In the 1980s and 90s, a group of local citizens banded together to consider a proposal by James Marinari to construct a landfill on approximately 100 acres containing wetlands and a perennial stream and to operate a hospital-waste incinerator at the same location. The farm was located along Big Road, Church Road, and Hoffmansville Road.
Leaders of the Paradise Watchdogs worked in conjunction with the township and after a long battle were successful in defeating the proposed landfill. They were unsuccessful in protecting the air quality as the incinerator was approved, installed, and operated at that location for many years.
During the 1980s, the Pottstown Mercury referred to the local citizens group as the “Paradise Watchdogs”
because of the many residents who referred to the area as “a paradise” that should be preserved.
In 2000, the Silvi Group from Fairless Hills, Bucks County, purchased the Marinari farm and another adjacent farm. They filed an application to construct a hard-rock quarry, asphalt plant, and concrete plant, and the incinerator was then removed. After the quarry application was rejected by the township, the company requested hearings before the Zoning Hearing Board beginning in 2001 and concluding in 2009.
In 2001, another group of residents joined together to oppose the three proposed Gibraltar Rock operations and Ban-the-Quarry was born. After a few years, they merged with the Paradise Watchdogs.
In 2009, Gibraltar Rock, in an effort to prevent the expiration of their mining permit, started the quarry without an approved plan from New Hanover Township. The township filed a preliminary injunction, and the court agreed that Gibraltar Rock could not move ahead with any construction without a township-approved land development plan. As of 2018, the injunction is still in place.
In 2011, the Penna. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) identified a toxic waste site at the former Good Oil Company located on Layfield Road, just north of Hoffmansville Road. The DEP immediately advised surrounding homeowners and businesses to cease drinking their private well water, and some were advised not to bathe in the water. Bottled water was provided from 2011 to 2014, when the DEP paid for a public water line to be installed for the affected property owners. By 2016, the source points of the contamination had not yet been determined.
In 2015, Gibraltar Rock purchased an 18-acre parcel from the owner of the Good Oil property. The Paradise Watchdogs through our attorney, and other local residents, have asked the PA-DEP why they allowed the sale of part of a hazardous waste site. We have had no response to that question.
As of 2017, the purchase of additional properties by Gibraltar Rock, Inc. has now resulted in four applications for a quarry, asphalt and concrete plant. This caused the need for four lengthy and costly hearings before the Zoning Hearing Board, from 2001 through 2017. The company has filed appeals for all township and court decisions to this date. New Hanover Township and the Paradise Watchdogs have attained 9 court wins; Gibraltar Rock has had one decision in their favor. Several appeals are pending in the Court of Common Pleas.
The Pennsylvania State Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right to:
clean air, pure water, the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. The state constitution also promises that:
Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain the natural resources for the benefit of all people.
The Paradise Watchdogs community group was established in 1987 as a not-for- profit corporation. The mission of the Paradise Watchdogs of New Hanover is to educate the community about environmental impacts to the township.