Saturday, March 05, 2005

BoS Meeting 3/3/2005

The Express Times' Chris Pollock reported on the 3/3/05 meeting. The Morning Call's Joe Nixon did not. Instead he chose to present an obviously well researched article on one of the major issues of the evening, the request to lower the speed limit on Bushkill Drive. This piece is worth a second read. We are guessing that Nixon will write up the rest of the meeting shortly and when he does, we will link it here. (Update: Joe Nixon's piece on the meeting appeared in the 3/8/05 Morning Call. Click here to read it.)

This was a first for us, being at a BoS meeting that was immediately (after the Pledge of Allegiance) paused for an executive session. When the four Supervisors (David Hoff was not present) emerged from the backroom 10 minutes later, they said nothing except that it was to discuss a personnel issue and that no action was taken during the session. There were no COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS) and no CORRESPONDENCE

On the printed agenda, in the section above the line, is a list of DEBITS/TRANSFERS. This meeting's agenda listed a new item under that, Total Debt: $9,445,822. We are pleased that this is now on the agenda. It was requested some meetings ago by resident Fritz Wiede (see BoS Meeting 1/21/05). We were told on 1/21/05 that the figure only changes twice a year (when payments are made.)


Township Manager Kichline reported that the Township's new website should go online at the end of next week. She reminded all that the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for March 26, 2005 at 1:00 PM at the Community Center. She also informed the Board that Senator Wonderling wants the Township to submit a list of 3 projects. Supervisor Nicholas said to send the top 5 from the Traffic Study list. She thought that if 5 are submitted the Township may get 3 of them funded.

Tim Weis, Zoning Officer, commended the Public Works Department on the good job they did cleaning up from the last snow storm.

The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX prompted a question from Nicholas about the extra work on the detention pond. Gale responded that the contractor is resubmitting designs for the entire stormwater management plan and that any costs to correct the problems will be paid by the contractor. In Gale's general update he said that there has been no action on the site because of the weather. He said that there should be a furniture presentation in early April or before. The bids for the CCTV system for the PD are to be opened 3/4/05. Supervisor Holmgaard is checking to see if a CCTV system is mandatory for the entire site because of 911.

Gale also reported that the new owners of the Giant are giving Met-Ed a tough time about crossing from their right-of-way (Met-Ed's) to the township property. They have involved lawyers. And, regarding the plaques, Chairman Ackerman said that because Supervisor Hoff was not at the meeting they will wait until the next meeting before deciding on the text.

E.I.T. & E.M.S.T. COLLECTION was tabled.


Solicitor Kline said that the FORKS SELF STORAGE/INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT was all in order. It was approved 4:0.

The STERLING HILL ESTATES/PRELIMINARY SUBDIVISION discussion was lengthy. This development is planned for 68 acres south of Arndt Road and is bordered by Mitman Road on its eastern side. As presented by Seitz, it will have 135 building lots. We were reminded that there was an older plan that had 175 lots. An abutting property owner, Stacy Kocher addressed the Board with his concerns for stormwater runoff onto his yard. The developer said that they were sensitive to his problem and will work with him. Ackerman asked about a homeowners association and was told that there would be none. Nicholas said that the Township does not want to take ownership of the detention/retention ponds and that the plans showed that they would be turned over to the Township. Ackerman suggested that maybe the homeowner on the lot could take care of it. A homeowners association was suggested.

There will be an 8' wide concrete recreation trail all the way on Mitman and Arndt roads. Nicholas suggested a playground for the kids. Don Miller seconded that idea. The developer said that they will work with the Township for a recreation area. The Township does not want ownership of it. Miller suggested that they work it out with the Planning Commission. We learned that the Recreation Fee is $1000 per lot and according to Weis open space is not required in the CR (higher density) district.

There will be side entry lots for the homes with common driveways. There will be 11 homes on Mitman Road with 4 common drives. There are to be no driveways on Arndt Road. Stacy Kocher stated that he was concerned about the stop signs and guard rail. Former Supervisor Stan Kocher said that part of his son's (Stacy Kocher) property was a former quarry and wondered if the Supervisors would be responsible if a kid falls off? Kline said that there is no liability for the Township.

And, a Boy Scout in the audience addressed the Board stating, "I go to school at Shawnee and I want to know how you are going to control the traffic." Ackerman answered, "The best we can." The vote to accept the preliminary subdivision was 4:0 in favor.

In discussion of the C.I.T./LAND DEVELOPMENT we learned that there will be a total of 18,000 sq. ft. of additions and additional parking as well as emergency access roads to accommodate 800 half-time students. All conditions listed in Engineer Hay's letter were agreed to and the project was approved 4:0.

Steven Goffredo represented a Palmer Township developer and requested a BUSHKILL DRIVE/SPEED LIMIT reduction (to 35 mph) recommendation by the Board to PennDot. He related that PennDot would not issue a CO to open the new Newlins Road bridge because of a sight distance problem. He said that PennDot would open the bridge if the speed limit was reduced to compensate. We were told that Bushkill Drive has been widened to its widest to enable a left turn lane on Bushkill but PennDot has eliminated it. He said a Forks homeowner (opposite the bridge) has large pine trees in the way of good sight distance and that homeowner has refused to cut his trees. The trees are NOT in the right-of-way. Kline said that PennDot can condemn the trees and that the problem was created entirely by PennDot on a PennDot road. Holmgaard stated that PennDot should buy the property in question. A resident added that even with lower speed limits, EMS vehicles will go as fast as they can to get to emergencies. The Board rejected the request in a 4:0 vote.

It was noted that Police Chief Dorney gave the Board a very complete plan for the new K-9 Policy. It was approved 4:0.

Chief Dorney reported that there were 3 finalists for the new K-9 Officer position. He submitted the name of Officer William Mills as his choice. The Board voted 4:0 to APPOINT K-9 OFFICER Mills. Congratulations to Officer Mills.

The Board went into the second executive session of the night and emerged to make several motions:

  1. Holmgaard made a motion to hire Berkheimer & Associates. The motion died for lack of a SECOND.
  2. Ackerman made a motion to NOT hire Berkheimer. It was approved 3:1.
  3. Nicholas made a motion to have Mary Ann Kessler come back on Monday. It was approved 4:0.
  4. Miller made a motion to hire a part-time person to help Mary Ann Kessler with the E.I.T. at a rate of $13.00/hr. It was approved 4:0.

The meeting was adjourned.

Our objective is to relate what is experienced at Forks Township meetings for those who cannot attend. We are attempting to be as factual as we can. If we make a mistake, tell us via email or Comment here in the blog, and we will do our best to correct it. We are not perfect. We want to get it right.

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