HARRISLAND - The economic impacts of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry continue, as preliminary details about two projects related to the business came up at Tuesday's Pine Creek Township supervisors' meeting.
David Schultz, vice president of operations for Jersey Shore Steel, and Stacy Risceglia from Arrow Material Services addressed the supervisors about preliminary land development plans at Jersey Shore Steel's vast expanse in South Avis.
Schultz said the company continues to work with its engineer to put together a site and land development plan for a proposed 80-by-250-foot building to house sand for the Marcellus fracking operations. This would be in addition to a similar sized building already on that property.
Further, the supervisors gave their approval for a land development plan for an 8-by-16-foot expansion to Jersey Shore Steel's electrical building.
"It's just a simple expansion... it will make the building available for future upgrades," Schultz said.
John Lehman from Lundy Construction said the upgrades will also let the company comply with a "complex monitoring system" mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The "simple expansion," however, wasn't so simple, as Lehman said the addition is 18 inches into the flood fringe in the township, making an elevation necessary in addition to two flood gates.
The township planning commission last week recommended its approval, contingent upon it being three feet above the 100-year flood plain. The current plans comply with that recommendation, Lehman said.
Concerning the Arrow Material Services building and land development plans, Schultz said that firm is looking to lease a currently unoccupied building on the Jersey Shore Steel complex.
Dave Winkleman, township zoning officer, said his only concern is that something is done with the rear lot of the complex to cut down the amount of dirt leaving that area into the township.
"We're putting down stone as we speak," Risceglia responded.
When asked by a reporter about any more information about the project, Risceglia responded, "I'm not at liberty to say at this time."
According to its website, the firm, based in Sewickley, specializes in trans-loading, rail, truck, barge storage and custom processing.
With this added activity in an already active complex in South Avis, Supervisor Chairman Dennis Greenaway said brings about more importance for an access road there from the Avis interchange of Route 220.
The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority this spring applied for $1 million through Pennsylvania's Infrastructure Development Program for such an access road.
The road, referred to as the Woodward Avenue Extension, would improve access from Route 220 to the South Avis Realty rail yard, which is currently comprised of eight companies employing abouty 200 people. The rail yard is also home to Jersey Shore Steel.
Police chief gets raise
The supervisors Tuesday also increased the salary of Winkleman, also the township's police chief, from $16.16 an hour to $18.16 an hour.
"To me, when I have a (district attorney) come to me to commend me for your hard work, the increase is not superfluous," Greenaway said.
Winkleman returned to active duty last week after a several-month-long absence coming from a shoulder injury and subsequent rehabilitation.
He reported his department had 57 incidents last month, including eight citations, one motor vehicle accident, eight traffic stops, 10 verbal warnings, three criminal mischiefs, three harassments and two thefts.
The supervisors, after short public hearings on the matter before Tuesday's meeting, also approved two ordinances.
The first regulates fences and trees along property boundary lines.
Fences in residential districts are permitted no closer than one foot from the property line, and may not be more than four feet in height in the front of the property nor more than eight feet in the side and rear of the property. Trees in all zoning districts would have to be more than five feet from property lines. All current fences and trees would be "grandfathered in."
The supervisors at first proposed fences in front of properties in residential districts be no more than three feet in height, but Winkleman recommended four feet because most fences are built to that height.
The other allows home-based businesses to be located in Agricultural-Rural districts in the township.
"Essentially, home occupations are permitted everywhere else, but for some unknown reason, they are not included in Agriculture-Rural districts," Solicitor Bob O'Connor said. "This would correct that to allow it as a permitted use."
O'Connor said he will work on drafting a new zoning ordinance to comply with Act 13, which regulates natural gas drilling in the state.
"I have a feeling that the Commonwealth Court is going to declare it unconstitutional, but we've got to do what we need to do to comply and see what happens," he said, noting that ordinance may first be acted upon at next month's supervisors' meeting.