Sunday, May 21, 2006

BoS Meeting 5/18/06

The 5/18/06 Board of Supervisors agenda contained two big items - the zoning ordinance amendment to allow a grocery in the EC district and the ordinance making lock boxes mandatory for all business with a building size greater than 5000 square feet. Sarah Mausolf (Express Times) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call) were there. Please read their articles for more on both issues and for text from their meeting interviews. We will try to fill in the rest of the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report - Howell reported the Township’s cash outlays since the last BoS meeting.

Standing Committee Reports
  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas reported that the Police Department 5 year plan is still being worked on and that it is coming along really well. She also reported receiving correspondence about the Emergency Squad not paying their bill and asked Township Manager Cathy Kichline to get something on that for the next meeting.

Nicholas noted too that she saw a lot of dumping on Wagonwheel and Kesslersville Roads and that she’s seen a lot of (portable) basketball nets in the streets. Kichline responded that there is correspondence in the Board’s packets about it - particularly in the Penn’s Ridge development. Kichline said that the open space there belongs to the Township and suggested that it could be used for a basketball court for the kids. Nicholas said that the "portable basketball things" are all over Forks Township.

Police Chief Greg Dorney announced that they Police Department has just started its first week of the Memorial Day Click It Or Ticket program. He said that they are giving out a lot of citations and urged residents to please follow the PA traffic laws as they don’t really like giving out citations.

Dorney said too that they have begun taking registrations for the Summer Youth Academy. It will run from July 24-July 28 and is open to kids 11-15 years old are eligible. He asked that parents who want to enroll their children do it early as there is always good attendance for this program. Call the PD for registration forms.

Emergency Management Co-ordinator Tim Weis reported that he, Ron Asteak (Zoning Hearing Board), and Jim Wideman (Planning Commission) attended an Emergency Management seminar at Lafayette College. The focus of the seminar was on how local responders should respond in the event of natural disaster. He added that there were speakers from FEMA and from the Department Of Defense and that it was very informative.

Weis also said that the Towsnhip received the LVPC Hazard Mitigation Program today and that he hopes the Board will review it and consider it for adoption soon.

  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman reported that they meet with Engineer Fred Hay this past Tuesday to go over road conditions and projects that will be done this year as well as some that will be held off until next year. Their next meeting will be June 6th.
Director of Public Works Gary Sandt reported he’s been dealing with Kichline about the budgeted "skid steer loader." They are about ready to purchase it (using the State "piggyback" program) from Plasterer Equipment of Bethlehem. He said that the "rough price" is about $31,515 (and is about $12K off of regular price).
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - (Note: This committee has yet to meet.) Miller reported that basically all the children are outside playing sports and that his area is spending time maintaining the playing fields. He said too that he met with Sue Holland (Master Gardener) to plan the planters in front of the Community Center. Also, he said that the Public Works Department installed the Pepsi-donated new scoreboard on the football field. Miller said, "The Parks & Recreation Committee is working on a new recreation survey." He said that the last survey was done 15 years ago and the population is three times greater now. He hopes that the survey will go out in the newsletter this summer.

Miller said too that 5 classes from EASD toured the log cabin and that the Babps (neighbors) dressed in period costumes and talked to the children about how the log cabin was constructed and how hooked rugs were made.

And, Millers "good" news was that Georgia Pacific (through its Dixie plant) donated $5,000 for the Township Arboretum! Dixie won its first Chairman’s Award For Environmental Excellence. Dixie passed its winning cash on to Forks! Tom Fowler (sic), Dixie’s Director of Manufacturing and Frank Lasagio (sic), Manager of Environmental Safety & Health presented the check to Miller at the meeting.

  • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell said that they have been in communications with Hometown Press (the company doing the new publication) and learned that the soonest the first issue of the Quarterly can come out is the first week of August. Howell noted that selling ads takes time since they need to be sold for more than one edition in order to support the costs. Kichline is working with Hometown Press by supplying them with the names of area businesses. Howell said too that it takes time to "get the ball rolling" for the first articles. He expressed confidence that once they have the process down, subsequent issues will be ready sooner. Howell also said that the Community Relations Committee is exploring every avenue to reduce costs. He extended an open invitation to the public to contact him (or Kichline or Ackerman) with ideas for articles that they would like to see.

  • Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff said that the office job descriptions were reviewed during the 7 PM workshop before the meeting and that minor adjustments will be made for the Board’s review. His committee is also working on an organizational chart, searching for the best format for employee reviews, and trying to document everything (administrative) that is not currently documented (like reports to the PD on building entries/access using data from the new card key system.)

Manager’s Report & Correspondence - Cathy Kichline reported that she has received a number of emails from Penn’s Ridge residents regarding the portable basketball hoops. Kichline suggested that she, Weis, & Dorney work together to develop a policy for obstructed sidewalks and roadways. Hoff said that the Board put something together a number of years ago to cover exactly this issue and he suggested that she look into what was already done. Solicitor Karl Kline said that he will look in his files as he recalls that notices were given out in the past about obstructing the public right-of-way.

Kichline announced that the PARKS & RECREATION COMMITTEE will meet next week and they will discuss the possible installation of basketball courts in some of the Township parks.
Kichline also said that she had a notice from the Non-Uniform Employees Association that they would like to begin contract negotiations. The Board said that they would take it up in Executive Session.

Engineer’s Report - Fred Hay - Only agenda items.

Solicitor’s Report - Karl Kline announced that the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision dismissing the Delaware Nation’s land claim for 300 plus acres in Forks Township. He said that the court opinion was very readable and an interesting presentation of the history of the area and the Walking Purchase in particular. He offered to make a copy of it available to anyone who wants to read it.

Comments from the Public

  1. Resident Jeffery Kichline said that he sent an email to Kichline regarding the speed bumps in the park and that he felt that they were particularly dangerous on a motorcycle. Sandt said that the bumps have already been ground down and people are "flying through" in the daytime. Hoff said that they have been addressed.
  2. Pete Rossi (resident and member of the Zoning Hearing Board) said that now that the Township is going to build Valley View Road (for emergency access to Gollub Park), the 20 tandem loads of stockpiled rocky material that he has on his site is more than he needs for his driveway. He offered the excess to the Township. Ackerman said that his offer was discussed at the Public Works meeting and they instructed Hay to look at the material.


ZONING CHANGE TO PERMIT A GROCERY STORE - Hoff asked that the Board only discuss changing the zoning to allow a grocery store in the EC district as a Conditional Use and not to discuss anything else (like land development and traffic). He said that they had a letter from the Planning Commission recommending it.

Kline added that he added the clause "The use shall not include drive-through service " to Ordinance 298 (draft) amendment. Kline said that if the Board agrees to proceed, the steps are that the ordinance will be sent back to the PC as well as to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission for comments - both will have 30 days to consider it. After that there must be a public hearing. And, only after all of that, will it be in a position to be adopted by the BoS - that would be at its first meeting in July. Ackerman made a motion to proceed. Nicholas seconded.

Howell asked Kline how far the EC district extends on the northeast corner of that Sullivan/Uhler intersection and was told up to Steeplechase. Howell asked for Kline’s assurance that no grocery can go in on that lot. Kline said that the change to zoning applies to the entire EC district but that a grocery store can only be built on a parcel with a minimum lot size of 5 acres and that it must be adjacent to an arterial road and collector street or to two arterial streets. Kline added that the only intersection in the EC that qualifies (as far as he knows) is that one and that the northeast quadrant qualifies as does the northwest (already built out) quadrant. Ackerman said that the layout of the land on the northeast quadrant would be difficult to put a grocery store on. It is a little over 10 acres and owned is owned by one owner.

Mike Russick (sic) from MSR Engineering and representing RB Associates the owners of the Forks Landing Business Park (north of the bank and u-store-it on Sullivan Trail) said that RB Associates has a 15 acre parcel available in their business park that they thought would be more suitable for a grocery store. He asked that the Board consider it. He said that the Forks Landing Business Park is unique, that the piece of land in the back is on a relatively level grade, that it sits north of the "intersection of concern," and that access is directly to Sullivan Trail. Russick added that traffic coming from the north would never make it to the Uhler intersection and that his site would in effect "provide relief" for that intersection. He also noted that it has only one entrance and therefore access to it would be controlled.

