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HAYCOCK TOWNSHIP v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/13/87)

decided: August 13, 1987.

HAYCOCK TOWNSHIP, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND RICHARD L. LANDGREEN, PERMITTEE, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Environmental Hearing Board of Pennsylvania in case of Haycock Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources and Richard J. Landgreen, Permittee, Docket No. 83-058-M.

COUNSEL

Mary C. Eberle, Jaczun, Grabowski & Leonard, for petitioner.

Brian J. McCullough, Connolly, Chandor & McAndrews, for respondent, Richard Landgreen.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 467]

This is an appeal by Haycock Township, petitioners, (Township) from an order of the Environmental Hearing Board (Board) upholding an order of the Department of

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 468]

Environmental Resources (DER) which directed the Township to revise its Official Sewage Facilities Plan in a manner which would provide for landowner Richard Landgreen's (Landgreen) proposed single residence spray irrigation system.

In July of 1981, Landgreen, owner of a 5.5 acre parcel of land in Haycock Township, was advised by a soil scientist whom he hired to determine the suitability of his property for an on-site septic system that his property was suitable only for a low flow single residence spray irrigation system. DER was requested to review the lot for such a purpose. It concluded that the site met DER's design guidelines. In December of 1981, Landgreen presented to the Township a proposed revision to the Township's Official Sewage Facilities Plan. The Township did not respond. Landgreen petitioned DER under Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Sewage Facilities Act),*fn1 and its implementing regulation, 25 Pa. Code § 71.17(a),*fn2 to order the Township to revise its official plan. In response to DER's request, on August 13, 1982 the Township submitted objections to DER concerning Landgreen's proposed official plan revisions. However, on February 24, 1983, DER ordered the Township to submit a revision to its Official Sewage Facilities Plan*fn3 because the Township's guidelines

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

    regulating single residence spray irrigation systems were inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the Sewage Facilities Act and the Clean Streams Law,*fn4 and that Landgreen's proposal did include sufficient details concerning site testing and suitability. DER also was of the opinion that the existing plan is inadequate to meet Landgreen's sewage disposal needs because the existing plan only provides for on-lot disposal systems when property is not suitable for an on-lot disposal system, and the plan does not provide for single residence spray irrigation systems.

On March 25, 1983, the Township appealed to the Board pursuant to 25 Pa. Code § 71.17(d). On June 6, 1984, prior to the Board's evidentiary hearing, the Board denied the Township's Petition for Allowance to Enter the Premises for the Purpose of Taking Additional Soil Test.

The Township's appeal to the Board was divided into two separate proceedings. On October 2, 1984, the Board deciding on the preliminary issue, ruled that the Township could not refuse to revise its Official sewage Facilities Plan on the grounds that the proposed site is not in compliance with the Township's "guidelines" on spray irrigation systems when DER had already determined that the site was in compliance with DER's guidelines. On November 21, 1985, the Board addressed the Township's remaining issues on appeal and concluded that DER did not act illegally or abuse its discretion in ordering the Township to amend its Official Sewage Facilities Plan. This appeal followed. ...


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