Geryville Materials has proposed to built a 628+ acre quarry which will operate for over 50 years. The quarry is situated at the intersection of West Mill Hill Rd and Kings Highway. Geryville Materials wants to modify the existing zoning ordinances declaring that they are overly restrictive. They also want to built an asphalt mixing plant and cement plant.
Lower Milford Residents Association is fighting the quarry because it harms the Township financially, environmentally, and poses unprecedented dangers to residents and their families.
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The Zoning Board Hearings regarding the application to build a quarry at West Mill Hil has been postponed until there is a resolution of the appeal of the Commonwealth Court of the Planning Commision decision. The Township has appealed the decision and LMRA has joined in the appeal. Since the decision has a important influence on how both parties will proceed, it was agreed to wait to see what the outcome will be before proceeding.
Geryville Materials won an appeal after 15 losses in 9 years (with no prior wins). The Commonwealth Courts of Pennsylvania overturned the Planning Commission’s and Court of Common Pleas Lehigh County’s decisions regarding their 2009 land development plan. While the court decision is extremely disappointing for us, we need to look at it in perspective. On the surface, Geryville has won this appeal. But this is not the whole story, nor is it where the story ends. The Township and the LMRA have been successfully fighting this zoning battle for the past 9 years. While Geryville wants to make it appear that they have won. THEY HAVE NOT. This decision DOES NOT mean the quarry is automatically approved and Geryville will begin blasting and digging. Geryville must first get zoning approval for the development. This has not happened. Their 2004 zoning application was denied, and the 2009 zoning application is still in hearings. Additionally, the Township has the right to appeal the Commonwealth Courts decision regarding the PC ruling reversal. We need to remain diligent and strong. The LMRA will continue to fight and do what is right for all citizens of Lower Milford Township.
On June 11, 2013, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas upheld the Lower Milford Township Board of Supervisors decision to deny the Curative Amendment application of Geryville Materials for a 628 acre quarry. Although the court found the operational provisions pre-empted, the natural resource provisions and our arguments were upheld. More...Favorable Ruling by PA Court of Common Pleas
On March 6, 2013, the Pa Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Geryville Materials regarding theZoning Board rejection of their application for a special exception to build a 268+ acre quarry at West Mill Hill Rd and Kings Highway. This ends the legal battle about the 2004 special exception application. After almost 9 years of legal wrangling and two appeals, the Zoning Board's decision was vindicated. The shame is that Geryville Materials has cost the Township and LMRA so much money to protect its ordinances against a developer that wishes to profit while harming the surrounding community!
There remains a sole application to build a smaller quarry before the Zoning Board. Hopefully, this will be resolved in Lower Milford Township's favor supporting the right of our residents to ordinances that does not ruin our quality of life.
On December 12, 2012, the Lower Milford Township Zoning Board heard the Geryville Materials arguments to continue with of the application for a 628 acre quarry that was filed in 2011. Geryville Materials argued that the application should be considered for two reasons: the first reason was that the zoning officer had made a determination about the way the Geryville Materials should proceed. Because a determination had been made, ruling that variances were required would permit the quarry application to go forward. Previous testimony indicated that the zoning officer did not issue a determination, but only a "heads up" suggesting that if the application were filed, it may need variances to the zoning ordinance before it could be approved. Geryville Materials' argument was that it was a determination and not a "heads up". The Township's attorney and LMRA's attorney both argued that the zoning officer could only give a suggestion since the issue of whether the variances were necessary was already been heard by the Zoning Board. The zoning Officer cannot predetermine conclusions when the Zoning Board is in the process of making their own determination. The second argument that Geryville Materials made was that the Zoning Board could not reject the application since the Surface Mining law indicated that regulation of quarry operations was the sole responsibility of the state government. They argued that DEP and the mining regulators are responsible to see that the quarry operations complied with Pennsylvania laws. The Township and LMRA attorneys argued that the issue of location and environmental concerns are within the purview of the Townships zoning ordinances. They recognize that they could not tell a quarry how to operate, but they could ensure that the quarry is meeting all of the environmental and local zoning ordinances that are required for ALL land uses.
After hearing the arguments, the Zoning Board rejected Geryville Materials arguments. They ruled that the zoning officer's letter was just a suggestion and not a determination. They ruled that this was grounds for rejecting the application. They then ruled, in the event that this ruling was rejected by the courts, that the application was rejected because the Zoning Board, in fact, had jurisdiction over the location of the quarry and that the application did not meet Lower Milford Township's zoning ordinances that are applicable.
This ruling was the 12th judgment at local and court levels that Geryville Materials had lost. Ironically, it came on 12-12-12. There remains only one application before the Zoning Board and local government that needs to be adjudicated. It is the 2009 application before Zoning Board for at 86 acre quarry on the same site.
On October 17, 2012, the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh Valley heard oral arguments on the appeal by Geryville Materials contesting the denial of the Curative Amendment permitting a 628+ acre quarry on West Mill Hill by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors denied the Curative Amendment application on February 2, 2012 finding that Geryville Materials did not meet the requirements for a valid challenge after approximately 7 years of testimony. Geryville Materials appealed that decision. The appeal was heard by the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh Valley. The arguments before the Court are summarized below:
Lower Milford Township:
Lower Milford Residents Association:
Board of SUpervisors:
The Court ended the Hearing. A decision will be rendered in the next few months.
One of the first things Geryville Materials did after it was incorporated in 2004 was to file for a special exception to build a 628+ quarry on Mill Hill at the intersection of West Mill Hill Road and Kings Highway. This would destroy the quality of life of Lower Milford Township by reducing property values, requiring added municipal services, and destroying our natural resources included rare protected plants and turtles.
On September 12, 2012, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh Valley rejection of the appeal by Geryville Materials of the Zoning Board decision to deny a special exception to our ordinances. This was the first of several applications to the Zoning Board. It was filed on August 25, 2004, and hearings continued for 5 years. At that point, the Zoning Board decided to set an end time for testimony. On August 26, 2009, after the final hearing was held, the Zoning Board denied the special exception.
Gerryville Materials appealed on the ground that the Board did not have the authority to deny further continuances and that they erred in imposing the natural resource protections in our ordinances. The Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh Valley denied the appeal on all counts in Sept 2011. The decision was affirmed by the Commonwealth Court.
Geryville Materials can further appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania but we hope that the court will refuse to hear it. This is the 11th loss the Geryville Materials has suffered in the courts and hearings. They still have 2 ongoing hearing at the Zoning Board. Hopefully, these hearings will conclude this year. However, residents should continue to fight Geryville Materials whose lawyer says that they only have to win once.
West Mill Hill is a wonderful region not only for Lower Milford Township but for the whole state. It is surrounded with history that dates back to the settlers who came in 1725 to build a Township strong in farming, industry, and beauty. It has farms that have been passed on for generations, it has responsible development where people have grown their families and lives. It has species of endangered plants and the box turtle that survives only because of the pristine environment in the Township.
All said it deserves to be preserved for future generations rather than be destroyed for the profit of few.
A website sponsored by the Lower Milford Residents Association intended to inform the public about a quarry, asphalt, concrete, and stone crushing operation proposed by Geryville Materials on 628 acres of property adjacent to Kings Highway and West Mill Hill Road in Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.