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.)

REPORTS: SUPERVISORS, MANAGER, ENGINEER & SOLICITOR

  • 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.

CORRESPONDENCE

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.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS)

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.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

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.

NEW BUSINESS

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.

PLANNING COMMISSION TAPE REVIEW
- 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.

RECOMMEND SEWER AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT A SEPTIC SYSTEM MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- 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.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

"If you build it, they will come." (ref. to sewers) Karl Kline, Forks Solicitor, 8/11/05


Eric Chuss, Dean Turner, John Castrovinci, Jim Wideman, & Les Ottenwalder... They are our courageous PC members, the ones who bucked the trend and didn't fall for the developer dangled money and other "tokens." On August 11, 2005, they said "NO" to the KINGS' high density proposal. They deserve our gratitude and our thanks!

  1. Eric Chuss clearly stated that the problem in the township is not "sprawl" but HIGH DENSITY. He said that "we should not even be considering this" (plan). He said that there is already too much pressure on the Township's resources and taxes and that the intent of the districts (in the Comprehensive Plan) is not being met. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
  2. Dean Turner added that the development areas that Benner used, when counting children per house should have more appropriately been Vista Estates, Frost Hollow Knolls, and Pheasant Ridge. Turner also said that the money involved in the increased sewer and water capacity needed to be considered since this would likely put the Township "over the limit." He told Benner that although he had seen the plan at one of the private viewings, other Planners had not. He said that there were NO PLANS in their meeting packets and that Benner did not "present" the sketch plan as it would normally be done (where the roads are, location of detention ponds, etc.) And, he disagreed with Benner's assertion that "open space has to be usable" and cited Natural Bridge, VA, the Grand Canyon, and places like that as examples. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
  3. John Castrovinci questioned the school age child per household figure (.75 kids per house) and that the $2 million dollar figure that Benner waved is really $1.9 million and will not be realized until the entire development is built out. He said too that school district data does not agree with what Benner stated. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
  4. Jim Wideman questioned the appropriateness of an Overlay Zone and suggested that rezoning the entire district would be the legal way to go. He said that anyone could build less than the zoning allows and would get no objection from the PC. Benner said that that is another way to achieve the developer's goals. Benner said that he guesses "there's a difference of opinion as to what high density is."
  5. Vito Tamborrino asked about the source of the numbers used in the school age children analysis. Benner said that the developer did his own research. Tamborrino said that "if he took them from the newspaper... you know how accurate they are." (GASP, GASP, GROAN) He intoned, "Be careful what you wish for. You may get it." He asked that there be some sort of compromise between the two plans. He asked that the open space be kept to Richmond Road and that the houses go behind the open space. - Turner "respectfully disagreed" and stated that if water and sewer goes into that area, the rest of the township will have that kind of density (the 800 house plan).
  6. Les Ottenwalder said that he does not want to see water and sewer north of Newlins Rd. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE.)

Chuss noted that TRAFFIC was not addressed and that 800+ houses... (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE) Tamborrino asked Benner if the developer was open to compromise? Benner said that they are.

THEN... THEN... THEN... Tamborrino asked Solicitor Kline if it would be okay to forego the comments from the public and ask the Planners for a vote (instead of staying another two hours.) Kline suggested that fundamental rules of fair play be followed and he recommended that Tamborinno allow the people to be heard.

Join me in thanking our brave Planners - Chuss, Turner, Castrovinci, Wideman, and Ottenwalder. It was an exceptional Township meeting. Our Planning Commissioners are NOT elected officials. They are appointed by the Supervisors. They work hard and they deserve our gratitude. KUDOS! And THANK YOU!

Four of our five Supervisors were in the audience and they clearly saw and heard that the public and the Planners are against this high density project. If you can't be at the next meeting, and it's on the agenda, please let them know how you feel. Their contact information can be found at www.forkstownship.org.

Remember it's not over until the Board of Supervisors declares it over! It will be on their agenda soon, maybe even next week.

Friday, August 12, 2005

You Came. You Saw. You Spoke! - PC Mtg 8/11/05

For those who thought that their opinions didn't count, their faith was restored last night as right won over wrong and appointed officials did the right thing. More residents and friends of Forks Township attended the August 11, 2005 Planning Commission Meeting than (we are guessing) were ever at the previous record holder,Vista Estates vs. Strausser (Board of Supervisors meeting)! We didn't count heads but it looked like 300+ people to us (as well as to the Morning Call and the Express Times since that's the number they reported too). Forks friends and neighbors are to be commended for coming out on a hot Thursday August night and speaking their minds, and speak they did. Attorney Dennis Benner represented the developer, Kings Mill Development Co., LLC (Zawarski and J.T. Maloney) and presented both options for the two large parcels in the Farmland Preservation district. He even provided a form (on the speakers' stand) for anyone who wanted to stop development (by giving up their land or their development rights) to sign. When asked by an audience member if the developer would sign it, he flatly said, "No."

