Dunmore mayor vetoes approved zoning amendment

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DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Last month a zoning amendment in Dunmore was approved by borough council, eliminating an important restriction at the Keystone Sanitary Landfill.

Monday night, Mayor Tim Burke used his executive power and vetoed the amendment. Mayor Burke has been publicly outspoken about any kind of landfill expansion or giving them the power to do so.

Since 2014, the Keystone Sanitary Landfill has been planning to expand. The most recent talks coming this year. Back in July, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing an expansion permit. A letter was sent to the landfill saying its findings show there are more benefits than harm.

Residents disagree and expressed their concerns at last month’s council meeting. That’s when council voted 4-3 to change a zoning ordinance to benefit the landfill. The argument is if a landfill is considered a structure or not. With the ordinance passed, that means Keystone can pile trash without a height limit.

“If you pass this, a For Sale sign goes on my house and it will break my heart to leave this community. But I will do that and then you will have no one here as a tax base. It will be a ghost town,” Ellen, a Dunmore resident said at last month’s meeting.

Mayor Tim Burke sided with residents at Monday night’s meeting. Burke used his executive power and vetoed the ordinance.

“I’m using my veto power to protect this town of Dunmore, my children, my grandchildren, my family, friends, and people I don’t know. That was the reason for the veto,” Burke said.

Mayor Burke says he never received a certified letter for the mayor’s approval on the ordinance change. Without it, he decided to veto it anyway.

“This is the first time a zoning law has been changed while I was mayor. It’s a big issue. Not just for Dunmore and Throop. It’s a big issue for the county,” Burke said.

Council will now have 10 days to answer Mayor Burke’s veto. A meeting will need to be held and votes will have to be recast. According to Burke, council will need a majority plus one to overturn his veto.

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