School bus company joins civil suit
WILKES-BARRE — A school bus company approved to operate their hub in a residential area of Hanover Township filed notice to join a civil lawsuit against the Hanover Township Zoning Board.
Attorney Kevin M. Walsh, representing HA Hanover Holdings LLC., filed the intervention notice two days after Attorney Mark P. McNealis filed the suit in Luzerne County Court.
McNealis represents 16 “aggrieved township residents” in the Preston section claiming the township zoning board wrongly approved HA Hanover Holdings, a for-profit business, to operate their bus depot in an area zoned R-2 on South Main Street across from the former Preston fire station. HA Hanover Holdings is leasing the former fire station from the township as office space.
The bus depot began operating at the 1.7-acre site that once was a storage yard for motor homes and boats several weeks before the zoning board granted approval.
The zoning board following a public meeting Sept. 20 voted 3-2 to grant HA Hanover Holdings a “non-conforming use” to operate the bus depot and to construct a garage larger than the current building at the site.
According to a transcript of the public meeting, many residents spoke about dust, increased traffic and noise that begin at 6 a.m. until midnight. Pictures of a “dust bomb” caused by a single bus leaving the property were shown to the zoning board during the public meeting.
One neighbor told the zoning board their “peace and joy” in the neighborhood has been taken away by the beeping noises of reversing buses.
Richard Andrejko, a principal with HA Hanover Holdings, said during the public meeting that buses would not create dust, pollution or excessive noise. Andrejko said he plans to re-configure the property to have buses pull into the depot from a rear entrance to avoid backing up.
HA Hanover Holdings, of 239 Old River Road, Wilkes-Barre, the same building that houses Martz Trailways, is purchasing the 1.7-acre site for $370,000, according to an exhibit filed with the public meeting transcript.
According to the township zoning ordinance enacted in June 2016 and amended in August 2020, the zoning board can issue special exceptions to change a non-conforming use if six standards are met. Two of the six standards say no increase in traffic causing congestion and no increase in noise, smoke, dust, fumes, vapors and vibrations.
The zoning board held the Sept. 20 meeting based on an appeal HA Hanover Holdings filed when the township code enforcement office on Sept. 7 denied their application to operate the bus hub.