Thursday, June 30, 2005

NOAA's FLOOD - Mtg 6/30/05 - Martins Creek

Tonight at 7:00 PM in the former Centerfield School in Martins Creek, the Northampton County Long-Term Recovery Committee is hosting a presentation by the National Weather Service on the cause(s) of the April 2005 Delaware River flooding. The National Weather Service did a similar presentation last night in Portland, PA. This meeting is open to the public and all who want to know more about this flooding "perfect storm" should make every effort to attend. Although many of you heard the talk that Lafayette's Prof. Roger Ruggles gave at our May 2005 F.A.C. meeting about the flooding (and will be very familiar with much of what will be presented tonight), you may want to hear the "official" word(s).

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Say it ain't so, Joe"

Today's Morning Call had THIS article by Joe Nixon, mostly quoting from the developer (Zawarski & Signature Homes) duo's attorney, Dennis Benner. He makes it pretty clear that if the Township will not acquiesce to their zoning overlay request (800 plus dwelling units on 400 acres), then they are prepared to build 162 homes (on the same acreage) on two acre lots. Benner says that this will be worse for the Township because it would get less money in developer fees and there would be no municipal garage and no improved park land.

Let's count cars. Eight hundred new units = 1600 more cars on the roadways (at a minimum) and 162 units = 324 more cars (minimum again). He must have scared our own Don Miller as Miller is cited as saying that IF the septic systems fail the Township, at its own (read OUR) expense, will have to bring the sewer line up there. It's difficult to buy into that on the surface though, since Mr. Miller's recreation department would stand to benefit greatly from the largesse of the new recreation fees. So, who's kidding whom?

According to Nixon the developer has requested it to be placed on the Planning Commissions' July 14th agenda.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD CLOSE YOUR EYES

Yupper, those poor folks living near Bushkill Park in Forks Township thought they lived in a nice, out-of-the-way QUIET sort of place. They don't have the traffic woes that those living along major arteries have. A lovely place to nest and raise their families for sure. Hey, guess what people? Your nice "natural" environment is wanted by everyone else! Right. You've got it and THEY want it. Why should YOU be so lucky? Gee, you endure flooding and wildlife and the scary parts of isolation. YOU pay the taxes. THEY want a piece of it. It's so CROWDED in their neighborhoods you see. Their yards are too small for kids. Their roads are too busy for biking. They want YOUR backyards. And, by damned, they are gonna get it. So much for asking them to "do nothing" huh?

And, now, the new Township website has finally uploaded a MAP (caution LARGE file) of the current and proposed bike trails. HEADS UP EVERYONE! Now, the folks who endured two floods in six months are going to get hit upside their heads again. Yupper, you see you guys, you have lovely river frontage (when it's not under water) and you've worked hard to keep it "natural" and unspoiled. You protect it like you own it. Hey, your deeds say you do own it. Take a good close look at the file online. (Click here for a smaller crop from it.) Someone wants to get between you and the river. Guess the new folks in the nice big, squished together houses, don't have any place to play and need your yards. Hope they have lots and lots and lots of money to BUY the land they plan to use. Heck, with enough money you can move uphill and right next to them. Maybe Strausser is trading the Township the sewer line on 611 for the condemnation of your river frontage? Who knows? It's time to start "kicking and screaming" before it's too late. Anyone know who drew the lines on the map?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

BoS Meeting 6/16/05

This short meeting was covered by Joe Nixon (Morning Call 6/17/05) and Sarah Mausolf (Express Times 6/17/05). Both reported on different meeting highlights. We will try to fill in the blanks. Chairman John Ackerman was on vacation and Supervisor Don Miller led the meeting.

