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SLIPPERY ROCK TWP. Panel OKs landfill plans



Published: Tue, May 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Lawrence County Planning Commission tabled the issue. It wants to consult first with Butler County counterparts.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Preliminary building plans for a proposed industrial waste landfill were approved by the Slippery Rock Township Planning Commission.

Township supervisors considered the plans Monday at a meeting immediately after the planning commission decision and decided to send them to township engineer Ross Taylor for review.

A decision could be made at next month's supervisors' meeting. The township planning commission is a recommending body to the supervisors. Supervisor Chairman Jack Armagost said the planning commission's decision will be taken into consideration when supervisors vote on the issue.

Karen Kerns, township planning commission chairman, said the plans met all township building standards. She stressed the plans were only for the proposed buildings and not the landfill.

Controversial: The proposed landfill has been a source of controversy with environmentalists and residents because it would be about 1,000 feet from McConnell's Mill State Park and Slippery Rock Creek, a water source for southern Lawrence County.

Plans call for the residual waste dump to be constructed on about 40 acres in Lawrence and Butler counties. About 10 percent of it would be in Lawrence County.

Opponents say they worry about the park and creek because developer Robert Sechan Jr. owned a toxic waste landfill in the 1980s that was fined $100,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for allowing waste to go into Slippery Rock Creek.

The Lawrence County Planning Commission, another recommending body, tabled the issue at a meeting earlier in the day.

James Gagliano, county planning director, said he would prefer to consult with Butler County planners before making any recommendation.

Sechan's lawyer, Raymond Hoehler of Cohen & amp; Grigsby of Pittsburgh, said he expects to send the preliminary building plans to Butler County officials in the next six to eight weeks.

Hoehler said he and Sechan decided to send the plans to Lawrence County first because it has a land-use ordinance and Butler County does not.

Waiting to coordinate a decision with Butler County could be a problem, however.

Township officials have 90 days to act on the request or it is automatically approved, under state law. That 90-day period will end June 29, Gagliano said.

Opposed: One Lawrence planning commission member was unhappy about the decision to table the issue.

Janet Verone, vice chairwoman, wanted to vote down the plan despite the planning director's recommendation to wait.

"I'd like to come up with a statement opposing anything threatening McConnell's Mill State Park," she said. "I think we know enough to say this isn't a good idea."

Other county planning commission members disagreed and voted 7-1 to table the issue.




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