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Coal Mining Proposed at Former Mayview Property

The developer that bought the former Mayview State Hospital property is asking South Fayette Township officials to allow it to perform surface mining to remove coal.

The developer that bought the former Mayview State Hospital site three years ago is asking South Fayette Township officials to allow it do a “full-scale mining operation” on the property to remove coal.

Aloe Brothers LLC, which in 2010 bought the former state hospital property in South Fayette, wants to conduct surface mining on the land to retrieve coal 40 feet beneath the ground.

Dennis Regan, who is Aloe’s project manager, claimed that the coal removal is mainly to stabilize the ground to begin developing the property.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there is a coal mine located beneath the property that was used to heat the hospital buildings, but it was abandoned in the 1960s. The newspaper also reported that the state retained the property's mineral rights in the sale.

“It’s an Earth-moving project so we can build our development there," Regan said. “Part of the process of that development is removing (the coal).”

Aloe is petitioning South Fayette Township to grant it a variance for mineral removal because the property is zoned as a business district. The township is holding a public hearing inside the municipal building at 7 p.m. Wednesday to get feedback from residents and other affected parties.

The area that would be surface mined encompasses the lower property off Mayview Road that is surrounded by Chartiers Creek.

South Fayette Township Engineer Mike Benton did not have specifics on the proposal, although he said the project is “feasible.”

“They’re asking to do a full scale mining operation,” Benton said. “It sounds like it will be pretty extensive.”

He said the township is expecting a big crowd for the public hearing and plans to move it to the senior center on the other side of the municipal building. Benton was not sure if the South Fayette commissioners would make a decision on the variance Wednesday night.

“It’s hard to say right now,” Benton said of the outcome. “There are definitely a lot of unknowns and we don’t see this thing very often.”

