On Aug. 13, the Chester City Council approved an application from Covanta to add a 1,000-square-foot maintenance shed and a 15,000-square-foot rail box building. The buildings will be located at the Delaware Valley Resource Recovery Facility on Highland Avenue. The council approved the application during a two-hour session in which a presentation was made and the public was allowed to comment.

Covanta will be able to burn as much as 500,000 tons of trash from New York. The trash travels to Delaware by train before being trucked to the plant’s location. The trash is heated into ash, gas and steam, with the steam being used to create 80 megawatts of electrical power. The electricity is sold to electric companies Atlantic City Electric Co. and PECO. Some of the power is also used to run the plant itself.

While some residents were concerned about increased traffic and emissions, the council said that the application met all zoning requirements. Therefore, it would have been irresponsible to deny the request, according to the council, and Covanta could have taken legal action if it was denied. Additionally, an attorney for Covanta said that the permit would not allow the plant to receive more tonnage, change its hours of operation or change the type of waste that it receives.

Zoning laws and restrictions are created and enforced to ensure an efficient and productive use of available resources. While the public has every right to resist a proposed request to change a zoning area or a request for an entity to expand on certain land, the government has an obligation to follow established zoning rules. A real estate law attorney could provide zoning law information and appeal zoning denials.

Source: Daily Times News, “Chester council approves development proposal from trash-incinerator plant“, Vince Sullivan,, August 13, 2014