REPORTS: SUPERVISORS, MANAGER, ENGINEER & SOLICITOR
  • Supervisor David Hoff reported that the Fire Report for May is available for anyone's review
  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas reported that the Sewer Report is available. It details general maintenance and televising of some of the sewer line. She also reported that she met with Palmer Township officials to discuss the bike path (through Palmer and Forks) and that nothing was resolved.
  • Supervisor Henning Holmgaard reported that he has asked Police Chief Dorney to "bring us up to date" on the department's activity (number of calls, traffic accidents, etc.) this year versus last year. He will have it at the next meeting.
  • Supervisor Don Miller reported that he also met with Palmer Township officials regarding the bike path. He said too, that summer basketball starts this weekend at the Community Center.
  • Township Manager Cathy Kichline announced that a township resident, Virginia MaryAnn English is turning 100 years old on August 21st. The Board agreed to recognize her birthday with flowers or some other token. She also reported meeting with Kate Brandes, the new watershed specialist with the Northampton County Conservation District. Ms. Brandes has given her a list of a number of things that Forks Township can do in relationship to the Greenway Plan. Kichline said that she would like to talk about this at the Joint Meeting of the Board and the Planning Commission on the 28th.
  • Engineer Fred Hay reported that his office conducted traffic counts a week ago on the Old Mill Road/Sullivan Trail intersection and will submit them to PennDot. He also said that there was a "short circuit" in the Pheasant Ridge swale during last week's thunderstorm because of efforts had they made to accommodate a resident.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS):

Michael Goffredo did as he promised and appeared before the Board to give a status update on the SULLIVAN TRAIL BUSINESS PARK IMPROVEMENTS (see BoS Meeting 5/19/05). He said that Verizon showed up to start the pole relocation on Uhler Road, that the sanitary sewer inspection is set for Monday, and that PennDot has started the Sullivan Trail widening (from the south end of the site to the Uhler Road intersection). Penn Dot will be resurfacing Sullivan Trail all the way to the township line.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX - Among other things, Gale reported:

  • The basic landscaping has started on the eastern part of the site. The large trees will be planted in the late fall.
  • The extra/unused floor tiles for the Police Department were used by Pete Gheller to do the floor of the locker room. He did a great job.
  • The roofing contractor "is just about there" and will not be replaced.
  • All but two of the non-Victaulic sprinkler pipe fittings have been replaced. The last two are next.
  • Met-Ed may turn on the permanent power tomorrow.
  • CenterPoint Tank is coming in for a site visit tomorrow. There is 6-8 week lead time and the hole will not be dug until a few days before it's needed.

Gale asked if the existing generator (for the current Municipal Building) can be moved now (as part of the fire department move) because the fire department will be in trouble if it has an outage. He was told "yes" and that there are emergency lights in the Municipal Building and that the computer system has a battery backup. It will not be necessary to rent a generator for the building unless there is an emergency. He also said that he would like to begin the design of the new fire and security system for the Community Center. The existing one goes off on its own and is not "addressable" (there's no way to know what is burning). It will be integrated with the rest of the complex.

Nicholas asked about the additional employees' work spaces in the new complex. Kichline said that there's space for Pete Gheller in the Zoning area, the Financial Manager will have his/her own office (AP & AR will share a space), and the Director of Public Works will have an office in the garage.

Holmgaard said that a sample of the granite ("in memory of" or" gift from") markers for the trees is due soon. There will be 16 different species of trees and the list will be on the website. The markers will also feature the common and Latin names of the trees. There will be a downloadable form on the Township's website.

NEW BUSINESS

Kichline requested that ORDINANCE NO. 291/TEMPORARY RETAIL SALES/CONSIDER FOR ADOPTION agenda item be tabled. She said that she and Zoning Officer Tim Weis have questions and would like to go over them with Solicitor Kline. It was tabled 4:0.

PENN'S RIDGE, PHASES 9 & 11/FINAL APPROVAL - Hay reported that the swale will not belong to the Township, the easement will and that the Planning Commission recommended approval. Kline said that the PC recommended approval based on Hay's letter with no other conditions. Approved 4:0

RIVERVIEW ESTATES WEST PHASE II - Final Plan Approval - Hay reported that this is "clean" and recommended approval. Kline said that the Planning Commission recommended approval based on Hay's letter with no other conditions. Approved 4:0. Developer's Agreements - Kline prepared the indemnification and the sewer agreements so that the developer can begin the infrastructure work. No building permits will be issued without a letter of credit. The documents were approved 4:0.

TOWNES @ SULLIVAN I/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS - Kline said that the developer received Conditional Final Plan approval last year. The subdivision improvement, maintenance, and sewer agreements are now signed. The developer has a separate agreement with Mr. Nehoda (Pitchfork Nursery) for the new entrance (and improvements on Nehoda's property). PennDot missed the left turn lane on Zucksville Road when it approved the traffic light and that will be taken care of by the developer via a supplemental agreement. The letter of credit is for more than $3.1 million. Approved 4:0. - The RESOLUTION FOR A TRAFFIC LIGHT AT ZUCKSVILLE ROAD (needed by PennDot) was approved 4:0.

FORT JAMES II SUBDIVISION/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS - This is the Petrucci (sic) development in the industrial park area. Kline said that all is in order and the letter of credit is for $370,806. Approved 4:0.

JALAPENEAUX, INC. LAND DEVELOPMENT/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS - This is the Tioga Pipe site in the Fort James II subdivision. Kline stated that all is in order and that the letter of credit is for $300,024.65. Approved 4:0.

AUTHORIZE TO ADVERTISE FOR CONCRETE AND ROOF/COMMUNITY CENTER STORAGE - Miller explained that this was in the agreement with the vo-tech school last fall and it got too late so it didn't happen. Because of the increases in the costs of concrete etc., he'd like it put out to bid now so that there will be a firm price. Approved 4:0.

MID-YEAR BUDGET ADJUSTMENT - Nicholas asked Kichline if the budget adjustments included all the anticipated costs for the new building (cleaning services, utilities, etc.) and was told that the figures were adjusted for 2005 and that "we are right there" and should be okay. Hoff commented that most of the adjustments apply to personnel additions. Nicholas asked about the gas figure. Hoff replied that it was an oversight. Kichline clarified it as having to do with the old and new ways of attributing fuel costs among the departments and that is was underestimated for the Fire Department. Nicholas noted too that the insurance (figure) on the property increased. Kichline stated that the new figure includes the addition of three new buildings, the increased value of the pumping station, and the new park building. It was approved 4:0.

Tim Weis' $100 BID FOR 1991 USED POLICE VEHICLE was the winning one.

An EXECUTIVE SESSION was called by Kline to discuss a personnel issue. 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.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Residents spoke!

Thank you to all of the residents who attended the Zoning meeting regarding the proposed used car lot on Sullivan Trail. The use was denied, but a section of this residential area remains zoned for commercial use. I plan on attending the Supervisors meetings to let them know this needs to be changed, and I urge others, even those in other parts of town, to attend and question the "re-zoning" being done. Who comes up with the zoning changes? Do they consider the residents in a particular area? I am just beginning to learn about the local government here, so I have many questions. Thanks again to all who spoke up about this issue.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Field of Dreams

Many thanks to Jim Deegan in today's (6/12/05) Express Times for his timely article on the Route 33 & Freemansburg Road traffic nightmare. And, we think Forks' traffic woes are bad... My guess is that (so far anyway) the only things protecting Forks from this kind of development are that (1) the remaining land is in the FP zone and that (2) Forks has no major highway interchange. I wonder if any Forks officials attended the RenewLV forum last week? If they did, let's hope they tell us a what unified LV government might do for us.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A Gentle Reminder

Please read the Welcome to the F.A.C. blog post before contributing. It details our simple rules, which if violated will cause a post to be pulled. Thanks for joining us!

WHEN WILL THEY LISTEN.........

Kudos for this gentleman for his letter in the Express Times… He has it right!!!

With the room overflowing with people at the joint Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on May 24th you have to wonder if the vote was not predetermined. 90% of the attendees were totally against the proposed “mixed village center”. If the elected officials listened to the crowd’s reaction, they could tell that the majority was against this ridiculous plan. One of the supervisors stated that the crowd was 50/50. What meeting was he attending? Why do we allow Strausser to even present new projects when so many that are already approved are not even close to completion (for example, the country club, driving range, community center, etc.)? I am amazed that we still allow him to do anything in this township considering that Sal Panto stated at this meeting that the Vista Estates homes that are now selling for $269,000 were shacks. I guess you forget, Sal, that your pal built them!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

BoS Meeting 6/2/2005

June 2nd's Board of Supervisor's meeting agenda was augmented by much discussion from the floor. Joe Nixon (Morning Call 06/04/2005) described the meeting's main issues thoroughly. Please read it. We will add some of the other details here.

