Saturday, August 20, 2005

BoS Meeting 8/18/05

This relatively brief meeting was covered by Sarah Mausolf (Express Times 8/19/05) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call 8/19/05). Both reporters covered the agenda item referring to a Septic Management System and noted how it was prompted by the recent Kings Mill Development proposal(s) presented to the Planning Commission on 8/11/05. (Aside - The PC voted to deny a recommendation to the Board. Over 300 Township residents and representatives from our neighboring communities, Easton, Stockertown, and Lower Mount Bethel Township attended that meeting.)


  • Supervisor David Hoff said that he had the Fire Report for July.
  • Supervisor Don Miller stated that he is ready to put out the bids for the outside storage building project. The VoTech is involved in some of this project.
  • Chairman John Ackerman said that he had the Public Works Report.
  • Engineer Fred Hay announced that work has begun on Frost Hollow Swale. He also reported that there are no PennDot standards to deal with the parking on Hill Road. He said that parking can be restricted to one side of the street but not both (because of the width of the cartway.) Supervisor Nicholas said that in the winter the snow plows cannot get up the road. She further said that school bus drivers are concerned about going down the road. Hay reminded the Board that back when the School District came before the Board they said that school buses would not be on Hill Road. Nicholas said that they are using it because there is a bus stop at the top. Hay said that if plowing is the problem, he recommends a Snow Emergency Route and if it's parking at the bottom that is the problem he recommends prohibiting parking on the uphill side. Township Manager Cathy Kichline asked if it was a home occupation ("yes") and said that home occupation parking must park onsite. Nicholas said that during the day in addition to employee parking, huge trucks are parked there. Zoning Officer Tim Weis will look into the number of employees (parking there.) DPW Director Gary Sandt will look into the snow emergency criteria. Ackerman asked that this be put on the next meeting's agenda.


Hoff said that he received a letter from the Career Institute of Technology stating that they are looking for more projects (they are involved in the outside storage building behind the Community Center). Kichline suggested that a copy of the letter be put in Weis' office so that he can give it to developers and builders who may have a building lot for them to use. She said that Omega Homes was in recently and they have offered a lot.


Pete Rossi (Zoning Hearing Board) signed the list to speak but gave up his slot to Gretchen Gerstel. Ms. Gerstel asked how parking can be restricted on Arndt Road, a public street? She was told by Weis that that was a separate ordinance passed by the Board. Solicitor Karl Kline explained that this was done because of trespassing to get to the school fields and that if there was parking on both sides of the street there was a concern about getting fire vehicles through to the school. Gerstel said that on her narrow road, people park on both sides and that the garbage trucks cannot get through. She suggested there be an ordinance that protects the narrow streets (by restricting parking to one side). Ackerman suggested that anyone who lives on one of the Township's narrow streets should pass that information on to Chief Dorney. Gerstel said that she has reported this numerous times to the police and if she ever needs an ambulance and it cannot get to her house, she will sue the Township. Ackerman told Dorney to look at parking on all narrow streets. Dorney said that he'd get back to him in 2007 because that's how long it will take. Ackerman said that in that case, they will just take it complaint by complaint.


The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX was once again detailed and informative. We learned that CenterPoint Tank was in on Monday morning and by Tuesday afternoon they had completed the excavation for the new fuel tanks. By the end of the day on Wednesday, the site was backfilled and the tanks were filled. Ackerman asked when they can be used and Gale replied when the certifications (and subsequent certificate of occupancy) are issued. Gale also said that there are a few open items in the Police Station and that they will be done by accreditation time. He said that the "sprinkler contract" may go into default (will know by the end of the day Friday). He said that there is now a water tight roof (Municipal Building) and that Met-Ed can now turn on the permanent power. Gale reported too, that the glass contractor has one day of work left to do but seems to have "gone fishing." The "fine cleaning" will start Monday (and be done by Township personnel) and take approximately 1-1/2 weeks. Frick will move the generator next week. Also, Gale said that the quote for the fire and security system upgrade for the Community Center appears to be $58K higher than expected due to the "prevailing wage" restriction. He is going to look over the quote and present it at the next meeting (and he hopes they are all sitting.) He said that he met with the senior project manager and a principal of Schoor DiPalma and that the extra $18.4K for the CVS/Giant connection will be paid to the Township (by Schoor DiPalma.)

The COMPENSATORY TIME POLICY issue for employees was explained by Kichline. The collective bargaining agreement allows up to 3 hours of comp time in any one pay period but it does not address how much employees can accumulate. The employee manual allows comp time instead of overtime pay if the time off is taken within 30 days of being earned. Kichline asked the Board how much comp time should be allowed to accumulate? Sandt said that he questioned how it's used (in time). Kline said that they must get prior approval (according to the manual) and that it can be denied. Hoff said that it (comp time) was designed for times when the guys had to stay over to snow plow; they could use it as time off. He said that the point of the policy was not to give comp time to someone working through their lunch. Ackerman said that it sounds like it is defined and that it should be enforced as it is written.


