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E-M:/ Watch for falling Wal-Marts

Enviro-Mich message from Gary Stock <gstock@net-link.net>

On the topic of neighboring states with common concerns...

Events in Kilbuck Township, Pennsylvania, may provide a new example of
corporate influence over local land use decisions, and the potential for
disastrous consequences.

On Sep 19, 2006, a site under development for Wal-Mart collapsed across
a major thoroughfare and adjacent railbeds, blocking them for days. 
Total soil and rock fall eventually reached some 500,000 cubic yards. 
To permit the development, the site had been granted many exceptions
from local zoning requirements.


   Thursday, September 21, 2006

   "Residents say they warned Kilbuck's supervisors that their
   changing a township ordinance in April 2002 one day would
   result in dangerous landslides like the one now burying the
   highway under a half-billion tons of earth, rocks and trees..."

Imagine the outcome if the landslide had been delayed a few months,
until the grand opening -- with county and state officials in the
building... and ~200 local employees... and ~1,000 residents... with
their kids...


   Criminal probe urged in slide

   Friday, November 3, 2006

   "Developer Kilbuck Properties, a subsidiary of Emsworth-based
   ASC Development, proposed building a Wal-Mart supercenter on 
   the 75-acre site once occupied by Dixmont State Hospital. 
   Township officials waived Kilbuck's grading ordinance to allow
   excavation and construction despite the property's steep slopes
   and landslide-prone soils.

   The slide buried Route 65, detouring motorists for nearly two
   weeks, and railroad tracks owned by Norfolk Southern Corp.,
   among the busiest in the country for commerce between Chicago
   and New York.

   Norfolk Southern sustained at least $1 million in damage, said 
   company Vice President Michael Fesen. Damage to Route 65 could 
   surpass $800,000, which the developer is paying, said PennDOT
   District 11 Executive Dan Cessna...


   Kilbuck officials had financial motives to waive grading law

   Thursday, November 2, 2006

   Kilbuck's ordinance states that areas with landslide-prone soils
   -- government documents show the Dixmont site is among them -- 
   cannot be built upon or graded.  The township first waived the
   ordinance to allow construction and grading, and then waived
   specific requirements of how grading should be done.

   The River Pointe Plaza development plan violated township 
   ordinances in 72 instances, according to a May 2003 report
   by Victor-Wetzel Associates, a landscape architect in Sewickley...

   A 10-acre portion of the site continues to move an average of
   1.2 inches a day.

   The DEP previously ordered the developer to have a geotechnical
   engineer on site around-the-clock to monitor movement, so heavily
   traveled Route 65 could be closed if another landslide seemed

   The engineer, however, was not at the site during yesterday's
   evening rush hour, when Petrone and others with the Joint 
   Conservation Committee stopped by to inspect the site..."


PS:  Earlier articles, about a _previous_ slide, this spring!

   Thursday, April 27, 2006 

   "...The hill was a pre-fractured rock formation and was right
    next to the road," said Fred Cardillo, safety coordinator
    for South Fayette-based Senex Explosives Inc., the company
    that blasted the hillside. "There was always a real 
    possibility that this would happen."

   Friday, May 5, 2006

   "A DEP investigation found that the amount of ammonium 
   nitrate used to blow up the hillside on the former Dixmont 
   State Hospital site was "out of proportion with the mass 
   they were trying to loosen," agency spokeswoman Helen 
   Humphreys said..."

Gary Stock                                        gstock@unblinking.com
UnBlinking                                   http://www.unblinking.com/
Googlewhack                                 http://www.googlewhack.com/

     The best proof for a claim that terrorists are crazy or evil
     would be to acknowledge that the White House is full of them

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