May 1 meeting.  Anything to make Jay Land's llife easier because he is such an honest and good neighbor (not a resident), while screwing the citizens of West Penn Township.  And if it helps make another transaction possible, hey why not?  What is next, Mr. Prudenti - suggesting going right up the middle of Kepners with a water line?

Appeal of Jay Land's permit for Fort Franklin Rd site scheduled for June 12

Reported on this site is the progress of the appeal citizens have filed to have the permit for the Fort Franklin site revoked.  Citizens were forced to do this, because for months Land has been operating, and despite brown water with heavy sedimentation, property damage from tankers, and reckless trucking of extracted water, West Penn supervisors have done nothing on behalf of the citizens to protect their health safety and welfare.

What you can do

The next West Penn BOS meeting is on Monday June 5.  Some questions need to be asked.

  1. Are new water extraction operations going to go through the required application and permitting process, or are they going to be let to "slide by" like Jay Land's?
  2. Is West Penn going to follow through with bonding and posting of roads as recommended (and the results clearly demonstrate the need for) in the 2015 study?
  3. Are West Penn roads where tankers are used going to be upgraded as suggested in the 2015 study?
  4. Is West Penn going to require tri-axle trucks leaving Land's or any other facility(ies) to get the required route-specific permits for township roads - or continue to allow them to run illegally?
  5. Is Supervisor Prudenti planning to get into the water extraction or water tanker terminal business?  What income does he expect if he hosts a loading facility for water shipments?
  6. Has Supervisor Prudenti discussed the possibility with Jay Land or any other water extraction operator of the use of his property at Kepners and 895 as a tanker loading station?
  7. What is Mr: Verano getting behind the scenes in return for preparing the Act 537 plan?
  8. Has any supervisor suggested to a resident that the township might sell Bulichs Road?  Which supervisor(s), and to whom did they suggest this to?
  9. Has any supervisor spoken with Jay Land or any other person regarding rights of way that might be granted by the township to water extraction operations?
  10. Do the supervisors think it is appropriate to be making deals with individual business owners that involve selling or granting rights to township property, in lieu of other solutions such as bonding and posting of roads?
  11. When are the supervisors through actions going to start looking out for the health safety and welfare of West Penn citizens, which is their responsibility?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Jay Land files petition to require West Penn Township residents to post bond in order for appeal of water extraction permit to proceed

In January 2015, landowner David Knoedler under the business name Ringgold Acquisition Group II LLC obtained a zoning permit to extract water on his land for agricultural use.  Sometime thereafter, water tankers known to be operating for local water pimp Jay Land were seen leaing the site.  At West Penn BOS meetings, Land stated that the water was being taken off site to "water fields we own".  Dubious landowners (who first found out a permit had been issued only months later) determined the full exent of this line of bull shit in October 2016 his trucks began run 24 hours a day, and neighbor's tap water began running brown.

In February 2017, residents filed a request (complaint) that the zoning officer revoke Ringgold's permit, because #1) it was issued in error and #2) the terms of the permit had not been met.  This was reported on this site here.

The Zoning Officer failed to act on the complaint, and in response residents filed a formal appeal for an interpretation by the Zoning Heard Board, on April 27, 2017.  This appeal is tentatively scheduled to be heard Monday June 12, 2017.  The application's attachments are identical to and include the complaint filed in February.  Here is the 4-page application.

Late last week, Jay Land as owner/operator of the water extraction operation being run on the Knoedler property, filed a petition in county court to require the residents that filed this zoning appeal to file a bond.   The posting if such a bond is specifically provided for in the Municipalities Planning Code, to prevent those who have received approval to not be subjected to frivolous complaints:

The onus is on the petitioner (Land) to prove the appeal is frivolous.  Interestingly, Land argues in the petition (below see items 11 and 16) that he has been shipping "spring water" since construction began - Land has no DEP permit to ship spring water.  A permit is required if a water seller sells to a bottling company owned by someone else.  Land is not treating the water, or testing it.  Both are required.  At the West Penn December 2015 Board of Supervisors meeting, Land said he ships water from Fort Franklin for use on farm fields:

No offense, but that sounds like a crock of shit Land unloaded at the December 8, 2015 BOS meeting.
Here is Land's petition: