Dallenbach gets go-ahead to continue importing sand

Decision clears the way for the Township Council to vote on renewal of the company’s mining license.

By: Brian Shappell
   The Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously backed an application by the Dallenbach Sand Co. to continue sand-importing practices, banned by a 1976 zoning ordinance.
   The decision now clears the way for the Township Council to vote on a renewal application for the company’s mining license.
   The zoning board voted 5-0 on April 4 to allow Dallenbach, on Deans-Rhode Hall Road, to import sand for its sand-mining business because testimony illustrated that the company had been doing so since before 1976, when the practice was banned in the township, according to Chairman Barry Nathanson.
   Harold Herbert Jr., former owner of the sand-exporting business the Herbert Sand Co., and former Dallenbach owner Gary Mahan testified that dump trucks brought sand to the Dallenbach site before ordinance changes in 1976 banned the importation practice.
   They said the practice has to be used during the mining process at locations, such as Dallenbach, where the mining is done below the water table because it is otherwise impossible to determine what type of sand is mined.
   "We bought materials from the Herbert Sand Co. and various other sources (prior to 1976)," said Mr. Mahan. "You had to because you have to add sand quality to the mix to meet DOT requirements."
   The zoning board was forced to review the application by New Brunswick state Superior Court because of a dispute between the Township Council and Dallenbach.
   The township and Dallenbach entered into a March 2000 consent order that allowed the company to continue mining until it presented an application to the zoning board to certify the business was importing sand before it was prohibited. The township requested that Dallenbach officials prove they were importing sand prior to 1976.
   Despite Dallenbach’s scheduled zoning board hearing, the Township Council voted 3-1 on July 17, 2001 to deny the company’s application for renewal of its mining license. Council members said the denial was made because requested documentation relating to where the company had mined and what permission had been given to the company by the township in the past had not been presented to the council after several requests.
   Judge Douglas Wolfson, sitting in New Brunswick, voided the denial less than two weeks later stating that it violated the consent order. Dallenbach representatives also presented aerial photos taken at the site during April 1959, January 1962, January 1963 and March 1976. The photos, taken as work was being done on the New Jersey Turnpike, showed several stockpiles of imported sand on the property, according to Mr. Mahan.
   "Based on the previous owners testimony and photos we had in front of us, there was pretty good evidence that they were sand washing before 1976," said Mr. Nathanson.