REPORTS: SUPERVISORS, MANAGER, ENGINEER & SOLICITOR


  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas reported that she, Chairman John Ackerman, and Township Manager Cathy Kichline have interviewed several candidates for the Director of Public Works position.
  • Supervisor Donald Miller reported that he and Kichline met with a representative from Met-Ed to discuss trimming the Townships' trees (on the Giant side) near their power line. The result of the meeting is that Met-Ed will trim one tree for inspection by the Board. If the work is agreeable to the Board, Met-Ed will trim the rest of the involved trees.
  • Ackerman announced that there is a public forum at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Allentown on 6/8/05. He said that it was mostly for public officials to talk about building and things in general in the Lehigh Valley. He has a number to call for reservations if anyone is interested. (Read about this forum to explore unifying Lehigh Valley government in the Express Times 5/29/05 and the Morning Call 6/5/2005.)
  • Kichline said that the schedule of road closings for Easton Suburban Water's (water main improvements) project will be on the Township website tomorrow (6/3/05). She also reported that she met with the flood victims (Route 611) and resolved some of their immediate concerns. She said that a representative from the Northampton County Congregation of Lutheran Churches (providing volunteer help) was there also. They will meet again in a few weeks when they expect to have answers to more of their questions, specifically about "releases." Kichline also noted that the house along Sullivan Trail that is to be razed will come down next week.
  • Police Chief Dorney related that the Childsafe Program was a success and that 80 gunlocks were given out to Forks residents who attended. The department has more available for any resident who wants one. Dorney also reported that he, Kichline, Engineer Fred Hay, and Zoning Officer Tim Weis met with a PennDot representative to look into the lag time issue with the traffic light at Old Mill Road & Sullivan Trail (cited by EAHS student, Melissa Heisel BoS Meeting 4/21/05). He said they used a computer model to demonstrate the flow of traffic with and without the lag time. PennDot was previously provided with a copy of the Township's 2003 Traffic Study. The conclusion after looking at the computer model is that it's a balancing act between a safety issue and added congestion. A new traffic study is needed since the 2003 data is vastly different than what's on the roadways today. Hay's office will conduct a new study of that intersection. The new data will be re-modeled and the intersection will be re-evaluated. Dorney also said that he and Weis looked at Hill Road as well as the regulations from PennDot. He suggests the Hay get involved before any decision is made.
  • Hay reported the Frost Hollow Swale contract is ready to be advertised. The bid opening will be 7/5/05 at 5:00 PM. Kichline noted that they (she and Hay) will meet with the affected property owners after the bid is awarded so that they are aware of what will be going on.
  • Solicitor Kline reported that he received a call from representatives of Palmer Township requesting a meeting with Township officials to discuss the recreation path and the railroad bed. Staff and 2 Supervisors (Nicholas and another) will meet with them on 6/9/05 at 2:30 PM.

The DEBITS/TRANSFERS part of the meeting began with a discussion of whether or not the DEBT figure (now printed on every meeting's agenda) should include the interest owed as well as the principal. Supervisor Hoff suggested using the State "standard" which only includes actual debt. He said that if anyone wants to see what the interest figure is for each loan, that it is part of the annual review by the Township's auditors. Ackerman asked if could be listed separately (on the Agenda). Hoff posited that if the Township came into additional money and paid off its debt, it would owe only the principal and not 15 years of interest. Supervisor Holmgaard remarked that some of the interest rates are floating and the figure would have to be continually recalculated. Nicholas asked if the figure shown included the "sewer" and was told "no" by Hoff. Kichline added that she provided the Board with the debt statements from the 2003 audit (they have not yet received the 2004 audit) and the EAJSA installment payments are considered "operating costs" and not "debt" according to the State standards so they are not in the total.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS):