Both newspapers, the Express Times (Sarah Mausolf) and the Morning Call (Joe Nixon) were there as was Channel 69. In anticipation of a large turnout, Township officials made space available in the Community Center for the meeting and arranged to have Township workers in the parking lot to make sure that there was parking for everyone. Four of our five Supervisors were there (Nicholas was out of town on a long planned family vacation and couldn't make it). A Stockertown Borough Council member came as did two Supervisors from Lower Mount Bethel Township. Both municipalities' representatives made impassioned pleas against the 800 homes. There were also two prominent, well known, and well respected speakers from Easton. They all reminded us that Forks density choices affect not just us, but neighboring municipalities as well. C. David Howell summed it up when he said to the PC and the audience, "The devil is in the density."

Our Planning Commission is to be commended too. They discussed the project(s) with sanity and clarity. They respected the audience and it seemed that they were buoyed a bit by the shear number of people who cared enough to attend one of their meetings. In the end, the vote was 5:1 to NOT recommend the high density plan to the Board of Supervisors. Chairman Tamborrino was the single "nay" vote. He had hoped that there could be a compromise project worked out, that is one with less density than the one that would require Overlay Zoning, and more density than our current Zoning Ordinance allows. That didn't happen. The audience didn't like it and let him know it, resoundingly.

The upshot of this is that only half of what almost everyone who attended wanted was accomplished. Benner has promised to follow the "process" and take it to the Board of Supervisors. We do not know when that will be but it could be as soon as next Thursday night's meeting. The Township website posts meeting agendas sometime after 2:30 PM on Tuesdays before a meeting. Up until that time, the agendas are subject to change. Plan to be there. If you cannot, please contact one of the Supervisors and let them know how you feel. Their phone numbers and addresses can be found at www.forkstownship.org.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

FYI - Going To The Planning Commission Meeting?

We have learned that the location for the 8/11/05 Planning Commission meeting has been changed to the Community Center to accommodate the crowds. We have also learned that police and other Township personnel will be there to help direct traffic. Areas will be roped off for particular parking. Overflow parking will be available behind the old Laneco and on certain grassy areas. Please cooperate with the traffic directors. Car-pooling with your neighbors will ease the congestion.

The meeting begins at 7:30 PM.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

BoS Meeting 8/4/2005

Both newspapers, the Morning Call (Jeff Christman) and the Express Times (Sarah Mausolf) reported on this meeting in their 8/5/05 editions. Once again, we will try to fill in the blanks.

