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Quarry operation granted conditional use

Richard D. L. Fulton

(4/1) A Hamiltonban Township quarry operation was granted conditional approval for a conditional use permit by the township Board of Supervisors at their April 1 meeting.

The permit was granted to Specialty Granules Inc. (SGI), formerly ISP Minerals, by the board in a unanimous vote at a lightly attended meeting.

Board of supervisors Chairman Bob Gordon noted that SGI is seeking to use the land they acquired through a land exchange from the DCNR for continued operations in the future, and not as an expansion of their current facility.

Quarrying on the land acquired from DCNR would not commence until the present quarry is exhausted.

The conditional use approval was granted with a number of attached conditions that would have to be met by SGI before the permit would be considered consummated.

These include, in the interest of brevity: 1) submission of an approved land development plan; 2) township pre-review of proposed state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permits; 3) completion of surveys and studies necessary to ensure protection of Columbia Gas lines, further defined in a set of measures to be taken; 4) compliance with DEP guidelines regarding stormwater runoff, notably with regards to Toms Creek and tributaries; 5) assurance of maintaining the water quality of Toms Creek through routine testing; 6) monitor drinking water wells on adjoining properties as per DEP specifications; 7) provide supplemental vegetation for buffers if required by the township; 8) adhere to any conditions placed on the project by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Adams County agencies pursuant to the initial exchange of lands between SGI (then ISP) and the state; 9) filing of a reclamation plan with the township.

The granting of the condition use permit paves the way for SGI to submit a land development plan, representing the final step in the approval process, as far as local government is concerned. There are still an array of county and state approvals that remain to be acquired.

Previously, 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 zoning change allowed for a quarry to exist as a conditional use.

SGI quarries metabasalt deposits in Hamiltoban for use as granules in the manufacture of shingles. Metabasalt was initially lava that flowed from a prehistoric volcano more than 500 million years ago. Significant deposits of altered shale that occur in association with the metabasalt suggest the Hamiltonban volcano was located in proximity to a shallow sea when it erupted and produced massive lava flows.

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