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B February 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM
If the state has the mineral rights, how is this even an option?
Nancy Page February 26, 2013 at 02:36 PM
People are working hard to clean up Chartiers Creek what will this do to those efforts ? The proximity to the creek is just too great to imagine it will not impact it.
Michele Baum February 26, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Reading the Aloe Bros. application, they're talking about mine operations 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week, massive truck traffic (not on USC roadways, as if that matters much) and blasting. Can't see how this is necessary for development purposes at all.
Arcole February 26, 2013 at 03:50 PM
It is their property, not yours, if they want to take the coal out to do the project properly, they should be allowed. The state retaining the mineral rights means that the state will get the profit from the coal. All of you "NOT IN MY BACK YARD" people give me a rash ! Coal has been mined in this area for over 100 years and it is done much differently than in the past. They are proposing a major earth moving project, and some of the "earth" is going to leave in trucks. I am sure the aquatic life in Chartiers Creek will be protected as well. Gotta go my rash is acting up!!!!
B February 26, 2013 at 04:12 PM
I wouldn't trust them to say that their trucks aren't ever going to make the right out of the development and head to Upper St. Clair and Bridgeville roads. Heave truck traffic places a much larger amount of stress on roads and infrastructure than cars. The smallest CAT Mining truck has a target gross operating weight of 363,000 lb. In addition, are there going to be issues with using mayview road to get from Boyce Road to the Rec Center and Bridgeville? I frequently use that road and don't want to worry about issues with access. Are they going to use the rail more often to haul the coal? The crossing on Mayview road has NO signal and could be very dangerous if rail traffic increases. Last... let's keep in mind the definition of 'surface mining' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_mining Do we want that area to be a massive strip mine? Lot's of questions for those SF and nearby residents.
Lara February 26, 2013 at 04:18 PM
The Upper Saint Clair Community Recreation Center is next to that property. Surface mining coal next to a children's pool? Cancel my membership!
Duke February 26, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Sounds like a great idea to me!
John Helry February 26, 2013 at 06:51 PM
This is regressive. We've just gotten Wingfield Pines mine outflow (that would be the orange water) cleaned up from the last coal mine, which is just across the street. That was only 50 years in the making. Note that private money was used for the cleanup, with no contributiouns from the firms that mined the coal and caused the pollution.
Arcole February 26, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Bryan, Do you REALLY think that they would run 363,000 pound OFF ROAD trucks on the roads. Do you understand OFF ROAD ??? probably not. John, Outflow of ORANGE water is from deep mining. Surface mining means that you strip off the soil and rock etc. REMOVE the coal layer, and regrade the land prior to development. You are another genius. Lara, you probably complain about the NOISE and DUST when the township mows the lawns at the rec. center. Gotta go my rash is acting up ! Oh and by the way Bryan, I doubt that they would haul the coal by rail towards Canonsburg, they would go the other way if they did it at all. Rash is getting bigger.
Arcole February 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Hey Duke, I have a couple of orange vests and flags, lets go down and be flagmen for the nasty coal mine!!!!! Maybe the fresh air will help my rash. !!!!!
B February 27, 2013 at 12:48 AM
The comment about the truck was meant to be two-fold. 1. They need to get those 363,000lb trucks to the site. 2. There will be increased truck traffic on a road that was not meant for that traffic. Regardless, the truck traffic is the least of the worries. I would actually be much more concerned with rail traffic and availability of the road as it would block access to the CRC from half of the township as well as a route through toe Bridgeville. (although I am sure Roger and Oren would love to see the CRC suffer). Where is the 70% of waste material going to be stored while the underlying layer is mined? Can SF and USC residents ensure they will not have late night or early morning construction vehicles or blasting? There is a huge difference from wanting to build a commercial building and starting a full blown mining operation right next door to major to two populated residential townships. I think one of the biggest questions is, how LONG is the mine going to operate? If this is a <1 year timespan then many of these worries could probably be negated (except the rail worry). If we are talking about 2-5 years. You will start to see the nearby residential property values decrease due to the proximity to the mining operation. http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2443&context=utk_chanhonoproj But go ahead Arcole and keep making your poses, your redneck is showing.
Arcole February 27, 2013 at 01:52 AM
If believing that someone has a right to do what they want with their property that can be good for everyone in the long run makes me a redneck, oh well. If they follow the rules and do it legally, then you and everyone should mind your own business. The mining trucks are trucked in in pieces and assembled on the jobsite. You act like this is a huge piece of property and will take years to complete. The entire parcel is only 81 acres, how much of it do they want to mine?? I guess we will have to wait and see. The train that runs past there and through Bridgeville, Heidelberg, Carnegie, Etc. Etc. was originally a coal hauler as well as the Montour Railroad. If they want to haul coal again, who are you or anyone to say they can't. Oh my the big train crossing mayview might make buffy late for Polo lessons at the rec center- what a shame, guess the stinking rich will have to come a different way than down Boyce Road and across Mayview to get to the Taj Mahal-oops i meant rec center!! ANYTHING that is done with that property will be an improvement over the state of dis repair that The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania let it become. My rash is really acting up now !!!!!!!!!!
B February 27, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Unfortunately it is not currently legal to mine that property, hence the need for the zoning variance. Since they are asking for the variance, the township needs to take into consideration any and all effects it will have on the residents and community. If you say the trucks are transported in pieces then so be it, again still increased truck traffic on a road not designed for such. It took me 2 minutes to see videos of trucks being transported as a whole on youtube so I know they have done it that way before. Judging from your comments, you are starting to sound like the developer or a shill for the developer and getting a little defensive here. Clearly PR isn't your strong suit. How much of it they want to mine is certainly a question they should have to answer for the zoning board. Blanket approval to open a full scale mining operation for an undetermined amount of time is a recipe for a complete nightmare. As far as the train, again, you have addressed nothing. The crossing has no signal whatsoever. Sure it may have been ok in the past when mayview road was infrequently used. Today, that is a very active crossing and if rail was used, it should have at the very minimum, warning lights to oncoming trains. You may think that people can build and develop things with complete wanton and disregard for public and environmental safety because it is 'their property'. Unfortunately, that is not how this country works.
Adam Rossi February 27, 2013 at 02:24 PM
" If they follow the rules and do it legally, then you and everyone should mind your own business" It currently is NOT legal to mine coal at that site, that's what this zoning hearing for a 'special exemption' is about, they are trying to change the law to make it legal. "You act like this is a huge piece of property and will take years to complete." How many years will it take to complete? "If they want to haul coal again, who are you or anyone to say they can't." I'm an environmentalist who doesn't believe in coal fired generation. I can't stop it or change it globally yet, but this is an excellent opportunity where my voice and other concerned residents sharing the same sentiment can be heard and possibly make a difference at keeping that coal in the ground where it belongs in my humble opinion.
Arcole February 28, 2013 at 02:57 AM
adam and bryan, I guess you didn't like reading the truth, so you had my posts deleted - you nimbys are all the same, I bet you sit down too !!!
Becky Brindle February 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Here is the update: http://patch.com/A-2tKC
John Helry February 28, 2013 at 04:32 PM
The orange water that we see from mine drainage is caused by the oxidation of sulfide metals, which is iron in our area. This occurs regardless of whether surface or deep-wall mining has occurred. The elevated acidity and low pH are problematic because many species cannot survive in highly acidic environments. Watershed reclamation is quite challenging, with Wingfield Pines providing an excellent example of acid mine drainage remediation. Obviously this won't be necessary if the appropriate steps are taken at the outset to protect Chartiers creek.

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