Sunday, July 24, 2005

BoS Meeting 7/21/05

The highlights of the Board of Supervisors 7/21/05 meeting were well covered by both Sarah Mausolf (Express Times 7/22/05) and Jeff Christman (Morning Call 7/22/05). We will attempt once again to fill in some of the blanks.

REPORTS: SUPERVISORS, MANAGER, ENGINEER & SOLICITOR

  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas said that she has the minutes of the EAJSA. Forks has earned $24K in interest on its unused sewer capacity.
  • Supervisor Henning Holmgaard announced Forks' participation in the National Night Out on the 1st Tuesday in August.
  • Supervisor Donald Miller said that he has the Recreation Department Report.
  • Chairman John Ackerman stated that he has the Public Works Report.
  • Township Manager Cathy Kichline reported that Penn Dot has some minor work to do on the damaged portion of Frost Hollow Road and that it MAY be open in 3 weeks. She also stated that Congressman Dent has chosen Forks Township for a press conference on the gaming bill (because of some of its concerns with the Delaware Nation land claim). She stated, too, that the forms for the memorial trees and the list of tree types will be available at the Municipal Building reception desk. She said that it should be on the Township website in the next couple of days. Lastly, she reported that PennDot has finished its re-timing study of the traffic lights on Sullivan Trail (using Engineer Fred Hay's latest data.) PennDot recommends keeping the light timing as it is for now.
  • Police Chief Greg Dorney reported that the Bike Derby, with Genesis Bike Shop's assistance, was a success. Sixty eight kids participated. He also said that their 3rd Annual Youth Academy begins on Monday, July 25th. Enrollment is closed with thirty five kids signed up. There are 5 on the waiting list. The public is invited to stop by and observe any of the presentations. Another coming event is Forks participation in the National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2nd from 6-9 PM. The PD will man a mobile substation. There will be free gun locks and Self-Child Identification Kits (inkless finger printing, DNA sample kits, crime prevention materials, etc). The location and times will be on the Township website. Dorney said that the call volume through the end of June is 3415. He anticipates it nearing 7000 calls by year end. This represents a big increase over past years.
  • Engineer Fred Hay reported that the Met-Ed poll on Zucksville will be moved in August (see BoS 4/7/05, ZONING AND SALDO ENFORCEMENT ACTION/S&R BALAZS). The homeowner will pay to have the poll moved. As to Mr. Falcone's question at the last meeting about the pond on the school construction site, Hay stated that the pond is on the plan and has landscaping around it. He spoke with Mr. Falcone on Wednesday.

CORRESPONDENCE:

  • Miller reported that his neighbors near the Shawnee School construction area asked him to express their concerns about the dust from the construction. He showed several 8" X 10" color photos of the dust conditions. Hay said that he was unaware of the problem and that he would speak to the construction manager about wetting the soil with water (until things start growing there to stabilize the site).
  • Holmgaard said that Chief Dorney got a letter thanking the PD for its help and concern/compassion when the writer's mother's sister died (after the family's call to 911). The three officers who responded were praised in the letter. (Note: We were not able to hear their names nor the writer's name.)

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS):

Brent Wood, a Meco Road resident and no stranger to BoS meetings (see BoS 11/1/05, COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR, NOT AGENDA ITEMS) spoke on several topics. He appeared last year because of a problem at the Wagonwheel/Meco intersection. This night he told of speaking to Met-Ed because of power failures 2 days in a row. He was told by an engineer at Met-Ed that the transformers were "blowing" because of the rapid expansion in Forks (as well as new swimming pools, air conditioning, etc.). He asked that the Board speak to Met-Ed.

Wood said too that he read in the newspaper about expanded water use and wondered if Sullivan Trail is going to look like MacArthur Boulevard. "When does it stop? When are you guys able to say NO?" To these questions, Ackerman deferred to Solicitor Kline. Kline cited the Comprehensive Plan and stated that the Zoning Ordinance was to regulate development within the Comprehensive Plan. He noted the building boom and the pressure developers are exerting to build in the FP district because the southern (zoned for residential) portion of the Township is built out. Wood stated that there is no room in the schools, they are "busting at the seams." Kline replied that unfortunately the State of PA does not allow school districts to participate in subdivision and land development at all and that the school districts are not allowed to collect any fees (from the developers to help the schools.) Wood again stated that he is asking the Board to say "NO" to the developers. He said that deciding between 200 homes or 800 homes (for a project) should be an easy decision to make.

Ackerman told Mr. Wood (and the rest of the audience) that "50 years ago, we tried to keep you and everybody else out and we couldn't stop it." (He said he was speaking "personally" and not for the Board.) Ackerman further said, "When people want to sell their land, they have a right to sell to anybody they want to." Wood said to Ackerman, "...you have the ability to stop it." Ackerman replied, "Unfortunately, I don't but I thank you for your time."

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX was the only "unfinished business" on this evening's agenda. Some of Gale 's detail included:

  • The firehouse blacktop will start next week.
  • The entire site sidewalk prep is underway.
  • There is now good water pressure in the park.
  • The stone cutter (for the date blocks) has disappeared. Gale had intended to drop off the blocks yesterday and will find him (or a substitute).
  • Frick Transfer will be used to move the generator. The Municipal Building will have power cut off for the up to 4-6 hours it will take and it will probably be done at night or on a weekend.
  • Four people emailed regarding Christmas Tree donations. He rejected three of them and will visit the fourth when he finds it. It is somewhere in Bethlehem Township.
  • The newly designed CVS/Giant pond connect will cost approximately $37.3K. $18K-$19K of that expense is required by engineering leaving the balance on the "lap" of Schoor DiPalma. The old Giant pond is being "eaten by sinkholes."
  • Either RCN or Verizon will be the telephone service provider.
  • He suggests simpler mounting brackets for the tree plaques. Miller said that he has pictures of three markers from Hershey Garden and wll get them to him.

