JEFFERSON-Are county officials playing a waiting game or using stall tactics on the taxpayers’ dime to prevent the installation of an asphalt plant in Glendale Springs?
That’s what Appalachian Materials’ operator D.J. Cecile wants to know.
As both parties await the results of a judicial review in the matter, Cecile believes the county is purposely milking the clock on the issuance of permits and other pertinent matters that are currently blocking the plant’s construction. Simply put, he believes the county is trying to spend him down in court costs, so he will abandon his plans to build a plant.
Cecile’s claim stems from ongoing litigation concerning the plant’s future.
In October, the planning board overturned the county’s earlier decision that denied Appalachian Materials a permit to construct an asphalt plant in Glendale Springs. The county is arguing the planning board exceeded its limited jurisdiction in issuing its order of reversal and overstepped its boundaries in trying to stop the county from enforcing laws as written. A judge will eventually have to rule on the matter.
In the meantime, the county and Appalachian Materials have been caught in a dispute concerning permit applications, which are vital to the plant’s construction.
Cecile uses the delay in the issuance of a watershed permit as an example to support his claim of the county’s reluctance to treat him fairly.
“Mr. (planning director) Adam Stumb’s refusal to proceed in processing an application that has now been pending before him for over two years is in effect a denial of AM’s watershed permit application,” Cecile’s partner Chad Essick wrote in a letter to the planning department.
Cecile’s camp further alleges the planning department is abusing the authority in not bringing a speedy resolution to the matter of the permit.
When reached for comment concerning Cecile’s claims, Stumb had no comment on the accusations specifically.
The Watershed Administrator is asking the Planning Board to schedule the quasi-judicial hearing on Sept. 21 pertaining to the permit.
“The County has no comment about Dr. Cecile’s, Appalachian Materials’ Manager, possible accusations,” said Stumb in an email. “The hearing requested by Appalachian Materials is quasi-judicial. Any party to the appeal lobbying the Board by contacting a Board member outside the hearing or making accusations concerning materials in the appeal through newsprint is inappropriate and undermines the integrity of the process.”
County Manager Sam Yearick did not return a message seeking comment, but a previous email exchange between him and the board of commissioners could shed light on the county’s stance on legal suits.
“It’s just the cost of doing business,” Yearick told the board.
Yearick was referencing possible litigation from Appalachian Materials against the county for its denial of a polluting industries permit that would’ve allowed the company to construct an asphalt plant in Glendale Springs.
The cost Yearick was referencing includes taxpayer dollars. To date, the county has shelled out nearly six figures fighting the plant’s installation.
“I also heard through the grapevine that the paperwork has been filed to sue us to issue an asphalt plant permit,” Yearick wrote to the board after briefing them on a separate matter. “I haven’t received the paperwork yet, but don’t be surprised if/when read about it. Just remember, if you’re not getting sued, then you’re not in business. It is simply a cost of doing business.”
To date, Yearick has not offered an explanation for these statements.
Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.
The county and Appalachian Materials remain locked in a legal dispute concerning the installation of an asphalt plant.