Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in case of G.M.P. Land Company, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors of Hegins Township and Hegins Township Environmental Association, No. S-928-1979.
Richard L. Caplan, with him David S. Gellert, Frumkin & Manta, P.C., for appellant.
Leroy G. Adams, Lipkin, Marshall, Bohorad & Adams, P.C., for appellee, Board of Supervisors of Hegins Township.
John T. Pfeiffer, III, Pfeiffer, Brown & Baldwin, for appellee, Hegins Township Environmental Association.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 592]
In this zoning case, G.M.P. Land Company, Inc. appeals from a Schuylkill County Common Pleas Court order, which affirmed a Hegins Township Board of Supervisors' decision rejecting a curative amendment petition that would have enabled GMP to strip-mine approximately 1,000 acres of land in the township's S-1 Special Purpose Wooded Area, where mining is not a permitted use. We affirm.
On August 10, 1966, Hegins Township enacted a zoning ordinance based on a comprehensive plan developed
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 593]
by its planning consultant and adopted by the township in June of 1965. In addition to establishing the S-1 Special Purpose Wooded Area and other district classifications within the township, the ordinance describes an S-3 Special Purpose Mining Area.
That S-3 district extends southward from the crest of the Broad, Bear, and Goodspring Mountains to the southern line of the township. There, one may engage in underground and strip mining operations as a special use so long as (1) the underground operations do not "result in subsidence or other surface movement which will adversely affect life and property or jeopardize the public safety and welfare,"*fn1 and (2) the strip mining operations, considered a "temporary use,"*fn2 conform to restrictions set forth in sections 6.301-6.303*fn3 and 7.403*fn4 of the ordinance.
The S-1 district, the one where mining is not permitted, extends northward from the crest of the three mountains to Pine Creek; as found by the supervisors and as summarized by the common pleas court, the Hegins Township Authority water reservoir, the Authority's deep wells, Pine Creek, and the Mauch Chunk
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acquifer formation, which stores and supplies water to these facilities, all lie directly downhill from, or adjacent to, the S-1 district.
Uses permitted in the S-1 district include the production of agricultural, nursery, and and forest products, golf courses and swimming pools, low intensity park and recreation areas, landscaped areas, and radio transmission or receiving towers or facilities, as well as customary accessory uses and essential services, and appropriate public uses.*fn5
The land which is the subject of this appeal -- called the "yellow area"*fn6 -- borders the S-3 district, stretching for approximately 1000 acres in the S-1 district along the northern slope of the Broad, Bear and Goodspring Mountains; it contains 367 acres assessed as coal or coal reserve.
GMP purchased the yellow area, as well as other property in the S-1 and S-3 districts, on March 28, 1975, eight years after the township enacted its zoning ordinance; the company has been strip- and deep-mining its extensive ...