On May 8th, the Northampton Board of Supervisors approved the expansion of the Wagner Pit off of Route 13. During the discussion, Chairman Murray expressed concern that two members of the Planning Commission, Janet Sturgis, and Kay Downing entered Wagner’s property without permission and photographed what they considered violations. They then attempted to submit the photos as evidence against the Wagner operations.
The Sturgis and Downing photos, which did show some evidence of concrete rebar and asphalt, were “struck from the record” due to the fact that the two Planning Commissioners did not give “advanced notice” to Gary Wagner that they were coming to inspect the mine.
The Planning Commission had previously recommended approval of the SUP request by the Wagner’s to expand their current Borrow Pit and mine operation from 10 to 18 acres– submitting the photos and commentary as evidence after the fact to the Board of Supervisors does not appear to be part an approved set of protocols.
This also highlights a rift between the BoS and the Planning Commission. While Sturgis and Downing attempted an end around, entering the site without permission, Spencer Murray also met with Mr. Wagner, and noted during the discussion that the site was operating properly and according to specifications. So, two members of the Planning Commission consider Wagner operating outside regulations, while the BoS chairman thinks everything is fine? When describing Northampton government, the term dysfunctional may be too kind.
Chas Cornweller says
This is indeed an interesting article. I missed it when I read this blog on Sunday. It, perhaps, was imprudent for these two members of the Planning Commission to take the steps to enter a property uninvited. However, the key phrase here is this: “The Sturgis and Downing photos, which did show some evidence of concrete rebar and asphalt, were ‘struck from the record’ due to the fact that the two Planning Commissioners did not give ‘advanced notice’ to Gary Wagner that they were coming to inspect the mine.” Further, the article states that this highlights a rift between the Northampton Board of Supervisors and The Planning Commission. The rift appears to be a major bone of contention. Is the site safe or not?
Seems to me, what is in order is a County Mandated State run DEQ inspection along with an inquiry by the Army Corps of Engineers, to verify the stability of the site and inspect for levels of toxicity, if any. This should be undertaken as soon as possible and not at Mr. Wagner’s leisure. In my mind, this should clear up any discrepancies now appearing between the two boards.
As far as Ms. Sturgis and Ms. Downing are concerned, in spite of their indiscretions, I offer my kudos. Reminds me of that bumper sticker: “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.” I just hope the Planning Commission and the community have the good sense to see beyond the infraction and see the reasoning behind it. And have the good sense to follow up on this dump site.
Dan Thomas says
Are the two broads being prosecuted for trespassing?
Lori Dize says
Now that is funny…didn’t one of them use to be a Gym teacher weighing over 200lbs? What a fine example she set for the kids.
Nioaka Marshall says
I am not familiar with Ms. Sturgis but I can assure you that Kay Downing was not a gym teacher and has always been aa small woman.