  1. Sue Kocsis said that she was speaking for the majority of the people in the room and that they are opposed to changing the zoning map from Country Residential to Commercial for the Strausser Village Center and that this is not the location for commercial ventures. She suggested that it would be a great idea for Gary Strausser to donate his 25 acres to the Township for open space.
  2. Scott Gingold spoke on the topic of the DEBT. He stated that he was the one at the last meeting who asked about the interest and was told that interest was factored in. He stated that at the end of the day the taxpayers will be paying the $13-1/2 million figure (includes the interest for the life of the loans). He questioned the decision to hire a financial manager (from the previous meeting) when the Township has this much debt. He asked how we could have this much debt with this much growth and this many new homes. He said that it is fiscally irresponsible to spend any more money until we take care of the debt, outside of essential services (police, fire department, etc.) that is. He advised the Board to think about that because we are "drowning in debt."

The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX began with a review of the project financial report. Hoff asked, "Are we under budget and on target?" "Yes" was the answer. Nicholas questioned the figure for Schoor diPalma and was told that the old figure was for the base contract and that the new figure of $549K represents the addition of the "reimbursables" that was in a clause in the contract. Nicholas also questioned the 3 Corian window sills in the Police Department on the list at $1100. Gale said he questioned that item too but the price is the correct one for sills that measure approximately 24" X 38". In his list of work-in-progress Gale noted that the metal roof is destroying radio communication within the Police Department building. The Fire Department will have the same problem. The hoped for solution will be to add antennas and/or speakers in the hallways. Nicholas questioned whether the architects knew about this (when designing the buildings). Gale stated that it never came up in any of the architects meetings. Gale also reported that the roofing contractor does not fully man the job. He is on his third notice and may get replaced next week. Nicholas asked if the Municipal Building was still on schedule for the last week of September (move in date.)

Ackerman began the discussion of FEES: DEVELOPERS' FEES/TEMPORARY SALES by stating that they had not been raised in quite some time. He recommended that residential Recreation Fees go to $1800 and that the residential Offsite Capital Improvement Fees be raised to $2050. Nicholas asked Kline if this was in accordance with Article 5-A. Kline said "no." He explained that these are fees that represent to the developers "the cost of doing business" and that the developers have been paying for quite some time. Nicholas said that she was under the assumption that the Township could get more under Article 5-A. Kline said that the State changed the rules at the last minute and made it unworkable but that the Township enacted the Impact Fee Ordinance. He said that the Township collected a considerable amount of money under that Ordinance but ultimately repealed it and gave the money back. The Township enacted its own Capital Improvement Fee.

Jim Wideman (PC) asked how the Township established the small ($300) fee increases. He noted that the Township has a golden opportunity to bring the debt down and to improve the infrastructure with new projects. Resident Gingold said that our schools are overcrowded and that the last thing we need is one more house in our town. He remarked that for the "big boy developers" this is "tip money." Gingold noted that states all around us are doing everything they can to buy back open space and that we are running out of it. Ackerman said that the fees get paid by the homeowners. Gingold said to make the price of admission more in line with places like Chevy Chase, MD or Greenwich, CT where one decides if one can afford to live there. He said that the future homeowners do not live here yet. Wideman noted that the LV Planning website shows the population projections for the next 20 years and that our population is projected to increase to close to 20,000. He said that this is our opportunity to retire our debt and fix our infrastructure. Hoff said that they've done a lot with the money collected.

David Howell (ZHB) suggested that everyone look in the Morning Call archives (1997) and read why the Township repealed the Impact Fee (to encourage development.) Howell said that the articles gave $1600 as an example of fees charged in 1997, and that the proposed fee increases are hardly an increase at all. Howell also asked how the Township accounts for fees and for the capital improvements. Hoff stated that it's been used to purchase land (probably 150 acres) and took it (the land) out of development, thus indirectly providing capital improvements. He stated that five years ago, they set aside 30% of the fee to go for fire protection. He further stated that much of the money is being used to help put in the new Municipal Complex. Howell asked if citizens can see an accounting of the fees and their use on the Township website. Kichline said that the funds are listed on the financial statements and that citizens can come to the Municipal Building front desk and ask for the report since it's a public record.