Kline said that everything is in order to accept the PENN'S RIDGE, PHASES 9 & 11/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS. David Howell (Zoning Hearing Board) said that he visits the development regularly and that he's noticed that there are lots of kids. He asked the developer's representative if there were any plans in the future phases to dedicate open land to recreation. The rep. said that they have parking lots. Howell noted that the roads are narrow and parked up with pickup trucks and that the basketball hoops face the streets. He hoped that they would put in a basketball court, a pavilion, seating, or some place for families. Ackerman said that this should be addressed at the Planning Commission when the plans are discussed and that this project is done. The representative said that she will mention it to Mr. Hornstein. The motion to accept the Developer's Agreements was passed 4:0 (Supervisor Holmgaard was absent.)

Kline said that the developer for FORKS VILLAGE, PHASE 1/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS has requested to proceed under an Indemnification Agreement for Phase 1. This will allow them to start the infrastructure work but they will not be allowed to draw building permits until they provide security. Kline said that the Indemnification Agreement is signed as are the necessary sewer agreements and that the Township has the funds for the escrow account. The motion to accept passed 4:0.

Kichline said that a letter was received with REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL STREET LIGHTS (2 of them) at the intersection of Newlins Road and Upstream Farm Roads and the intersection of Newlins Road and Sullivan Trail. She said that she would like the opportunity for herself, Weis and Sandt to look at this and come back with a recommendation to the Board. Kichline said that it will be added to the next meeting's agenda.

- Nicholas said that she would like to be able to review tapes of Planning Commission meetings and she wondered if all of the meetings were taped. She feels that if she misses a PC meeting she may miss important comments. Ackerman confirmed with Kichline that the meetings are taped. Kline said that the meetings are taped so that the secretary for the meeting can check to be sure that the Meeting Minutes are accurate. He added that the tapes are reused once the Minutes are accepted. He also said that the tapes are not an official public document and that the official documents are the Minutes. He thought it fine that anyone who wants to listen to them before they are erased/reused be able to do so. Weis said that the tapes normally go home with the secretary (who does the minutes at home.) Kline added that if the public wants to hear them (even though they are not covered under the Right To Know Act), they should be able to at the Municipal Building (and not take them home.) Nicholas said that she was only concerned that they be available to anyone on the Board who wants to listen to them.

Kichline asked that the Board ACCEPT PROPOSAL FOR 7145 DIGITAL COPIER. She said it is in the 2005 Budget. The proposal is from Edwards Business Equipment for a Konica digital copier/laser printer. It will be used exclusively by the Utility Department and EIT to print out the bills. Nicholas asked how many other copiers we have and was told "one." The lease for that machine is almost up according to Kichline. Nicholas said that when its contract comes up, the Board should be told the copy statistics. Passed 4:0.

- Nicholas reported that at the Sewer Authority's meeting Supervisor Holmgaard brought up "Onsite System Management." She said that there are over 500 onsite systems in Forks. This program is used by some municipalities to educate residents on how to maintain their onsite systems. She said that because we may have building in the Farmland Preservation District the Sewer Authority thought that it would be a good program to adopt. Kichline said that the Township knows which properties have onsite septic systems. Nicholas noted that the program's goal is to insure that individual systems in the community work properly and do not threaten public health, local water resources, or the environment. The program guidelines provide that existing systems' performance be assessed and problems corrected. Ackerman commented that taxpayers spent a lot of money getting rid of the Sewer Authority and that this should come from the Board. Hoff said that the Sewer Authority has not been fully disbanded because of a payment obligation to Tatamy Borough and that it is not an operating authority. Hay said that the education part is very good. Further, he stated that if there are system malfunctions and the people who own the home don't let him know about it, the neighbors do. Ackerman said that the education part is great but that he thinks it should come from the Board.

Nicholas then read a letter from the Sewer Authority restating their recommendation of January 17, 2005 that the sanitary sewer NOT be extended north of Newlins Road. Included was this section from the Township Zoning Ordinance:

A. Farmland Protection
1. Intent of the District -

Traditionally, farming practices and residential uses have been incompatible because of conflict with traffic, noise and odor. The FP district is intended to be the Agricultural Security District within the Township, discourage residential consumption of prime agricultural land. Given the housing projections until the year 2010, the area within the FP district is not needed to meet the projected housing needs of the Township. Further, this district will remain with little development incentives since it is not intended to be served by public sewers. In addition, the FP district is intended to encourage and enhance the preservation of the cultural landscape within the Township and to act as a primary open space link within the residential and employment centers in the community.

The EXECUTIVE SESSION agenda item was to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken and 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.

No comments: