More than 100 show up in Muncy as plan is opposed

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Robert VanNaarden, president of Delta Thermo Energy Inc., is seated between Crystal Millard, right, and another leader of the Ban the Muncy Incinerator group as they applaud comments against the proposed plant.

MUNCY — Residents of the borough and neighboring municipalities spoke passionately at Monday night’s council meeting about their opposition to the proposed waste to fuel plant seeking to locate in the borough.

Council responded with proposed ordinances, which if enacted would regulate industries in the borough.

Over 100 people attended the meeting, which was held in the Muncy Elementary School cafeteria to accomodate the crowd.  Although the group was composed mainly of those opposed to the industry, Robert Van Naarden, CEO of Delta Thermal Energy (DTE) Inc., was seated in with the crowd.

Crystal Millard, one of the leaders of the “Stop the Muncy Incinerator” group, gave council members an informational packet that highlighted the effect that the 1972 flood had on the former Sprout-Waldron building, which is where DTE hopes to operate their business.

She also asked council if it had done anything to move toward writing and adopting a clean-air ordinance. Millard also invited council to attend a meeting of the group at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Muncy Baptist Church.

Borough Solicitor Christopher Kenyon said that although there would be no action at Tuesday night’s meeting, a proposed ordinance is under consideration.

Although council has been advised by the solicitor that it cannot take a position on the matter as to what role that it may have to play later, Councilwoman Karen Richards told those in attendance council has instructed Kenyon to prepare a clean-air ordinance.

During the meeting, Richards introduced a motion for council to advertise a setback ordinance, which could be voted on at council’s next meeting.

According to the proposed ordinance, it is designed to “protect residential properties from adverse impacts of waste facilities and air-polluting facilities and to declare and prohibit certain activities as nuisances.”

Applause erupted when council voted unanimously to approve the motion.

As stated in the ordinance, its purpose is to protect and advance the public health, safety and welfare of residents by creating a minimum isolation and buffer distance between residential, education and recreational activities.

A major complaint of residents who are opposed to the industry is its close proximity to schools and a recreational facility, as well as to residences located directly across from the building on Sherman Street.

The operating of any waste facility or air-polluting facility within 300 yards of any residential, educational or recreational property in the borough would constitute a nuisance and would be prohibited under the proposed ordinance.

As of last night, DTE had not submitted a completed application for a permit for the business.

In other business, council referred a request for the purchase of a new police cruiser from Police Chief James Dorman to the equipment and finance committees requesting that they report their decision back to council.

Richards also reported to council on the posting and bonding of borough streets. She said only borough owned streets could have weight limits posted by the borough and not state owned streets.

Richards noted that of primary concern were residential streets that lead to industrial districts. If the streets are posted, industries that regularly use the streets and have vehicles over the weight limit woud have to post a bond with the borough which in turn would provide monies to repair any damage done to the streets. There was no action taken on this.

In regular business council:

* Approved Mike Coppes as an alternate to the zoning hearing board for a three-year term beginning immediately.

* Approved an application from Providence Engineering to demolish the rear of 21 S. Main St.

* Accepted the resignation of Tara Rall as borough secretary, effective Oct. 27.  Rall had served in this capacity for over four years.

* Heard from Jeff Smead that there will be a Muncy Resiliency Information meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at Myers Elementary School.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at a location to be announced at a later date.