Nicholas said that she would like to look into the fees a bit more. She asked if the fees had to be held for a certain amount of time or if they can be raised whenever the Township wants to raise them. Kline said that they can be raised whenever they want to do that. Nicholas remarked that NOW she is seriously thinking that the Township needs a Financial Manager. There was more discussion with audience members asking why not making the fees dramatically higher. Kline explained that the courts won't let Townships raise the fees to prohibit building. It was suggested that the fees be raised to $2500 each. Another resident suggested that surrounding Townships fees be compared to ours and was told that they had done that and that ours were possibly higher. The increases were approved with a 5:0 vote. They will be in effect in five days.

Fees for temporary sales (tents for example) were discussed next. Kline said that the Zoning Ordinance will need a provision for transient retail business and fees. The fees would then be established by Resolution. That takes time. He said that Chapter 133 in the Township Code deals with peddling and soliciting and fees that can be established by Resolution. Kline suggested in view of speed, to make an addendum to the Township Code that makes the definition really clear. Weis said that other Townships charge as much as a $100 a day and that the vendors pay it. Sal Panto suggested that the Township put in a section that limits non-profits to using their own locale. He pointed out that it will prevent vendors from getting a local non-profit to front for them. The Board voted to have Kline prepare the document and the Resolution to raise the fees to $100/day.

The CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW was postponed until the next meeting. Kichline explained that she will be meeting with Hoff next week and that she will have it for the next meeting. She also suggested that she present it to the Board for the first meeting of the month but not put it on the agenda until the second meeting. This will give the Board two weeks to look over it.

Sal Panto gave a short summary of the STRAUSSER VILLAGE CENTER CONCEPT by stating that there were many endorsements for the plan. Holmgaard stated that he has a serious problem with the road (Winchester Drive) going through the middle of the project. Panto wondered if they could move the Village Green to behind the storefronts. Miller said that the PC was divided 50:50 and the Township's planner was in favor of it and that school taxes are killing the residents of Forks. Ackerman noted that the concept has more density than if it's not implemented. Ackerman asked if Winchester Drive could be moved. Panto replied that it's already being paved and has a 12" water main under the road. Ackerman stated his concern for the stores not making it and becoming empty space. Panto asserted that all of Straussers' commercial spaces have 100% occupancy. Nicholas stated that she had a figure from a long time ago that said that for every $1 a house brings in, the Township puts out $1.37. She said that this project would be great in the Town Center. She also noted that there are no driveways (permitted) on Winchester Drive and with this project, people would be walking across it. Panto replied that there is a bikepath that crosses Winchester. Hoff said that he has no problem with the concept but is concerned with problems faced in the past with Strausser.

Audience comments: Gretchen Gerstel noted that the people who paid money for the new houses were not told of the commercial development plans. Panto said that it's been on their website since day one. A new resident said that she wasn't informed. Panto said that she must have bought her home from Segal & Morel. Michael Kuenne said that the plan was on the board when he bought his home on Hollow View Drive. He said that he could have had 100 people there but that the agenda wasn't published soon enough. He stated that he is disturbed by the "open hostility" of many of the older residents towards the people who have moved in. He said that the new residents want to work with the older residents. Jim Wideman noted that according to Section 303 of the Municipal Planning Code zoning ordinance changes must go to the Planning Commission. Holmgaard said that it is before the Board because the Planning Commission's vote was a tie. Panto explained that they were just asking whether the project should go to the next step which will be to make a formal request before the Planning Commission for a zoning change. Nicholas stated, "If we make a zoning change here, we are opening the floodgates for everybody else."

Kline then gave background stating that a proposed draft was submitted on March 4, 2005. He further explained that this project is within the discretion of the Board. It went to the PC first and their tie vote forced it on to the Board as no formal action was taken one way or the other by the PC. If the Board decides to review this further, the developer will need to submit revised sketch plans. He suggests that the Board then give it to their planner to come up with appropriate development on that site. He said that there will have to an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow this. Next would be another public hearing and then the Ordinance would go to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission to be voted on. Lastly, the developer has to submit a plan that complies with the amended ordinance.

