ARMS MANUFACTURER’S LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVED

By Lisa Mickles PIKE COUNTY DISPATCH, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2013
LORDS VALLEY- The Blooming Grove Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the land development plan for Kahr Firearms Group, the New York gun manufacturing company that plans to build its corporate headquarters at the Pike County Business Park. At Monday night’s meeting, Chairman Randy Schmalzle expressed his pleasure on how well prepared and thorough the Kahr Firearms Group representatives were in outlining the land development plan that addresses only Lot 5 in the now vacant business park.

Kahr is proposing to construct a 40,000- square foot addition for both their corporate offices and manufacturing facility on the 12-acre parcel consisting of Lot 5 on the 146-acre property, which will remain mostly undeveloped due to the high environmentally sensitive areas. During a special hearing preceding their regular board of supervisors meeting, Kahrs attorney John Stieh and engineer Justin Hoffmann went through the entire process outlining the size and height of the building, storm water management practices, waste disposal, fire safety, security, noise and lighting, which coincides with the townships existing Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO). Kahrs sought no waivers within the townships SALDO ordinance.

Attorney Toney Waldron hired by Camelot Forest residents, addressed several concerns raised by the private community since they sit directly across from the park located on Route 434 or Well Road. Waldron said the community had a concern about flooding relating to storm water management practices during and after construction due to earth disturbances since there would be tree clearing of the area for construction. There w3as also concern on whether or not the stumps and trees would be removed from the property. Hoffman explained that the contractor would either cart off the trees and stumps or possibly bring in a wood chipper to make mulch.

Hoffmann said they would not be burning the trees or stumps on the property. IN addition due to the stricter requirements by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection ( DEP), they will be required not only to address the amount of runoff by directing the excess water during flooding or rain events through retention basins, buffers and culvert pipes, but also must protect the quality of the water emitting into the wetlands or drainage areas. Waldron also questioned how Kahr’s weapon testing would be conducted. Hoffmann explained that the testing of firearms would be held in an underground bunker, which could only be accessed from inside the facility and would have full security oversight. Other issues related to waste disposal, archeological findings and blasting during construction were also addressed. As far as waste removal for the manufacturing of firearms, which could include metal shavings, the material would be removed and disposed of in accordance with state and federal laws. While Stieh did not believe there would be a need for blasting, they agreed to inform the township and Camelot Forest residents if and when it would occur to help alleviate and deter any concerns about loud noises stemming from the property due to construction. Relating to archeological findings through research from the PA Historical and Museum Commission, no ancient artifacts are listed. In addition, if during construction, artifacts are uncovered, they are required by law to stop and contact the proper authorities. Since each stage of development for the property requires a conditional use hearing, Waldron sought confirmation from the supervisors that the Camelot Forests residents be kept appraised of any upcoming hearings. While the township is only required to advertise public hearings in the legal section of the newspaper and at the township building, the board agreed to their request. The BG Planning Commission, Pike County Conservation District, Pike County Planning all recommended the Land Development Plan for approval. The township is awaiting approval from DEP for the project to move forward. Stieh said in a private interview that the sale of the property for $2 million from the Pike County Economic Development Authority ( PCEDA), the owners of the property, would be contingent on all outside agency approvals.

In relating matters, the board approved revisions to the previously approved conditional use application relating to the purchase of a ladder truck in the amount of $100,000 for fire suppression at the park. Schmalzle said since the $100,000 requirement was written almost 10 years ago and could not pay for the entire purchase of a new truck, and because there are now shared agreements with other fire departments on how firefighting equipment is dispatched, the hearing will address coming up with a plan with the county involving how the money would be best suited for emergency services.