REPORTS: SUPERVISORS, MANAGER, ENGINEER & SOLICITOR


  • Supervisor Henning Holmgaard said that he and Township Manager Cathy Kichline met, at the request of the Board, with school district officials to find out what the Forks Township Police Department's involvement with the schools will be going forward. The district is looking for an assistant security director and when that person is found, there will be a meeting between the school board president, the superintendent, the security director, the assistant security director and Forks representatives (Chief Dorney, Kichline and Holmgaard.)
  • Supervisor Don Miller made the Parks Department report available. Miller said that there was a nice picture/article in the Morning Call about the log cabin (near the Community Center) the other day. He had a copy for people to look at. He said that the oak roof is starting to curl and may have to be replaced with cedar.
  • Chairman John Ackerman noted that the Police Department had a Police Academy a short time ago and he received two enthusiastic letters from parents whose sons participated. Wendy Buchman's son was excited about the demonstrations, SWAT, and many other items and Anthony Salamo really appreciated it and is considering a career in criminal justice. Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas said that her son also attended and even though he complained about going, when he got there he really enjoyed it. Ackerman said that Charlie Dent stopped by the Academy (when he was in the Township for his press conference at the Community Center).
  • Ackerman said that the Board got a memo from Kichline on comp time and uniforms. He said that (DPW Director) Gary Sandt is working on the uniforms and will have a report on that for the next meeting. Kichline read part of the Comp Time section from the employee handbook and said that it was given orally to employees but never written. Ackerman asked that the Board get their comments to Kichline before the next meeting. He suggested that instead of a 2 hour minimum, it be changed to a half day. Kichline said that it should include a 24 hour request notice. Solicitor Kline read from the employee manual the part stating that employees must get prior approval before taking comp time. Nicholas asked Sandt if 24 hours is enough time for him for scheduling and he said that it was. This will be on next meeting's agenda.
  • Kichline reminded the Board that there will be a meeting on Thursday, August 11th at 5:00 PM in the meeting room with the Frost Hollow Swale residents and the contractor. She said too that the Community Center software is now installed and that they are working on the conversion of the utility bills. The Memorial Trees (photos and the form) are now on the website. Kichline also told of the I.C.E. campaign - enter ICE in mobile phones along with an emergency name and phone number. She said too that the meeting sponsored by US Representative Dent's office on Flooding Solutions was spearheaded by the Northampton County Long Term Recovery Committee. Nicholas asked about the sewer bills and the meter reading on the back side. She was concerned that homeowners would not know to turn the bills over. Kichline said that it applies to those with bypass meters and that the instructions indicate completing the back side. Ackerman asked why the Township had to pay Kelly (Temps) money when Irene was hired. Kichline explained that the money ($750) must be paid if one hires a temporary employee. The only way around that would be a 6 month layoff before hiring.
  • Chief Greg Dorney reported on the National Night Out (August 2nd) where Township residents were encouraged to come outdoors and associate with their friends and neighbors and meet the police who visited several of the communities in the Township. He gave the Board a packet with photos and a report and wants to expand the program next year. Dorney talked about the outpouring of positive comments that he received after the summer Academy. He asked Officer Rowden to do a presentation for the Board and the residents. Officer Rowden presented a PowerPoint slide show with photos. He said that this was the third year for the academy and that 10 kids were enrolled in year one, 15 in year two, and this year there were 40. He said that it was held in the wrestling pavilion and that each enrollee got a tee shirt (paid for with Dept. of Justice grant money), a Binney & Smith provided portfolio, dog tags and name tags. Several local businesses provided lunch and beverages for the program. In September the PD will do a program on "Safe Surfing of the Internet" (for adults.) The date is not yet set.
  • Zoning Officer Tim Weis said that he met with some residents of Frutchey Hill and he also met with residents along the river. More of them want to take advantage of the FEMA grant program to raise their homes. He stated that the "river will flood again."
  • Ackerman asked Dorney about the parking on Hill Road. Dorney said he is waiting to hear from Engineer Fred Hay's office about the engineering issues. Nicholas said that one of the residents (who drives a school bus on Hill Road) has complained to her that school is going to start soon and she is concerned about the big trucks parked at the bottom. She said that it's hard to maneuver the school bus down the hill and see around the parked trucks especially in the winter when it's slippery. The resident said all the neighbors are complaining about the parked trucks and will come to a meeting if necessary. The business in question deals with cleaning products. Ackerman said that they will continue to look at it.
  • Public Works Director Gary Sandt gave his department report to Ackerman. He said that things are going "okay" in his first few weeks on the job.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX began with the news from Gale that the schedule for completion of the fire station and the Municipal Building has been revised. It now looks like the 1st week of December is the target move-in time. Apparently many things are now going wrong. The "fin tubes" (for the fire house) vanished at the manufacturer's and it is thought that they went to a school project somewhere. They must be remanufactured. Nicholas asked Kichline to let the furniture supplier know about the date change.

Nicholas asked about the substitution of brick pavers for the fire station rotunda instead of stamped concrete. Gale said that because of the complexity of the pattern, no one would quote it. The total cost of the rotunda floor will now be $16.2K (up from $8.7K). Nicholas asked about the additional drainage and Gale told her that there is a potential sinkhole with the original plan and that there is a closed depression in the former tree area. Nicholas asked also about the concrete in the low flow pool at the CVS pond. Gale said that it was specified as an extra by the Township engineer and not in the original program. Kichline added that this was to be proactive for Heather Lane stormwater improvements. When Nicholas asked about the new phone switch, Gale said that the old one is on its "last thread of life" and that the new one will work throughout the complex. Ackerman asked if Kichline had met with Verizon and RCN. Kichline said that Verizon beat RCN and Gale noted that RCN did not want to respond to anyone except the Board. Gale added that Verizon will bring in fiber later at no charge.

The general project update included the news that the excess fill from behind the Community Center is being used where the trees were pulled out and that it (where the trees were) will be a nice area for tree planting. We learned too that there is an electrician shortage and that Frick will be relocating the generator in 1-1/2 weeks. The exterior aluminum (fire house) door people are not answering calls but Gale says that he will find them. And, some of the non-essential equipment will be moved to the new fire house sometime around the 19th. Fire Chief Tim Weis will coordinate that with Gale. The proposal for the upgraded security system at the Community Center and new park maintenance building will be available at the next meeting. He hopes that everyone will be sitting down when they see it.

