Through a settlement agreement on Monday August 17th, Penn Township Board of Commissioners passed a resolution clarifying that any application for a zoning permit is incomplete without the required reports and cannot be approved without them.
Our attorney, Oday Salim had this to say: “The requirement that the ZHB must first review the required environmental studies before making a decision about denial or approval was obvious based on the language of the original ordinance resolution from January 2015 and even more obvious based on the constitutional duty of all levels of Pennsylvania government to ensure, among other things, careful review of possible impacts to health, environment, and other constitutionally protected values in order to assess whether the proposed activity is appropriate. It is unfortunate that Protect PT had to go to court to achieve affirmation of that, but now Penn Township has made clear that neither the ZHB nor the commissioners can make a decision on a gas well zoning application without first having the studies.”
President of Protect PT, Gillian Graber said “The result we achieved in this land use appeal is crucial to the community because not only will the local government have those studies to review before it makes its decision, but community members can also review those publicly accessible reports and decide whether to express at the local hearings their approval or disapproval of the proposed activity. All along we were fighting for the principle of full early disclosure and for the public’s right to know how they may be impacted by an activity, and it feels good to have achieved that for the residents of Penn Township and the surrounding areas."
Click Here for a Trib article for interesting facts about the meeting.