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Quarry Expansion Sought in Marlborough
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent

            A formal request for Perkiomenville Quarry expansion is on the horizon. The issue was discussed at a Marlborough Township supervisors workshop in late January and again at the monthly supervisors meeting last week.

            Highway Materials, Inc now owns several properties on the north side of the quarry and is planning to request a rezoning of those lands and the existing quarry in what is known as the Q-Quarry District. The expansion of the mining area will involve 10.2 acres.

            In exchange, the company told the supervisors, at the workshop, that it is offering to preserve 36.7 acres and will not mine along a stretch of the Unami Creek referred to as the "dog leg".

            Highway Materials also promised to maintain the parking area they own on Crusher Road where people using the Perkiomen Trail park their vehicles.

            At the workshop, township Solicitor Mark Cappuccio asked if the company would agree to a stipulation that this would be the final expansion of the quarry. Stephen B. Harris, Esq. of Harris and Harris, representing Highway Materials, said he would discuss the proposal with his client.

            According to the minutes of the workshop meeting, Harris explained, "The additional area, depending upon the economy, might extend the life of the quarry for another 10-20-25-30 years so we are not talking about hundreds of years."

            Fran Hanney, the new chairman of the Marlborough Planning Commission, was on-hand via Zoom last Wednesday to update several topics, including the quarry expansion.

            "We discussed many of the pros and cons [of the expansion]; different things, benefits that the township could gain, while, at the same time, the sensitivity of the neighbors," Hanney said while recapping the latest planning commission meeting.

            Hanney described the meetings with the quarry as a feeling-out process before the application is formally submitted. "We see many benefits and many things that Marlborough could gain, but at the same time we want to proceed carefully and deliberately and cautiously because of the many concerns of the neighbors."

            Also at the Feb. 10 supervisors meeting, two ordinances came under scrutiny. The Institutional Overlay amendment was discussed but not voted on. The document would add to the township's zoning ordinance by establishing criteria for institutions such as a medical facility, a library or a museum in certain areas of the township 

            Early in 2020, the planning commission had taken up a revision of zoning guidelines after resident John Haines IV, the co-chairman of H&K, asked Marlborough for a zoning modification in order to establish a non-profit museum and host events and conferences on his Marlborough properties. That request led to a much larger discussion, culminating in the proposed amendment.

            Last week, the supervisors raised questions about setback distances from property lines, capacity limits, hours of operation, concession sales and questioned how this would apply to the township as a whole.

            Cappuccio explained, "Anyone can come in, anybody, at any time, can say to the township, 'I'd like my property to be zoned differently. Extend the overlay to me as well.' It's all zoning and it's all discretionary. You choose the zoning in your township; you establish it. You can say yes or no."

            "I think it's going to take some more discussion," stated Brian Doremus. Supervisors Billy Hurst and Bill Jacobs agreed.

            Storm Water Ordinance amendments also came up for discussion at the request of Technicon, the township's engineering consultants. Secretary/Treasurer Marybeth Cody explained that the changes would allow the engineers to make "technical judgments" on "small changes" that would make it easier and less expensive for residents to comply with the ordinance. Technicon is also looking for clarification of the part of the ordinance that pertains to grading.

            "I would agree to investigating a little bit more. I'm not so sure about changes at this point," said Doremus.

            Cappuccio supported the engineers' request to "streamline" the ordinance and vouched for Techincon's expertise.

            Jacobs added, "If we can simplify things for the homeowners, I think we should look into that."

            Cody said she investigate the costs involved in fashioning the amendment and would report back to the supervisors.

            Ryan Beltz, the executive director of the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, addressed the board about issues related to the Marlborough Landing Project: the construction of an access area to the Perkiomen Creek on Gravel Pike at Crusher and Upper Ridge roads.

            The project is important to the conservancy because it is a necessary component in order for the Perkiomen Creek Water Trail to become a Designated Pennsylvania Water Trail.

            The landing will include approximately 12 parking spaces, a turnaround area for trailers and a ramp to the water's edge.

            Most of the $80,000 cost will be taken care of through a Montco 2040 grant which does require a 20 percent match. Beltz informed the board that he has solicited $16,000 from PA Fish and Boat and $4,000 from the Perkiomen Creek Watershed Improvement Corporation (PCWIC) to cover that percentage.

            In response to a question from Hurst, Beltz stated that the township would not have to pay anything for the project's construction but asked that Marlborough help with routine upkeep.

            "I think maintenance is what we would look for mostly, but more or less, what you're already doing for your parks [like] say Skymount."

            The supervisors unanimously approved the resolution to acknowledge participation in the grant.

            Before the regular meeting, the supervisors met in executive session to discuss litigation involving the Candlewyck development.

            The next supervisors meeting is on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 p.m.






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