Clearfield County Planners ... P-O's land development plan approved|
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Josh Woods Staff Writer
Clearfield County Planning and Development Commission last night at its regular meeting approved Philipsburg-Osceola School District's additions and alterations land development plan in Chester Hill Borough conditional to the state Department of Environmental Protection's approval of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Board member Chad Diviney made a motion to approve the plan conditional to DEP approval of the NPDES permit, and recommended the commission send a letter to the state Department of Transportation requesting a traffic study be completed in concert with municipal officials at the intersection of Centre and Walton streets. The motion was approved 7-1, with Brian Sekula voting no. The plan calls for a 37,600 square-foot building addition to the existing North Lincoln Hill School with associated parking and utilities relocation.
Prior to the vote, CCPDC Director Jodi Brennan addressed a list of concerns presented to the commission by Chester Hill Borough. Brennan said the borough objected to the lack of a PennDOT-issued highway occupancy permit, however; the proposed land development abuts a municipal street and not a state highway. A HOP is not required for a municipal street, Brennan said, and the borough should address other traffic safety concerns with PennDOT.
Brennan said Chester Hill Borough objects to the approval of P-O's final land development plan because it believes there is undermining in and around the proposed project area and land subsidence issues. Brennan said CCPDC received reports from Keller Engineers showing the results of geophysical and geotechnical investigations. The investigations found there are adequate safeguards in place and no voids were found in the proposed expansion area at North Lincoln Hill, she said. Storm water management details and an infiltration report were also provided.
Reynolds Construction Project Manager Walt Tack said his company would use a case-on system for the expansion area's foundation, the same system that is supporting the current building. Case-on shafts would be drilled 30-inches in diameter and the case-ons would be socketed into bedrock, he said.
"Basically we're using the same system that's worked for the building for the past 30 years," said Tack. "And we've had our structural engineer walk through it and check the building out to make sure there are no concerns of any unusual movement.
"There was some settlement in what's currently the cafeteria. That building settled an inch and a half probably in one section of slab on grade. It was only the slab, though it wasn't any of the building's walls or foundation. That has ceased to move and hasn't created any problems for a number of years."
Tack said none of the original test cores at the site were drilled at over 40 feet, so geophysical testing was done to get a better picture of what was going on. THG Geophysics used electrical impulses to map the proposed area's soil at a depth of 80 feet and did not find voids or anything of concern, he said.
Chester Hill borough council member Jim Lefort said it appears the west side of the building has shifted near a power box and cracks are visible. He said photos were provided of subsidence issues at three locations, one of which he believes is on school property. Lefort also claimed someone walked through a mineshaft and under the current school after a cave in occurred at a Hill Street residence.
Tack said the cracks have been caused by deteriorating mortar and are normal for a building of that age, and steps have been taken to address subsidence issues. Tack conceded mine voids could exist at a depth greater than 80 feet, but said that would not affect the stability of the foundation.
P-O Solicitor Winifred Jones-Wenger said she has reviewed a large selection of coal company maps with a fine-toothed comb and found no indication underground mining has occurred at the North Lincoln Hill site.
Brennan said county planning commission encourages engineers to discuss land development plans with municipalities but they are not required to do so. Preliminary land development plans may be submitted but are not required by the commission; a preliminary and final land development plan is permissible, she said.
Moshannon Valley Joint Sewer Authority submitted a letter addressing other issues related to the location of waterlines, a potential gas line and its calculation of equivalent dwelling units for sanitary sewer service.
Under correspondence, DEP reviewed Eagle Environmental II LP's request to respond to its Feb. 10 letter regarding deficiencies for its proposed landfill in Chest Township and approved a 30-day extension request to June 14. DEP also reviewed Muddy Run's proposed sewer extension to Allemans village and found it administratively incomplete and also with technical difficulties. CCPDC's office reviewed the Harmony Pre K-12 renovation project in Chest Township and determined it did not meet the definition of a land development.
In other business, CCPDC approved five 2-lot subdivisions. The commission approved the Long and Wilder lot line change subdivision in Mahaffey, John and Patricia Hartnett subdivision in Pike Township, Brian and Connie Crawford subdivision in Beccaria Township, Howard and Gladys Hardt subdivision in Burnside Township and Charles Stowman Estate lot addition subdivision in Chest Township. Planning Specialist Rob Thomas also reviewed Waroquier Coal Company's land use change from forestland to unmanaged natural habitat in Lawrence Township and had no comment.
CCPDC's next meeting is July 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Clearfield County administrative offices building.