Planning debate spills over to commissioners meeting

BY STACI WILSON

Debate over a proposed compressor station from the Tuesday night Planning Commission meeting spilled over into the public comment portion of the Wednesday, Jan. 9 meeting of the county commissioners.

The meeting, typically held in the commissioners’ meeting room, was moved in apparent anticipation of a larger than normal turnout. But only about 15 people, most regular attendees, showed.

The Williams Church Compressor Station received preliminary, conditional approval by the Planning Commission at the Tuesday, Jan. 8 meeting.

Craig Stevens, of Silver Lake Twp., told the commissioners that the Planning Commission did not reorganize at the Tuesday meeting. The meeting notice had been advertised as a special meeting as well as for the purpose of reorganization of the board.

“Last night’s vote was illegal,” Stevens said.

Planning Director Robert Templeton said that, according to the Commission’s bylaws, the reorganization meeting is required to be held on the last Tuesday of January each year. Reorganization will occur at the Jan. 29 meeting. Templeton said the inclusion of reorganization in the legal advertisement was made in error.

Stevens also alleged that Planning Commission Chairman Patrick Ahearn resigned for the position “because someone forced him to have that meeting.”

Ahearn tendered his resignation from the Planning Commission on Dec. 24, it was accepted by the commissioners at the Dec. 26 meeting.

“I’m tired of the gas companies running this county,” Stevens said. “FEMA and PEMA are looking at this.”

The decibel level prescribed by the county’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance was also questioned.

Bruce Paskoff, of Montrose, asked the commissioners about the decibel levels discussed at a March 2012 meeting.

The SALDO, as amended January 2011 to include special compressor station requirements, sets the decibel level emanating from a compressor station be no more than 50 dcb at any occupied dwelling that is not on the same property as the station.

Act 13, however, included a higher allowable dcb reading. That provision is currently being looked at by the courts, Commissioner Michael Giangrieco said.

Stevens said, “It’s a joke to have a law you can’t enforce.”

Vera Scroggins, of Silver Lake Twp., also commented on the previous night’s meeting, mentioning the Planning Commission’s executive session with the county solicitor held prior to the meeting.

“The executive session was to convince people how to act,” she alleged. “They (Planning Commission members) wouldn’t speak. They wouldn’t answer questions.”