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Quarry operation seeks conditional use

Richard D. L. Fulton

(1/6) Representatives of a quarry operation located in Hamiltonban Township has requested a conditional use hearing in order to proceed with the quarrying of rock on recently acquired land in the municipality.

Specialty Granules Inc. (SGI), formerly ISP Minerals, President Ken Walton and SGI attorney Sean Delaney attended the January 6 reorganizational meeting of the Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors to formally submit their application for a conditional use hearing.

The tract of land involved was previously part of the Glatfelter Tree Farm No. 1, previously owned by Glatfelter Pulpwood Company, which had been acquired through preservation efforts at a cost of $12.5 million, and then made part of the Michaux State Forest in 2010, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

Subsequently, SGI (then still ISP) acquired the DCNR land through what some who had been involved in raising the funds to acquire the land for the state viewed as a controversial exchange with the DCNR.

Although the exchange met with resistance from the organizations, municipal, private and non-profit, involved, the trade was ultimately approved by the state in 2011.

SGI, which quarries metabasalt deposits in Hamiltoban for use as granules in the manufacture of shingles, want to quarry a significant deposit metabasalt which lies in the 110-acre tract in question. Metabasalt was initially lava some 500 million years ago that flowed from a prehistoric volcano.

However, to actually begin quarrying the metabasalt on the land, SGI had to initially apply for a zoning change, from Woodland Conservation to Industrial, that would allow for a quarry (as a conditional use).

The township Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve a zoning change proposed by a local quarry operation amid a "packed house" of dozens of opponents and proponents at a special meeting held April 13.

The second piece of the regulatory puzzle needed to proceed, as far as the township board of supervisors is involved, then remained the actual conditional use permit,

The board of supervisors officially accepted receipt of the conditional use application at their January 6 meeting, but did not set a date for a public hearing on the request.

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