Monroe supervisors OK wood recycling facility
New operation could mean 15 new full-time jobs
By Brett Kriebel
CLARION NEWS Writer
The Monroe Township Board Supervisors Aug. 6 approved a request for permission to create a wood recycling facility along State Route 68, roughly one to two miles south of Interstate 80.
The 90-acre site, which is still pending Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approval through a highway occupancy permit, would potentially take bark from sawmills and municipal waste like brush clippings and process it into mulch product to be sold commercially.
According to Endless Summer Supply owner Kory Wood, the facility could create approximately 15 full-time jobs.
Based in Butler, the company works as a lawn care provider. Wood told the supervisors Endless Summer Supply has sold mulch to C&A Trees in the past.
The owner noted he would like the facility to be operational in the Spring of 2020 and to start site development in the fall.
"As far as I'm concerned, I think it's a great project and I wish you luck," said supervisor Steve Ketner.
During the public participation portion of the meeting, resident Jamey Cyphert spoke to the supervisors regarding ATV usage within the township.
Cyphert told the supervisors he had talked with an attorney whose opinion is townships are actually more covered regarding liability concerns by having an ordinance dedicated to allowing ATV usage on township roads which explicitly states a township is not liable in the event of an ATV incident.
"Having the ordinance, even though it encourages the travels, actually provides you some sort of coverage as far as liability protection," Cyphert said.
Cyphert also made a suggestion of reviewing roads considered to be the least traveled within the township if the supervisors were indeed considering at least a partial opening of township roads to ATVs.
While Cyphert admitted creating an ordinance would not necessarily keep the township from being sued, it would give it a leg up in a decision by a court if litigation were to occur.
"This would at least be a statute that would say, according to this law that's already on the books, we're exempt because we adopted this statute,'" said Cyphert.
Board of Supervisors Chair Walter Shook, while noting he understood the logic Cyphert presented, said creating such an ordinance could still have negative effects.
"So we pass an ordinance allowing it and there is an accident," Shook explained. "Their attorney is going to say, Well, you guys authorized it.'
"I see it as opening the door for possibly more litigation against us than not."
Shook also cited an ATV rollover accident, which occurred on Aug. 4 along Curll Road near Sligo.
The crash ultimately resulted in one rider flown from the scene via medical helicopter.
"Things can happen that quick," Shook said.
Shook told Cyphert a potential ordinance was not a dead issue, but the supervisors would need to think it through before making a decision.
While a decision has not yet been made, Cyphert made it clear he felt the supervisors ruling on the matter would be supported either way.
"Obviously we voted you in for you to make the best decisions based on your knowledge and that's what we hope you continue to do," Cyphert said. "If it's not (the best decision) in your eyes than that's what it should be. We want to give you every ounce of evidence we have."