The Meadows Casino, hotel concerned over blasting at nearby development

The blasting is needed during construction of the Street at the Meadows development in North Strabane

August 28, 2014
Construction crews work on a hillside along Racetrack Road in North Strabane Township where the Street at the Meadows development will be built. Neighboring businesses, including The Meadows Casino, are concerned possible blasting during construction will affect their structures. - Mike Jones / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Plans to perform blasting work during construction of the new Street at the Meadows mixed-use development in North Strabane Township irked its neighbors along Racetrack Road, including The Meadows Casino and a new hotel being built next door.

The blasting permit approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection in late July and currently under consideration by township supervisors is being met with resistance from lawyers for both the casino and the Meadows Hotel Associates group that is building the 155-room Hyatt Place hotel.

Dusty Kirk, an attorney with Reed Smith representing Meadows Hotel Associates, attended Tuesday night’s North Strabane supervisors’ voting meeting and asked the board to delay a decision on the permit or reject it.

“We’re very concerned,” Kirk said Tuesday night. “We don’t want (the blasting permit) to be issued.”

Township officials delayed a decision since lawyers representing the corporations protesting the blasting filed a supersedeas petition with DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board, asking for it to reconsider the previous permit. The supersedeas petition acts similar to an injunction, and DEP spokesman John Poister said the hearing on that matter is scheduled for Sept. 5.

Kirk did not return phone calls seeking comment on why the hotel’s operator is concerned about the blasting.

However, township Manager Frank Siffrinn said the operator is raising concerns since the hotel is currently in the middle of construction, with it expected to open early next year. He added The Meadows Casino officials are worried about the proximity to the casino’s structure and how blasting might affect updates to the racetrack.

Michael Swisher, a principal with Horizon Properties, which is building the Street at the Meadows, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment on why blasting would be needed at the site and whether the dispute could delay construction.

The Street at the Meadows mixed-use development will be built between the casino and Tomsic Motor Co. and include retail shops and 90 apartments. Preparation work on the 14.5-acre property began in June and construction equipment could be seen digging and removing soil from the site Wednesday afternoon.

The project was supposed to be completed in the spring, though that timeline was delayed and the apartments are scheduled to be finished next summer.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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