Approval Granted for New Mine Portal in Perry Township
Washington PA Observer Reporter
8 July 2014
By Bob Niedbala, Staff Writer
WAYNESBURG – Greene County Planning Commission granted preliminary
approval Monday to plans by Dana Mining Co. of Pennsylvania to
construct a new portal for its 4 West Mine off Watkins Run Road in
The 22.39 acre site is on the east side of Interstate 79 about a
mile north of the Mt. Morris interchange. An air shaft and hoist
house and a 16,100-square-foot bath house will be built on the
Kevin Rakes, a company engineer, said the site will include 203
parking spaces though only about 180 will be needed at the maximum
during shift changes.
No ventilation fan will be installed at the site and the company
has agreed to plant shrubs and trees to create a light and noise
buffer between the portal and the nearest residence, he said.
In response to a question, Kevin Hatfield, another company
engineer, said no improvements will be made to Watkins Run Road.
Improvements to the road were planned when the company considered
using the shaft to bring equipment into the mine; however, it
decided to use the site only for workers entering and leaving the
mine, he said.
To receive final approval, the company must submit an approval
letter from Perry Township and submit an approved storm water
In other business, the commission approved a modification
requested by CNX Gas Co. to allow work to begin on pad
construction at the company’s proposed compressor and metering
station off McQuay Road in Center Township.
The company had received all necessary approvals for the station
from the state Department of Environmental Protection including a
storm water management plan but then was asked by the township to
move the access road.
This required the company to receive a permit modification from
DEP for the access road only. Daniel Bitz, CNX permit manager,
told the commission both the township and DEP agreed the company
could proceed with the pad construction while it waited for the
DEP permit modification for the road.
Commission solicitor Kevin O’Malley told the commission that under
the commission’s land development ordinance, the commission could
approve the modification if it deemed the request reasonable.
Commission member Eric Marshall voted against the motion.
The commission granted preliminary approval to plans by Accessible
Dreams, a non-profit organization, to construct a four-unit
apartment building on Route 188 in Jefferson Borough for people
Two abandoned houses on the site, purchased by the county
redevelopment authority, will be demolished to make space for the
The commission granted final approval to plans by Regency
Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC to add a compressor to the Chevron
Milesky metering station off Oak Forest Road in Center Township.
The compressor will be enclosed in an 825 square foot, steel
building insulated to reduce noise.
The commission continued a discussion from last month’s meeting
regarding revisions proposed to the county’s subdivision and land
development ordinance. The commission voted last month to
recommend several changes to the ordinance to the county
The most significant change will allow the commission to approve
projects in phases and give it the authority to ask developers to
submit performance bonds for each phase.
Other amendments will require a developer or his representative to
be present at the commission’s meetings to explain the project and
require developers to include on their plans any proposed noise
controls, retention walls, towers, transmission structures or
off-site water discharges that do not flow directly to a stream.
O’Malley told the commission Monday that the changes had been
discussed with the county and was told the county commissioners
had suggested the planning commission also consider revisions that
would address oil and gas development and campgrounds.
O’Malley noted regulating oil and gas development at the local
level is currently in a “state of flux” because of a Supreme Court
decision that threw out the part of Act 13 that restricted local
municipalities from using zoning to regulate oil and gas
Municipalities normally enforce zoning, which deals with land use
as opposed to land development which is addressed by the
commission’s ordinance; however, the commission could include
regulations in its ordinance to address issues such as setback
requirements for municipalities that do not have zoning
ordinances, he said.
Commission members discussed both regulations involving oil and
gas development and campgrounds but seemed to agree those issues
should be addressed by the municipalities through zoning
Robbie Matesic, county director of development, said the planning
department can discuss these issues with the municipalities when
it has workshop meetings with them in regard to changes in the
subdivision and land development ordinance. The department also
could offer to assist those municipalities that want to adopting
zoning ordinances, she said.