My view

Milford Aquifer threatened by development

Part one

By VITO DIBIASI
Posted 4/27/22

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, PA — National Land Developers presented Milford Township with a concept proposition for a 450,000 square foot warehouse for the 44-acre Latimore property. I checked with the …

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My view

Milford Aquifer threatened by development

Part one

Posted

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, PA — National Land Developers presented Milford Township with a concept proposition for a 450,000 square foot warehouse for the 44-acre Latimore property. I checked with the Pike County GIS map info, and the property exchanged hands for $4.7 million on March 1, 2022, just last month. The owners of the property changed their name from Milprop Associates to Milprop Associates II, Limited.

The real estate listing says the sale is pending. So this sale presumably depends on them finding out the true limitations of that property.

I am going to ask a rhetorical question. Why do developers see a piece of flat land at a promising interstate interchange but fail to ask if that land has any limitations that would preclude their proposition in the first place?

The same thing happened last year when a similar warehouse proposition was floated at the Pike County Economic Development Authority. Months later, someone told the developer the bad news about the sand and gravel aquifer only 30 feet below. Why are we repeating this same scenario again?

If you look at Realtor listings around the I84/Rt. 6 interchange, you will see that there are many pieces of property either with sales pending or on the market. All threaten the Milford Aquifer in one way or another by either being directly on the aquifer or having steep slopes leading to it and two exceptional water streams, Sawkill Creek or Sloat Brook. Many of these properties are prime candidates for  infrastructure funds, which would take them off the market in order to protect the Milford aquifer/springs. Yet, just the opposite is happening. Timing is everything here—that is why I am bringing this critical information forward.

Milford Township supervisors referred the warehouse presenters to the Milford Water Authority—which is a very good first step. However, on Milford Township’s website, they still have the draft September 2021 wellhead/watershed ordinance posted. The Friends of the Milford Aquifer still contend with the glaring inadequacies of the ordinance, written by consultant Tom Shepstone, in protecting the Milford Aquifer. It protects the Milford Springs only out to 1,000 feet. That is basically the Milford Water Authority’s property line. It fails to protect the rest of the 2.5-mile-by-0.75-mile aquifer. Mining and manufacturing activities along with other inappropriate conditional uses are still allowed on top of the Milford Aquifer.

On Nov. 15, 2021, it appeared that Friends of the Milford Aquifer had made a breakthrough with the supervisors of Milford Township on both the location of its commercial district and the inadequate clauses of Shepstone’s wellhead protection ordinance. However, we have been in a holding pattern for over six months now, waiting for Pike County to provide the municipality with the aquifer/property overlay map and for the township to finish its comprehensive plan and zoning map.

Based on statements made at Milford Township’s April 18 supervisors meeting, I am now uncertain about what their stance is. Are they backsliding on both the commercial district location on the aquifer and the competency of the Shepstone ordinance?

Not willing to take any chances, Friends of the Milford Aquifer has countered with an eco-email campaign, to make sure this apparent backsliding does not continue. See details about this email effort at our Facebook page at Friends of the Milford Aquifer.

Our group is getting ready for the upcoming conference call with Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey and Rep. Cartwright. We have asked all the local governmental entities involved to send a representative to discuss the proper avenue to distribute infrastructure funding to protect the Milford Aquifer/Springs permanently.

We are at an important inflection point, where our hard work can proceed forward on this issue or slip backward into dangerous policymaking.

Part Two will address the damage development could do to the aquifer and offer a call to action before the infrastructure funding that could help solve the problem goes away.

Vito DiBiasi is the Communications Representative for Friends of the Milford Aquifer and lives in Milford, PA.

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