Russick was thanked and the Board then voted 5:0 in favor of the zoning change. The public hearing date was set for June 29th at 7:00 PM. The ordinance will likely be considered for vote at the Board’s July 20th meeting.

MAILDROP DESIGN - Nicholas made a motion to direct the staff to chose something. It passed 5:0.

ORDINANCE NO. 297/LOCK BOX SYSTEM - CONSIDER FOR ADOPTION - Ackerman said that although he prefers that it be voluntary, after talking with Weis about it, he has no problem with it. Nicholas said that her opinion was that she would prefer it to be voluntary. Weis said that it is only mandatory for larger buildings but that he hopes that some of the smaller businesses will adopt it on a voluntary basis also. Kline indicated that the ordinance had been properly advertised and the vote was 5:0 in favor.


ACCEPT KEMIE HECKMAN’S RESIGNATION & APPOINT JOHN O’NEIL TO FULFILL UNEXPIRED TERM - The vote was 5:0 to accept Ms. Heckman’s resignation. Miller then recommended that the Board advertise the opening to the public. There was a motion made to advertise and to appoint someone at the Board’s June 15 meeting.

Howell asked if their would be a workshop before the meeting to interview candidates. Miller asked if the Recreation Board would have any input in the interview process. Hoff said that they can interview candidates prior to the Board’s workshop. Miller said that it is in the Recreation Board bylaws that they select members. He said that the BoS would have to tell him whether it’s legal or not.

Kline said that it is a position that is appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Miller said that the bylaws state that the Recreation Board actually does the interviewing and makes a recommendation to the Board. Hoff said that they can still do that. Ackerman said that he thought the position could be filled without advertising since it’s an unexpired term. Kline said that they don’t absolutely have to advertise for the position if they have a qualified individual and that it’s the choice of the Board whether they want to make it more open to the public.

The motion to hold interviews in a workshop session prior to the 6/15 meeting was accepted 5:0.

LOVENE HELLER/VACATE TOWNSHIP LAND - ARNDT ROAD - Hay said that the school owns the property from the centerline of Arndt from Northtrail to Mitman and that they dedicated it to the Township as part of the school’s land development. Kline added that the school was required to put in a public recreation path along the north side of their property.

Ackerman asked Mr. Heller if any of this was going onto his land. Heller said that he thought that was his property ever since 1973 when he bought it (the back property). He said he stopped the contractor from putting a construction road in on what he thought was his property. The contractor’s engineers told him that it wasn’t his property. Heller had his land surveyed and his surveyor said that he thinks that Arndt Road was put in the wrong place. Heller also said that he was charged by the Township for the sewer line and for the curb and now he’s learned that it isn’t his property.

Heller said too that the school district said that he should have the property and that he should talk to the Township about a lot line adjustment. Heller said that he has been mowing and fertilizing that property since he bought it and now Weis told him that the Township wants to put a bikepath in there.

Heller said that he didn’t know anything about this until last fall when the contractor came to cut the road. He said that he was not notified at all about any of it. Kline said that all adjoining property owners were notified. Nicholas asked Weis if he had a copy of who was notified. Kline said that the deed of dedication that the Township received from the school district indicates that the school district owned the property since 1969 and received it from the Lindale (sic) Development Company.

Nicholas asked Heller if he had a choice between a bikepath or a sidewalk which would he prefer. Heller said a sidewalk since he doesn’t want the mess you get with a bikepath (cases of beer, etc.) but that he thought that everyone along Arndt Road should have a sidewalk. Howell asked what the size difference was between a bikepath and a sidewalk. Kline told him that a bikepath is 8 feet and a sidewalk is 4 feet.

Hoff made a motion to direct Hay to take a look at the property, take measurements and come back with a recommendation as to whether (or how) a sidewalk would work there. It passed 5:0.

PRESENTATION OF CHECK FROM GEORGIA PACIFIC FOR ARBORETUM - This was moved up to the Parks & Recreation Committee report. See above.

KNOLLWOOD ESTATES - PHASE II/PRELIMINARY PLAN - This project is 113 lots on 66 plus acres. Nicholas asked if the homeowners association will be taking over the open space and was told "yes" and that it was purely passive open space. Nicholas expressed concern that the flood plain indicated on the plan is not the actual size of the flood plain. She said too that people are dumping in it and requested that the homeowners association keep it clear so that people do not get flooded. Knollwood’s representative said that they would put that in. Ackerman asked if the land will be re-graded and was told "yes."

The developer will be doing a substantial improvement there to get water through the property to Bushkill Creek but noted that they can’t do anything if Bushkill Creek comes up. Kline said that there are no detention ponds in the area because the theory is that the water from developments near the stream should get their water into the stream before water from other developments gets there. It meets Act 167.

Ben Jon Road will not be paved there. Weis said that he’s been talking to Sandt about dressing up the surface for emergency access. It is to be chained at both ends. Nicholas expressed concern that in the event of flooding the residents better be able to get out using Ben Jon Road. Hay said that it is not a public road but will be suitable for emergency access.

The bikepath there is going to be in the form of a wide sidewalk in front of the houses. The plan was approved 4:1(Nicholas dissented).

G & G LAND DEVELOPMENT/FINAL PLAN - This is 25,600 square foot light manufacturing facility on the north side of Kuebler Road. It is an adhesives manufacturing plant and will start out employing 10 and may go up to 18 at build-out.

The discussion was about sidewalks on Kuebler. It was decided that the developer will construct the sidewalk when the first of the lots in front of Tioga Pipe (in the subdivision on Kuebler) is developed so that the developer can do the sidewalks all at once. Ackerman thought it was a waste of money. Hay said that in industrial parks people walk at lunchtime. Nicholas said that where she works everyone walks. The motion to defer the sidewalk for this lot until one of the others is developed passed 5:0. The land development was approved 5:0.

The developer asked if fees could be waived because of the unexpected expense of the sidewalks and curbs (the development was approved some years ago when sidewalks were not an issue). Hoff said that the agreement that was just approved stated that they would pay all applicable fees.

RANDY DEWALT MINOR SUBDIVISION/DEVELOPER’S AGREEMENTS - Kline stated that all was in order. The vote was 5:0 in favor.

OLDCASTLE STAGING AREA - LAND DEVELOPMENT - This is for a trailer staging area - parking for trailers. The intention is to keep the trucks off Uhler Road while they wait to be loaded. This will allow the trucks to come in empty and pick-up their loads and be on their way.

Howell asked if they (Oldcastle) acted on the PC discussion about the visual issues regarding their product. Ackerman said that too many trees can ruin the trees that are growing and that the ones that are there seem to be growing. Hay said that the developer agreed at the PC to some landscaping.

Oldcastle agreed that there will be no storage of materials in staging area and that no trailers will be there overnight. Howell asked for the traffic statistics since Oldcastle said that they are working/shipping at capacity right now. He was told that they expect 100 round trips per day (that’s the same truck coming and going - through the intersection twice each) and most of the trucks travel Uhler to Sullivan and head north.

This passed 5:0 with the above conditions as well as those detailed in the engineer’s letter.

G.H. WAGNER II PROPERTIES - YMCA LAND DEVELOPMENT/FINAL PLAN - The Board discussed the striped walking area (instead of sidewalk). The drop off for children will be inside the parking area. There was also discussion of the permanent easement of the new swale since the property line is down the center of it.

Howell pointed out that the roadway there (Sullivan Trail) is very narrow and with parking allowed on both sides, two large vehicles (SUVs) cannot pass at the same time. Hay was asked to look at the roadway and make a recommendation. The plan was approved 5:0 conditioned on the developer’s obtaining of the swale easement.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - The session was held to "start the process" for the Non-Uniform Employees Association contract negotiation. There was no action taken during the 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.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

PC - A Wedge! - 5/11/06

Planner Dean Turner grabbed a Morning Call headline with his quote "Once we open the door, there's going to be a wedge opening it even more." Please read the rest of Morning Call reporter Joe Nixon’s article.

Turner discussed the huge traffic impact that the new industrial park just a littler further down Uhler Road will have. Fort James III is expected to bring 4000 trips per day to the Uhler/Braden intersection. He asked SamCar’s representatives if they had considered this in their traffic study. They said "no."

