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I-Team: Project development in Hazleton causes neighborhood concerns

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Residents of a Luzerne County neighborhood say their concerns about a nearby industrial construction project are falling on deaf ears.

They reached out to the I-Team for help.

At Birch Knoll Estates, many people say a construction project is causing big problems for them. They claim that no one seems to care about their concerns, so we went looking for answers.

“They put up three foot trees to be our barrier. They take 20 years to grow. I’ll be dead. We needed something else. Well, those trees died,” said Lisa Racosky.
 
Racosky’s home borders the industrial construction project on the south side of Hazleton. A 1.4 million square foot warehouse is being built behind Birch Knoll Estates. She and other residents say the wooded area that used to be behind their homes is now gone and so is their natural barrier.
 
“It’s causing damage. It’s causing damage to my house because I have nothing to block the winds and the snow and whatever that comes here. I never had any problems,” said Racosky.
 
Other neighbors like Paul Stulb tell the I-Team his property has been damaged in the same way. He’s surprised by the extent of the work being done right outside his back door. 
 
“It’s a little bit more involved than what I expected. I’m concerned about my property value,” said Stulb.
 
“It’s still early in the process and when construction is complete there will be more of a permanent barrier put up,” said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat.

Mehalshick: “A lot of residents said that they feel like they’re being ignored by the city and the developer? How do you respond?”

Cusat: “We’re not ignoring them but when your property is built next to an industrial zone, you have to expect that sometimes there is going to be an industrial development there.” 
 
The I-Team took the residents’ concerns to Tom Meagher, Executive Vice President of Blue Rock Construction, the Allentown-based developer of the project.

“We want to be good neighbors and understand their concerns. We will be installing a 2000 foot long six foot high metal and wooden fence between the construction site and Birch Knoll Estates. It is designed to block wind and noise.”

SOURCE: TOM MEAGHER

Meagher did not give a timetable as to when that fence would be installed here. The overall project is expected to be completed in mid-2022.
 

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