July 24, 2008

Oakmont Concrete Plant in Suit Objects to 16 Conditions

By Brian Bowling, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Jul. 24--After a 15-month battle to win Oakmont's approval to build a ready-mix concrete plant in an industrial zone, HHI Trucking & Supply is asking the Allegheny County Court to remove some of the 33 conditions the borough placed on the plant's operation.

Stacey Noble, an attorney for the Oakmont firm, said the company wants a judge to strip conditions the borough imposed unilaterally.

"Any ones that we agreed to, we're obviously not appealing," she said.

Shawn Gallagher, Oakmont's attorney, said the official record will show that owner Anthony Folino agreed to at least some of the challenged conditions.

"This was a difficult case because there were such high emotions on both sides, but we thought these conditions, most of them, were agreed to by the applicant," he said.

The lawsuit specifically objects to 16 conditions ranging from limiting the plant's operation to weekdays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. to requiring the company to pay for or reimburse the borough for annual air quality and noise studies.

The company filed its application in March 2007. Council approved the application in June following five hearings held over seven months and another three months for deliberations.

More than 250 residents opposed construction of the plant, citing concerns about noise, safety, flooding and dust.

The council found that HHI Trucking met the borough's criteria for operating a concrete plant in an industrial zone and that the evidence opponents presented to support their concerns did meet the state standard of a "high degree of probability" that the proposed use would be a determent to public health, safety or welfare.

Gallagher said the standard for imposing "reasonable conditions" to a permit, as allowed by state law, is lower than the standard needed to reject an application outright. The lawsuit is effectively asking a county judge to determine whether the conditions are reasonable.

No court hearing has been scheduled.


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