Generic quarry excavation

SPRINGFIELD TWP., Pa. – Springfield Township's fifth hearing on a quarry proposed off Route 309 did not lead to a decision, and more meetings loom on H&K Group's plan.

Cross-examination of H&K engineer Scott Drumbore took up most of Tuesday night's board of supervisors meeting. Attorney Alex Bomstien of the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council questioned Drumbore for two and a half hours, and said he will need more time at the next hearing.  

H&K, based in Montgomery County, plans a quarry on 196 acres on the east side of Route 309 between Coopersburg and Quakertown. The tract is in an industrial zone. H&K needs conditional zoning approval to move ahead.

Neighbors have objected, citing noise, traffic, pollution and dust. They say the quarry will ruin their rural lifestyle. 

Gravel extraction would begin at the southern end of the Bucks County property and move north after 16 to 20 years. Drumbore said earlier that about 500,000 tons of rock would be removed annually, and after extraction ended, the land would be reclaimed.   

Bomstein's questions during the Zoom meeting focused on quality-of-life issues and property values. 

"Are you aware that some residents in the area appreciate the wildlife that visit their property?," Bomstein asked Drumbore. The engineer responded that the quarry will not interfere with wildlife, based on what he has seen at other H&K locations. 

When Bomstein asked about whether the value of nearby properties would suffer from being near a quarry, Drumbore cited records from homes near another quarry which showed increasing values over time. 

Bomstein also inquired about quarry operations, including blasting.  

"Isn't it the case that blasting can damage property" but still comply with regulations, he asked. Drumbore said that is not the case.  

Drumbore also noted that wherever rock is being transferred, H&K would use spray nozzles to control the spread of dust.  

He added that the quarry company would maintain Springfield Street, which would be H&K's access road to Route 309.  

When Bomstein asked whether the company has entered into non-disclosure agreements with neighbors over damage at other quarries, H&K attorney Joseph LaFlamme objected to the idea of discussing agreements that are, by definition, not discussed. 

Scott MacNair, township solicitor, overruled LaFlamme's objection, asking Drumbore to respond in a general way. Drumbore said he was not aware of any NDAs.  

After the public hearing, the supervisors thanked staff for running a meeting with few technical problems. Residents have complained previously about poor audio. 

H&K, formerly Haines & Kibblehouse Inc., is based in Skippack. The company is a contractor and sells construction material such as gravel and stone aggregates for concrete plants and road construction. 

The meeting ended at 10:45 p.m. Chairperson James Nilsen said the next meeting will also be virtual, taking place on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.  

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