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Kidder Township residents fend off truck terminal #3

Blue Ridge Real Estate's Attorney Michael Malloy speaks at Kidder Township on February 27th.
Isabela Weiss | WVIA News | Report for America
Blue Ridge Real Estate's Attorney Michael Malloy speaks at Kidder Township on February 27th.

Kidder Township supervisors tabled their vote for a third truck terminal at a heated board meeting.

The developer, Blue Ridge Real Estate, fought with supervisors over the decision Tuesday. Blue Ridge Attorney Michael Malloy said they had not been notified of the decision prior to the meeting. He added the board has no power to turn them away.

“I just want to set the stage, y’know, for you. And also, take some of the heat off you guys,” said Malloy. “These [supervisors] are stuck with an ordinance and a process, okay? And we followed the rules. And we came in…and when you follow the rules, it says that the township needs to give the approval.”

However, residents took matters into their own hands. LOVE Kidder Township, a grassroots protest organization, paid for a private engineer to review the developer’s documents. Beth Hurley, a LOVE organizer, read out Michele Adams’ findings about their stormwater management plan.

“The engineer we hired from a company called Meliora [Design,] did determine that the science, the calculations, and the methodology that you’ve applied…is incorrect,” said Hurley.

The board of supervisors will review the private study before their next meeting, according to Supervisor Noel Torres.

Supervisors themselves added that they felt unprepared for Tuesday’s meeting. Bruce Berger admitted that he had not seen the developer’s documents until an hour before the meeting. However, the board held a public Planning Commission meeting on February 7th, when Blue Ridge made all documents for truck terminal two available to the township.

Berger added he had not read township engineer’s own review of terminal two before Tuesday’s meeting.

“I don’t even have the letter from our engineering that was supposedly dated February 2nd. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know what that letter looks like. So, because this is an ongoing issue, it’s not going to get any better," said Berger. "I mean, of course I don’t have any objections – if they follow all the laws and the permits, our hands to me, I mean our hands are somewhat tied. But we need to look at the road down the future."

If passed, this will be the Kidder Township’s third approved truck terminal in just over four years. One terminal is already active, and another is ready for construction. Supervisors are considering a fourth terminal, also run by Blue Ridge. The board of supervisors plans to make a decision on whether to grant the terminal conditional approval at their next meeting.

Isabela Weiss is a storyteller turned reporter from Athens, GA. She is WVIA News's Rural Government Reporter and a Report for America corps member. Weiss lives in Wilkes-Barre with her fabulous cats, Boo and Lorelai.

You can email Isabella at isabelaweiss@wvia.org