Gibraltar Rock Files Action Against New Hanover Township

Gibraltar Rock, appearing before the New Hanover Planning Commission for approximately two years (2010-2012), was unhappy with requirements of the township’s stormwater ordinance.  New Hanover Township’s Stormwater Management Ordinance, adopting the Swamp Creek Watershed Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan, is based upon the model ordinance provided by the Montgomery County Planning Commission to municipalities located within the Swamp Creek Watershed.  Gibraltar Rock believes that compliance with their mining permit issued by the Penna. DEP satisfies the stormwater management requirements of the Stormwater Management Act 167.

In March 2013, Gibraltar Rock filed an “Action for Declaratory Judgment” against New Hanover Township.  The question to be decided by the Court was whether the township ordinances as to stormwater discharge must be followed or whether they are superseded by the DEP mining permit.  Many of the Gibraltar Rock allegations have already been appealed to the Court of Common Pleas in several different appeals.

Gibraltar Rock’s principal concern is that the Company be allowed to use the DEP Stormwater Runoff calculations, as those rules require that they must reduce the stormwater runoff by 30%. 


 

The local ordinance requires a reduction in the amount of 50%.  Gibraltar Rock claims they can’t achieve a 50% reduction in storm-water runoff, whereas the township engineer believes that a 50% reduction can be achieved.  We believe this “song and dance” by Gibraltar Rock is, once again, an attempt to have an unregulated quarry.

In January 2014, interrogatories and depositions were taken in this case at the office of New Hanover Township Special Counsel, Robert Brant.  Ban-the-Quarry was represented by Attorney Rowan Keenan and Engineer, Susan Rice.  The trial was held on July 21, 2014, in the Court of Common Pleas, Norristown, PA. 

 

On October 3, 2014, Judge Thomas C. Branca ruled that the Township’s Stormwater Management Ordinance is preempted by the Pennsylvania Non-Coal Surface Mining Act.  Ban-the-Quarry does not consider this a loss.  It is the belief of the Township attorneys that this case involves a very narrow issue, and on October 13th the Board of Supervisors voted to appeal this court decision.  It is the intention of Gibraltar Rock to file another land development plan with the NHT Planning Commission in the near future.

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