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Monday, April 6, 2015

another SWPA township with a zoning/drilling problem...the backroom deals sound familiar

What is going on in Robinson?

Those who are following this issue have seen a very strange set of developments: In 2014, Mark-West obtained a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection to construct a compressor station on a large plot of land it purchased in Robinson Township. It is immediately north of Midway, across the street and slightly southeast from the Quicksilver Golf Course. With the Robinson Township zoning changes that took place in 2014, a compressor station is already a permitted use in that location.
However, in December, Mark-West made a presentation before the Robinson Township Planning Commission requesting that the zoning of that 253-acre area be changed to “industrial.” This was very odd, because why would they want to rezone an area when theycould already use it for their stated use – to build a compressor station? The MarkWest representative was very adamant at that meeting about the need to change the zoning and change it fast.
The MarkWest representative also emphasized the ideal nature of the location, saying that it had virtually no neighbors – except for seven homes or businesses. He neglected to point out that the proposed industrial site was right on top of the northern border of Midway, a borough of 1,000 “neighbors,” and that it would also be upwind of McDonald, a borough of 2,000 more “neighbors.”
With a rezoning of the 253 acres for industrial use, there would be no public hearings for any industrial facility there at all. MarkWest would simply have the green light to do whatever it wanted, regardless of the concerns or the opinions of the 3,000 neighbors in the nearby boroughs, or the 2,200 people in Robinson Township itself.
The planning commission submitted a letter to the Robinson Township supervisors expressing its strong opposition to the proposed rezoning. The MarkWest representative was slated to talk about the zoning proposal on March 9, but the item was removed from the supervisors’ agenda for the meeting. At the meeting, when the supervisors were asked for an update on the rezoningproposal, they deferred the question to the township manager. The manager, in turn, deferred the question to the MarkWest representative, who said, “We discussed it among ourselves at length, and decided that we are not going to go forward with it at this time.”
Note that the request is not withdrawn; it is just postponed. Why would something that was so urgent in December be shifted to the backburnerin March? So, the question we should all be asking is, “What exactly isgoing on in Robinson Township?”

Dorothy Bassett
Midway