“Victory for the people”: Asphalt plant denied in Luzerne County


SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Many are calling it a victory for the people. And it all has to do with a proposed asphalt manufacturing plant in southern Luzerne County.

A state appeals court has ruled in favor of opponents for the project of a proposed Asphalt Manufacturing plant in Sugarloaf Township. 

The project has been the focus of a legal debate for nearly four-years. A 3-judge-panel upheld the rulings of the Sugarloaf Township Zoning Board as well as a Luzerne County judge.

The asphalt plant would have been built on several hundred acres of land near Tomhicken Road. The Glenn O. Hawbakers Company, based in State College, argues the township zoning laws did allow for this type of operation. The plant would have manufactured asphalt for road construction projects.

Officials from Sugarloaf Township opposed the plant. Area residents packed the Zoning Hearing Board meeting to oppose the project.

“We had experts that testified. There would be adverse impacts on not only property values for people holding properties, but also impacts as the result of air quality on the mountain top of Sugarloaf as well as in the valley,” said Attorney Donald Karpowich, who represented project opponents.

Nearby community leaders also opposed the construction of the plant, believing it had the potential to impact the lives of those residing in the area.

“There would be so many adverse affects that this plant would have brought not only this one, but we are always on the look out for anything with potential to impact the quality of life for residents here or their well being,” said Gary Gregory, Conyngham Council President.

Lex Sloot spearheaded the opposition to the project.

“Well, we feel it is a wonderful thing because just the truck traffic alone on Tomhicken Road at the intersection with Route 93, near the Hampton Inn, it would have been an absolute nightmare,” Sloot said.

Opponents of the project say, while they are celebrating today, they are going to keep up their legal guard just in case the company reopens the project.

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