Kline stated that the ORDINANCE NO. 291/TEMPORARY RETAIL SALES/CONSIDER FOR ADOPTION has been properly advertised. Zoning Board member C. David Howell asked if this ordinance will apply to signage for temporary retail sales. Kline replied that the Zoning Ordinance is being updated and will cover the signage and parking and traffic flow issues. Howell said that the current signage (for the hot tub sales tent in the old Laneco lot) is not on the property that the hot tub sales is leasing and that the sign far exceeds any plaque signage requirements in our zoning laws. He said it is the size of the side of a truck. Weis said that he noticed it and that it's on a truck and truck signs are not permitted. Weis said that he will speak with them and that they are only there for another week.

The UPDATE FEE SCHEDULE discussion became lengthy and very detailed. It was decided to raise fees for temporary sales to $400/month (or $100/week) instead of the $25/permit fee. The rest of the very long list of fees to be changed will be considered during the fall 2006 budget preparations.

NEW BUSINESS

Kline said of COUNTRYSIDE ESTATES: a) Phase 1/Deeds of Dedication - Destiny Lane & Stormwater Detention Area that under the original terms and conditions when this project was approved (under a different Board) the Township would take over the detention pond. Our engineer said that all work was complete. The resolution was carried 5:0. Regarding b) Phase 2/Final Major Subdivision Plan, our engineer said that this was discussed at the July 8th PC meeting and recommended for approval with conditions. The detention pond will stay with the property. It was carried 5:0.

Kline stated that the VILLAGE @ UPSTREAM FARMS, PHASE IV/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS have been signed by the developer. In addition, the developer has provided a letter of credit ($135,542.66), escrow funds, and a certificate of insurance. It was carried 5:0.

There was no discussion of the CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW. Kichline said that Nicholas emailed some questions to her late in the day and that she will have Sandy run a history report tomorrow and then will answer the Board via email.

KRONOS' PROPOSAL/WORKFORCE TIME KEEPER - Kichline said that she was asked at the Board's direction to look into a workforce timekeeping system that will tie into payroll, etc. She said that security people she spoke with recommended Kronos. She asks the Board to keep this in mind for the upcoming budget. She will contact Northampton County, where this software is in use, for the bid specs their purchasing department used. Nicholas asked if there would be one card or more than one card (per employee). Kichline said they are looking at a one card system. Nicholas added that her company uses this software.

There was no executive session 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.


Big Bang Theory

August 11th is just around the corner. It won't be an ordinary Thursday night in Forks. The KINGS are on tap to present BOTH of their proposals for 380 acres in Forks' northern tier. They appeared at the last Planning Commission meeting with their first PUBLIC proposal, the one for 162 single family homes on 2 acre lots. This proposal is totally compliant with the zoning for the Farmland Preservation district and, if it goes forward, will be (read MUST BE by law) approved. Proposal #2 is the one we've all heard about and not seen. It has never been before a public meeting, never been shown to the public, but has been shown individually to STAFF and to select Supervisors and select Planning Commission members... oh, and to the newspapers too. This plan calls for 800+/- homes in the FP district. It's based on receiving approval for an OVERLAY ZONE and bringing the sewer and water lines into the FP (prohibited now) district.

Way back I read about Overlay Zoning. Its conception and intent are noble - to help preserve and conserve land. Well, naturally over time, altruistic things like this are deconstructed and used in the opposite fashion. The mere thought of 800 new dwelling units in Forks Township makes me ill. There are NO ROADS to get these new buyers into or out of our Township. There is NO ROOM in the schools for their kids (even if only half of them have kids.) And, one day soon, there will be no money in your pockets to pay your real estate and school taxes which will surely go through the roof. You see, when the development boom ends (when all land is taken) the developers' dollars stop flowing to the Township coffers. Yup, there is an end in sight. Taxes will go up. Can't be helped. Up until now, the Township has used developer fees to help keep the taxes down... while spending megabucks on new employees and new equipment. I'm not saying the expenditures are not necessary, just that until now, we have not had to pay for them. We will. You won't like it. I won't like it.

We can thank BoS Chairman Ackerman for attending the PC meeting on July 14th when the public (162 homes) proposal was on the agenda. He wants the other one, so as a question from the floor, he asked what happened to it. PC Chairman Vito Tamborrino jumped on that bandwagon so quickly that residents in the audience may have thought they were joined at the hip. Vito immediately told the developer to come to the next meeting and bring both proposals. Gee, and for a moment there, it looked like the "secret" proposal would never make it to the light of day. Interesting. One can see very clearly which of our Township officials are pro-800 homes. It's more difficult to tell which are NOT pro-800. They are quieter. The FANS are boisterous and pushy.

Everyone should be aware that Forks image as a farming community is quickly fading. The new billboard will read: Welcome to Forks where there's NO ROOM FOR GOATS!