Sunoco may redirect North Huntingdon gas pipeline route
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North Huntingdon Commissioner Rich Gray said on Thursday that state Rep. George Dunbar told him Sunoco officials are considering a different right-of- way route for a high-pressure pipeline because of public outcry over the route the company originally chose.
Mr. Gray was responding to queries from resident Dominic Rossetti, who asked why North Huntingdon commissioners hadn't met with Sunoco representatives to get them to change the planned pipeline route through North Huntingdon. Mr.
Rossetti spoke at the commissioners' special meeting Thursday night.
Mr. Rossetti said Forward Township officials met with Sunoco employees and successfully got them to move the pipeline back from 40 property lines.
In January, representatives of Sunoco Pipeline L.P., the company that plans to build a pressurized pipeline to transport natural gas liquids from Houston, Washington County, to Delmont through North Huntingdon and Penn townships, weren't sure when surveys along the pipeline route would be complete, or when the right-of-way acquisition process for the line would start.
However, in January Sunoco spokesman Joe McGinn said the company still planned to begin construction of the line this summer.
He said the firm, a subsidiary of Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., had completed surveys along 95 percent of the line's proposed route.
Mr. McGinn said the company would finalize the planned route of the pipeline and begin the right-of-way acquisition process after the survey and detailed engineering process are complete.
He wrote in an e-mail that the 12-inch diameter underground pipeline will carry 70,000 barrels of pressurized liquid ethane and propane per day through Delmont to Marcus Hook, Delaware County, for delivery to various domestic and overseas markets.
The line will have a 50-foot right-of-way, he said.
"There is in the right-of-way itself a bit of a buffer," he said last month.
If easements are acquired, any trees and fences on rights-of-way for the pipeline must be removed, he said. However, no structures can be on the right-of-way for the pipe, and none will be cleared, he said in January.
At a meeting to address residents' concerns over the pipeline in October, state Rep. George Dunbar, R-56th District, said in many cases, the company won't have to negotiate with homeowners at all. If the pipeline path lies along utility rights-of-way, the company will need to gain approval from the municipality instead of homeowners to use those easements, he said then.
Before the special meeting Thursday night, the commissioners held a joint meeting with members of the North Huntingdon Planning Commission. The planning commissioners submitted a list of things they wanted input on from the commissioners, including how deep the commercial district along Route 30 in the Western end of the township should be, and how the township should fine-tune the chicken ordinance in the township's new zoning code.
Mr. Rossetti also spoke at the joint planning and commissioners' meeting about several items, including his reservations about the township's plan to allow homeowners with small lots to have four to six hens for egg production and personal use.
He said chickens shed salmonella, and that small children and pregnant women should not handle chickens or ducks.
"Chicken manure has a terrible smell," he said. "If I bought a house for $200,000, $300,000, the last thing I would want is a chicken coop in the yard of my neighbor."
During the special meeting that followed, resident Aaron McGregor responded to Mr. Rossetti's comments about chickens spreading disease.
"The United States Department of Agriculture estimates six hens produce a half pound of animal waste a day. My two mastiffs produce that in one outing," he said.
In June, Mr. McGregor submitted a sample ordinance made of ideas from chicken ordinances from Seattle, Washington; Tucson , Arizona; Pinellas County around St. Petersburg, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and State College to the commissioners. He and his wife, Heather Fowler, are leading local efforts to change the township zoning code so families can have small flocks of chickens.
An interest in urban and suburban farming has swept the Pittsburgh area and the country, with people raising vegetables, growing fruit trees and keeping small flocks of chickens and honey bees on small lots.
Delta Development Group, Inc., of Wexford is rewriting the overall zoning code for North Huntingdon, including the chicken ordinance.
Andy Blenko, township director of planning and zoning, said Thursday that he hopes the zoning code will be ready for a vote by the township commissioners in June. The township's new chicken ordinance is a small part of the overall zoning code revision.
First Published February 15, 2013 12:00 am