The Board was polled with Holmgaard, Hoff, & Miller voting YES. Ackerman and Nicholas voted NO. Panto offered to work with the Township's planner. Kline said that "once you've got the ordinance, then any developer in any area that this applies to, will try to max it out." He cautioned that the Board "make sure that the Ordinance doesn't have provisions that will allow them to max it out in a way that is contrary to the Township's wishes."

Terry McClain (sic) stated that she wants the Board to be aware if this project goes to planning that she has been to 3 meetings to discuss a drainage issue with Riverview behind her property. She is concerned that there will be future damage to her property from the way things are being developed. Ackerman said that he, Weis and Hay are going to come out there. In fact, Hay said he was there twice. McClain said that he didn't knock on the door to let her know he was there. She said that she talks to her new neighbors and that some of them offered to come to the meeting with her.

Holmgaard said that the LANDSCAPING FOR THE FORKS MUNICIPAL COMPLEX includes the idea to sell memorial markers/plaques that include the common name and the Latin name of the trees. There are 100 major trees planned. Nicholas asked the price range. Gale said they are looking for a contribution of around $300. Gale noted too that if the tree list is acceptable, he must begin reserving them for Fall planting. This was approved in a 5:0 vote.

BEN JON ROAD PAVING is being 1/2 (one side) done by Omega Development. Hay suggests that the Township contract with the same company to do the Township's side of the road at the same time. This is permitted (no bids) if the developer contracts to pay the whole thing and the Township reimburses him for its half. Ben Jon Road will go through to the other side and Knollwood has paid fees to NOT build the road. Nicholas questioned the additions on the bottom of the page and Hay explained that they are typical contract details, "normal boilerplate." Scott Gingold suggested that the Township ASK the developer to donate the paving. Weis said that they did the repair work for the Township once just by asking. Kichline said that she will ask. The motion was carried 5:0 (just in case the developer won't donate it.)

FINALIZE CCTV SYSTEM IN THE FIRE AND MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS - Holmgaard said that it will take an extra $40K to finish the project and that it's possible that there are grants available from the Department of Homeland Security. Nicholas asked if the insurance will go down with all the extra security. Kichline said she would check. Gale said that the existing contractor should be used to finish the job. The vote was 5:0 to finish the project.

AUTHORIZATION TO HIRE FULL TIME POLICE OFFICER - Chief Dorney explained that there was a vacancy created when Officer Terre Feinberg resigned. He said he contacted former part-time officers and selected Officer Trevor Baruda (sic) for submission to the Board. He brings to the department full blown certification with truck inspections and truck weights and measures. The vote to hire was 5:0. He starts Monday.

AUTHORIZATION TO PURCHASE 2005 DODGE DAKOTA FOR PARKS - The low bid was $18964. The Board voted 5:0 to purchase the new truck. Ed's old truck will go to the Recreation Department. Recreation is paying for 1/2 of the cost.

AUTHORIZATION TO HIRE FULL TIME PARKS LABORER - Kichline stated that the Parks budget included this full time position. Nick Horton, currently part-time, has finished school and will be full time on Monday. The vote to hire was 5:0.

An EXECUTIVE SESSION was called by Kline who wished to discuss potential litigation. 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.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Proposed Car Sales Lot

Residents of 1206 Sullivan Trail are proposing an "automotive sales business" on their property. This is a residential area that is already suffering from the over-development in Forks Township. Residents walking along this stretch of Sullivan Trail are frequently run off the road by speeding cars, and making a turn from a side road is quite risky. My gardening now involves picking up litter from the edge of Sullivan Trail, which borders my home. Permitting a business in this area will only attract more cars that the road and neighborhood cannot handle.

In addition to the dangerous traffic situation, surrounding property values will be affected by the appearance of a used car lot in the midst of a residential area. If this use is permitted, it will only pave the way for more exceptions and more problems.

The opportunity to oppose this request will be on Monday, June 13th at 7:30pm. Please attend and help us voice our objection to this proposal. We are new at this, and can use the support from more experienced residents.