Nicholas asked when the fire station will be secure. Apparently somebody got in and walked on the newly treated floor before the epoxy was dry. Gale said that it is repaired and that the doors are in now.

NEW BUSINESS

One Up LLC presented the SULLIVAN TRAIL COMMERCIAL LAND DEVELOPMENT PRELIMINARY/FINAL. The developer stated that this was the same plan that they showed at previous meetings and that they have worked with staff. It has retail in the back where the Laneco was and a bank and fast food restaurant in the front. Nicholas asked what kind of businesses were going in there and was told that they have some interest but won't know until the final plan is approved. Ackerman said that he wasn't sure he liked the entrance for southbound Sullivan Trail traffic and that there is a traffic light. The developer said that they've spoken to PennDot and that PennDot is in favor of it. There will be no left turn allowed for northbound Sullivan Trail traffic. He also said that it was "pretty crucial" to the plan. He then invited Hay to comment. Hay summarized their last appearance before the PC stating that Vito (Tamborrino - Chairman) had problems with the same thing. Hay said he supports it (the turn lane). Hay noted that the PC voted to reject this plan at their last meeting (the project was on their agenda but the developer did not show) because a time extension was needed. Hay said that he has a problem with that rejection because there are no zoning or engineering issues. The developer said that the PC wanted them to move the development back and that he didn't think the Supervisors wanted that, that they wanted the open space. Hay then told that the developer has been very cooperative and removed the townhouses (that they first proposed) from the plan. The Township will get 2.7 acres behind the old Laneco and intends to use it for parking for the Community Center. This land is being given in lieu or Recreation Fees. The developer, One Up LLC will pay all other Township fees. Nicholas asked if there was going to be enough space behind the large building for delivery trucks and was told by Hay that the loading docks and space (50') allowed for deliveries. (Aside: Hay had the revised plan and the color one being shown was older so there was some confusion.) Nicholas wondered about the PC having a problem with this project. Hay explained that Vito had a problem with the driveway and that other PC members had a problem with the interior circulation. He said that it meets the specifications of the commercial ordinance. Zoning Officer Tim Weis brought up the issue of the school bus stop on Sullivan Trail and the daycare center at back of the property. The developer said that he knew the PC wanted a way to get the kids safely from their bus stop to the daycare and would work with Hay to design some sort of sidewalk. He stated clearly that he did not want the liability on him. Weis said that right now they have some sort of escort through the parking lot. The developer agreed to work something out. The plan was approved 5:0 subject to Hay's letter and the fine tuning of the driveway.

ORDINANCE 291 TEMPORARY RETAIL SALES/UPDATE FEE SCHEDULE was passed 5:0. Kline explained that this ordinance defines temporary retail sales as sales in locations that are not part of an approved, permanent, ongoing retail establishment. This ordinance will allow the Board to establish permit fees by resolution that are different from the peddlers, door to door, permit fees. The probable fees mentioned were $200/mth with a 30 day maximum or $50/wk. There was discussion about these suggested fees and they will be decided at the next meeting. These transient (tent) sellers are also subject to the Mercantile Tax. The ordinance was approved in a 5:0 vote.

Another 5:0 vote was cast to AUTHORIZE PURCHASE OF PRESSURE SEALER MAILER FOR UTILITY BILLING. Kichline said that this PFMC machine will save time/costs when stuffing envelopes for the quarterly sewer/utility billings as the machine will fold and seal the mailings. Nicholas asked if it would take care of all of the billings (with other sized envelopes) and Kichline said that it will do all of them and that it can be used for the EIT mailings too. The expense will come 1/2 from the Garbage Fund and 1/2 from the Sewer Fund. Holmgaard asked Kichline to renegotiate the warranty term to 180 days. It passed with a 5:0 vote.

The agenda item, AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE FOR POLICE OFFICER EXAM, was explained by Holmgaard as needed in order to replenish the applicant pool. They did it last year and have now run out of candidates. Dorney said that the purpose of the exam is to establish a list of candidates. The test includes written, oral, agility, and background components. It can take up to three months to complete. Authorization was granted in a 5:0 vote.

Kline said that all was in order for MODERN CONCRETE - DEVELOPERS AGREEMENTS and they were accepted in a 5:0 vote.

The CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW (JUNE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS IN PACKET, TO BE REVIEWED AUGUST 4th) did prompt a few questions. Nicholas noted that 82% of the parks fuel budget and 87% of the utilities for the wresting building have been used. Kichline said this is the first full year that the wrestling building has been in the budget and that she would meet with her (or use email) to go over her questions. NIcholas also asked about the sign machine that is budgeted for her department. Kichline said that she is waiting for a Public Works Director before making that expenditure.

An EXECUTIVE SESSION was called to discuss the PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR agenda item. A vote was taken after the session to hire Gary Sandt at a salary of $56K (and a ninety day probationary period). It passed 4:0 with one abstention, Supervisor Hoff. No reason was given for the abstention. 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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