Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Synagro and Waste Management proposal in deep sh!t at Plainfield Township crap bakery site

On February 23, 2018, Synagro (under the veil of Grand Central Sanitary Landfill) filed its latest proposal to site a crap bakery on Waste Management's land adjacent to the Green Knight Energy Center.  Virtually all of the surrounding communities supervisory bodies are opposed to this project, and Plainfield Township is strongly opposed, yet Synagro persists - with Waste Management's blessing.  Why doesn't Waste Management tell Synagro "We care about the community, so take your shit elsewhere"?  The answer must be that Waste Management values $$$ a lot more than being a good neighbor in the community.  Sad.

In the past few weeks, three reviews of the proposal have been filed:
  • Zoning Office review
  • Township engineer review
  • Environmental consultant review
In the township review letter are strong zoning and legal reasons this project will not be able to be sited where proposed.

As a bookkeeping matter, it was learned on March 13 that Synagro has applied for the following permits:
  • NPDES Stormwater/site discharge
  • DEP Solid Waste
  • DEP Air Quality
Apparently, it was the township being notified of these permit applications that caused the March planing commission review meeting to be postponed to April 4, or it was a huge coincidence that both occurred on March 13 - two days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

 Synagro's DEP permits are in motion - like a bowel movement.  They are in the cart...

If Synagro can not meet the zoning, it will not mean diddly squat that they applied for permits through regulatory agencies.  As we shall see, they put the cart before the horse in this process and may have their asses handed to them.  You don't file a land development application before obtaining any needed variances, but in each review Synagro has steadfastly denied it needs variances although the township found that they do.  Now they are forging ahead, attempting to bully their way into the hearts, noses and water supply of area residents. "Hey look, we applied for regulatory agency permits!"  Impressive, but,you don't have legal road access to your site.  Let's take a look at the current reviews to see where the proverbial shit has hit the fan.

First, here are two site plan sheets and truck movements that are pertinent to the reviews:
 Site plan sheet C03
Site plan sheet C17 
Truck turns sheet C03

Next, here is the recorded 1999 Land Development Plan for the Green Knight Energy Center or LGFTE Plant - a document critical to the success or defeat of this application:
1999 GKEC recorded land development plan showing access via Pen Argyl Road
But instead it was built across the township trail.  Uh oh! Lucy got splainin to do, Lucy!

Here is the Plainfield Township Zoning Office's review:

As you read through, here are some highlights of what the Zoning Office found:

  1. The portions of the overall 12 acre lot dedicated to Synagro (5 acre min) and Green Knight Energy Center (3 acre min) must be delineated.(the entire 12 acres is incorrectly labelled "Synagro Operations" on the site plan - there are two uses on the lot, permitted in this district) 
  2. Internal access roads must be shown, instead of assuming trucks will randomly be driving through parking areas.
  3. Variance #1 The site is not on a collector or arterial road as required 
  4. Variance #2 The proposed improvements will be within 50' of a pond, not permitted.
  5. A study should be done on the current, cumulative and future effects of adverse impacts of activities associated with the proposed use (the PA Environmental Rights Act, passed decades ago, was just recently interpreted and upheld up by the PA Supreme Court in a fracking case)
  6. An analysis must be done to show that no odors will leave the site (how does one do this with an active landfill running?)
  7. The capacity of the raw shit storage area in tons must be specified.
  8. Grand Central's haul road is within the 80' ultimate right of way of Pen Argyl Road (a major issue if Pen Argyl Road is widened)
  9. Pedestrian access within the site is across access drives - what could go wrong?
  10. Variance #3 The parking area aisle width is 24' instead of 25'.  Really?  They couldn't find one measly foot?
  11. Variance #4 The parking places should be paved and marked as required in the ordinance.
  12. Truck turns are in conflict with each other.  In the truck turns diagram, trucks on the west (left) side of the energy center travelling in opposite directions can not pass each other.  This may require another Variance to Sec 704 (F) of the ordinance, which states that loading/unloading areas should not create a nuisance.  This issue and others was also highlighted by the township engineer, who had several comments about truck traffic and turns at Page 5 Items A6 (below).
There are two significant variances here, #1 and #2.  #3 and #4 seem trivial in comparison;

Now the doo doo really hits the fan - Green Knight Energy Center is in violation of its approved Land Development Plan, showing access from Pen Argyl Road which was never created

Scroll up and take a look at the recorded Land Development Plan for the Green Knight Evergy Center.  This is a legally binding document.  Look how carefully an access drive was to be constructed out to an entrance from a road, Pen Argyl Road, which is classified as a Major Collector.  Look at the red underlined text in Note 12, which states that access to the Energy Center will be from Pen Arygl Road  The Plainfield Township Recreational Trail was entirely avoided, even though a few years prior an agreement between the township and Waste Management allowed Waste Management to use the Recreational Trail in this area as a haul road for the landfill.  The access from Ren Argyl Road was never constructed, and instead access was created by blowing a road across the Recreational Trail on the west end of the Energy Center.  Talk about a bait and switch!  

Digression - Mr. Robert Cornman Jr. was on Green Knight and also the chairman of the Planning Commission which reviewed the 1999 Land Development Plan.  He also attempted to shepherd the Energy Center into a lot across Route 512 where it is not a permitted use - it was at that time and still is permitted only in the Solid Waste zoning district.  You would think he would remember that when Synagro came along and tried to pull a similar stunt 17 years later in November 2016, with his blessing. - he had the gall to both recuse himself AND suggest Synagro's plan should receive preliminary approval for a site not in the Solid Waste zoning district.  This man as Planning Commission chairman was in a position for many years where he was supposed to review and revise township zoning.  He has since been removed and should never be appointed again.  You don't turn your back on local laws that you are supposed to enforce for your own benefit.

In 2001, Green Knight applied to revise its Land Development Plan, but the revised plan never obtained final approval and thus was not recorded.  As part of that process, it was recommended that an agreement be created whereby Green Knight would relocate its driveway to where it is today using access across the trail, with the Township's approval and foresight into what would happen when the landfill closes.  Other conditions were to have been met, agreed to by none other than Mr. Robert Cornman Jr (see his signature in Exhibit A attached to the Zoning Office review above).  Since land development plans with conditional approval expire after one year, the 1999 Green Knight plan on file is the only one valid.  Green Knight is in violation of its plan, since vehicles accessing it are driving across Plainfield Township's land and not from Pen Argyl Road.

If Green Knight Energy Center can't use the Recreational Trail, neither can Synagro

Similarly, Synagro can't piggy back on Green Knight's approval to cross the trail, because that plan is not valid and Synagro has no inherited right to something that does not exist.

The review on April 4 should be interesting.  Synagro/Wast Management's attorney will proclaim that they have filed for regulatory permits and act like everything is great and they should be granted preliminary approval.  Unfortunately, when needed variances have not been obtained your site plan has deficiencies so no approval can be recommended.  Note that Preliminary and Final Land Development approvals are voted on by the supervisory body - the Board of Supervisors.  The Planning Commission is advisory only.

Here are the other two reviews: