By JULIE E. GREENE
9:47 PM EST, November 12, 2012
A decision by the Williamsport Town Council on whether to amend or change the zoning for an oil recycler using an old county sewage treatment plant was delayed Monday night.
Edward Kuczynski, Williamsport’s town attorney, said Spirit Services’ attorney, Jason Divelbiss, requested the town delay a decision on the zoning change while issues are researched.
One of the issues to be explored is the cost and feasibility of a secondary road to the site, Kuczynski said. Spirit Services is using the county’s former Nicodemus sewer treatment plant, which is at the end of Lockwood Road, a narrow road with residences along it.
Kuczynski recommended the council delay the zoning decision until at least its December meeting, though he said he expected Divelbiss might request another postponement because it will take time to research the issues.
Several residents spoke in opposition to the zoning change during a Nov. 5 public hearing, expressing concern about truck traffic, odor and noise, Mayor James G. McCleaf II has said.
The company is leasing the old Nicodemus plant from the county and, in order to purchase the plant, needs the zoning changed from suburban residential to employment center. The latter zoning would permit the current use as an oil recycler, while the former does not.
Spirit Services has been using the old Nicodemus plant intermittently since 2005, but town officials were unaware until earlier this year that a private company was using the county facility.
“Understand, he’s not making any excuses. There’s probably a permit that’s necessary, and something needs to be done,” Kuczynski said, referring to Divelbiss, with whom Kuczynski said he had spoken Monday.
It’s critical for Spirit Services to properly establish its rezoning request, Kuczynski said. Without it, the commercial enterprise could end, he said.
“I think they’re trying to ... sort of figure out exactly what happened and why it happened, and then what they need to do to try to rectify it with the residents,” Kuczynski said.
McCleaf said last week that the company should not be operating now because it didn’t go through the proper zoning.
Kuczynski said he also told Divelbiss that it would be important to have substantial contact with area residents to hear their concerns.
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