At the June 3rd Blooming Grove Township Supervisors' meeting, businessman Michael "Mike” Mancino presented a project that had members of the board and the township solicitor scratching their heads as they had never encountered someone asking for the approval of a helicopter refueling site.
At the June 3rd Blooming Grove Township Supervisors' meeting, businessman Michael "Mike" Mancino presented a project that had members of the board and the township solicitor scratching their heads as they had never encountered someone asking for the approval of a helicopter refueling site.
Joe Hudak, engineer with Kiley Associates explained T&D Power Inc., a contractor for PPL would like to use a helicopter to transport men and equipment along the power line as they work on a power line replacement and upgrade project.
T&D Power Inc. is contracted to build the 100-mile-long Pennsylvania portion of the Susquehanna-Roseland project. The new, 500-kilovolt power line will run from Berwick, Pa., to Roseland, N.J. and for most of the route, requires a replacement upgrade along the existing power line path.
Hudak admitted that he wasn't sure where the company would refuel, but they approached Mancio because of his property at the top of the former Tanglwood Ski Area in Blooming Grove township. A temporary project, he estimated that there would be between four to six trips a day and neither the helicopter or the fuel truck would be left at the area. He added that by using Mancino's land, it would be more cost effective to fly locally, land, fuel and then go back to work. To make things easier, Hudak said the subcontractors would erect a fence in the area.
The first board member to respond, Supervisor Randy Schmalzle confessed that he was confused. To clarify, Hudak said the company is looking for a temporary operation to park a fuel truck, land a helicopter long enough to refuel and possibly pick up or drop off workers, using Mancino's property. Looking for further information, Schmalzle asked about transportation of equipment, which Mancino replied, "its not commercial, its just for refueling and the transportation."
The landing area, Hudak explained, is about 500 feet in diameter with one home and a few others spread about, including the former ski lodge. Some condos in the area, Hudak said, are being used by the workers. Tanglwood Ski Resort closed in 2010.
Solicitor Shelli Whitmer called the usage of Mancino's land, "convenient." Which Hudak replied, "absolutely," because the hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Adding a statement with a slight question in his message, Schmalzle said there wouldn't be a need to file a flight pattern. Hudak responded with a, "right, its more of a gentlemen's agreement type thing rather than a condition of a conditional use."
Whitmer said the situation is unique because the township's ordinance doesn't address such projects. For the township, she said it would be considered a conditional use, which meant that the project has to go through a conditional use process. Because of the process, and having to go before the planning commission, there was concern regarding the commission's next meeting, which was June 5. Trying to find a solution, Hudak told the board that he could have a plan to the board June 4, which Mancino said softly, "time is of the essence." Whitmer explained to the men that the, "problem is, this is a really unique situation, it's not like something we normally....it's not like the opening of a business, it pretty much is what it is, I think we can all understand how it is." She told the board that they could agree to waive the 10 day submission under the circumstances with the hearing being set for June 12. Relieved with the date clarification, Mancino responded, "I feel better."
--- Also discussed
• Supervisor Schmalzle said the sewage enforcement officer is having problems getting in touch with the correct people at Lords Valley Plaza, so the board instructed Whitmer to forward a letter to them requiring that they keep moving forward with a project. He added that there is a private property in Hemlock Farms, that the township is doing the same thing with.
• Under new business, William Trimble was sworn in as a new fire policeman of Hemlock Farms Fire and rescue.
• Schmalzle thanked the community for its support at a spaghetti dinner that was recently held at the fire department where, an excess of $3,000 was raised for a family in need.
The Blooming Grove Township Supervisors meet on the first and third Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Township facility at 488 Route 739, next to the Blooming Grove Fire Station in Lords Valley.
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