South Whitehall Township and a composting business that has been the subject of neighbors' smell complaints have arranged a temporary truce while a legal fight over the company’s right to exist at that location is expected to continue.
Township commissioners Wednesday night agreed by a 4-0 vote to a contract in which Huckleberry Associates is agreeing not to add any new biomaterial to the composting site at 4359 Huckleberry Road until the legal issues are resolved.
The township’s Zoning Hearing Board has ruled that the business cannot exist at that address where parent company Haines & Kibblehouse Inc. have also had a quarry operation, according to Township Solicitor Joseph Zator.
However, Zator said he anticipates that Huckleberry Associates will appeal the Zoning Hearing Board ruling. The only alternative would be to close operations completely, he said.
The composting operation raised a literal stink in the summer when some residents near the facility began to complain about the smell, according to The Express Times. Township officials took up the fight when they realized that the company never obtained the proper permits to develop the site, including paving over part of a 4.5-acre meadow for a composting pad.
However, Huckleberry Associates does have a state permit to operate a composting facility and the operation passed a Department of Environmental Protection inspection in July, according to the newspaper.
The contract will allow Huckleberry Associates to continue to process the composting material that is still on site—which has included items that have been trucked in from grocery stores, Zator said.
But no new materials can be added until after the anticipated legal appeals are exhausted, Zator said.
Commissioner David L. Bond asked what the sanctions would be for Huckleberry Associates if it should import new biomaterials. Zator said it could be found in breach of contract if the township sues the company in court.