Falls Township has voted down Elcon’s proposal unanimously, but the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection can still make its own decision. DEP Community Relations Coordinator Virginia Cain confirmed Thursday morning the plan is still under review in a statement.
“DEP is aware of the Falls Township meeting last night regarding Elcon Recycling Services and the unanimous vote against the project,” the statement read. “DEP continues to review the applications under DEP jurisdiction, as required by its statutes and regulations. For more information on DEP’s review of the materials and future announcements, please visit the project webpage at www.dep.pa.gov/elcon.”
Tensions flared between Elcon and Falls Township Tuesday night as it appeared each side was unhappy with the other. Several Falls Township officers, including members of the Board of Supervisors pointed out flaws in Elcon’s land development application.
After the vote, Supervisor Chairman Bob Harvie said he fully reviewed the phase two application, contained within eight binders. He noted several perceived issues with Elcon’s plan and said he hoped the solicitors could organize the information to send to the DEP:
- The company “sent notification letters to local water authorities users of the Delaware River,” but Lower Bucks Municipal Authority was not listed
- The application said Falls Township had 4 fire companies when Falls actually has 3
- There is no mention of QuakerPenn Park or Falls Township Community Park on a map designated to include parks near the site
- The application fails to mention Pennsbury Manor as a historic site near the proposed location
- An attachment mentions tipping fees, but Elcon would not pay Falls Township tipping fees
- The fiscal impact study inflated the economic impact Elcon would have on Falls Township
- Emergency scenarios listed local hospitals, but did not list Capital Health Hospital, which Harvie noted is the closest hospital
- The radiation monitoring protection plan did not list Falls Township as an emergency contact
But representatives with Elcon Recycling, LLC became visibly frustrated with the situation. Attorney Kim Freimuth, representing Elcon, insisted some feedback was submitted to Elcon less than 48 hours before the meeting began.
“We have received review letters, at this point, from the township fire marshal, the township engineer, and the township traffic consultant, as recently as today,” Freimuth said. “Elcon has repeatedly asked for additional time to resubmit plans and to work with the township’s consultants through those letters. Nonetheless, it is our understanding the township intends to take action this evening.”
Furthermore, Freimuth, detailed several compromises to the board throughout the evening. These included not using Pennsylvania Ave in Morrisville as a truck route and paying for inspector hired by the township.
But this raised concern with Supervisor Jeff Boraski, who asked what would happen if Elcon went out of business.
“If the employee were a member of one of the unions in the township, and unless there is an agreement with the union, that person would continue to be an employee with the township,“ explained Township Solicitor Michael Clarke.
After all the debate and disagreement, the DEP may take Harvie’s notes into consideration. However, they are under no obligation to follow his decision. If the DEP approves Elcon’s phase two application, the aftermath could become complicated.
WBCB’s Manny Jones and Rick Rickman contributed to this post.