Solicitor Karl Kline presented the PC with the ordinance that he prepared (and reviewed with Charlie Schmehl of Urban Research and Development.) Kline told the PC that he had been instructed by the Board to remove any provisions for drive-throughs (pharmacy and bank). The planners agreed with that edit too noting that it’s to be a grocery store. Kline said that he will change the wording to read "no drive-through" allowed.

Kline also reminded the PC that what they had to consider was whether or not this change to the zoning would be in the best interest of the Township in the long run. He noted too that since this would be a conditional use, the Township has the right to ask for whatever improvements it deems necessary. PennDot has the authority too to make requirements for gaining access to the property (because the property is on State roads.) He added that the Township will be getting money from the developer in the form of capital improvement fees based on the size of the building and that it would not be a small amount of money since its not a small building.

Planner Erik Chuss described a recent drive that he took going north on Sullivan Trail and how many iterations of traffic lights it took him to get there. He said it was a mess and that what’s jamming it up are trucks making left hand turns. He expressed his concern too that if the grocery goes in and is successful, someone will buy the bank and storage facility on the opposite corner, bulldoze them and build another commercial center - bringing even more traffic.

Planner Jim Wideman said that he thought that the grocery as a single use on the three lots would bring less traffic than three different businesses and would be much harder to control. The developer said that there were a number of permitted things that could go there that would be more intense uses of the property than a grocery store. Chairman Vito Tamborrino said that he is in favor of the project and agrees that traffic is a big issue.

Turner cited the empty Laneco property as something that can go wrong. He expressed concern that should the grocery fail and no other grocer want the property that there will be yet another big (empty) box in the Township. He also made it clear that he did not think the grocery store was a bad idea for the Township just a bad idea for that intersection.

The PC voted 5:2 (Dean Turner and Erik Chuss cast the nay votes) to recommend changing the zoning ordinance to allow a grocery store in the EC district.

The zoning change is expected to be on the Board of Supervisors agenda at their next meeting on May 18th.

Other projects were discussed and acted on by the Planning Commission. They have all been updated on the FAC Newpage project list.

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.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

BoS Meeting 5/4/2006

The Board of Supervisors once again considered the request by SamCar to change zoning to allow a grocery store in the EC (Economic Development) district. The discussion was covered by Sarah Mausolf (Express Times) and Fred Walter (Morning Call). Please read their articles. We will attempt to fill in the blanks.

Supervisor Comments

  • Supervisor Howell said that he has received inquiries from residents about the status of proposed dog parks and that Engineer Fred Hay will comment on it during his report. Howell also mentioned anecdotal evidence about the lack of deer sightings in the 611 corridor north of Frost Hollow. He said that in one instance deer were found "deceased and not as the normal result of hunting." He advised any residents who find dead (not from hunting or car accidents) deer to call the Northampton County Game Commissioner, Brad Kreider, to report it. He said that they will pick up the deer and test it.

Treasurer’s Report - Howell reported the Township’s cash outlays since the last BoS meeting.

Standing Committee Reports

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas - Reported that they met Wednesday and are continuing work on the (PD) 5 year plan.

Nicholas also reported that she attended the PSATS meeting on Sunday and Monday and that it was very informative. She said that her son attended the PD DUI Awareness program and that it was very good. She said that a lot of people also told her that it was very good. On Tuesday she attended the Young Professionals of the Lehigh Valley program where Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Thomas Hylton (Save Our Lands, Save Our Towns) spoke. She said that (Rep) Bob Freeman from Harrisburg was there and has given her some tips on Forks zoning (that need to be changed.)

Police Chief Greg Dorney announced that the Municipal Building custodian found a car key in the meeting room (two meetings ago). He said that it is at the PD.

Dorney said that 21 persons attended the PD DUI Awareness Program. He said that he was a little disappointed in the turnout. He addressed the HS students in the audience (government class requirement attendees) and asked that they carry the message back to the school how serious teenage drinking is and that every weekend their peers are being arrested for it (in Forks.) He told them that Forks has a "zero tolerance" policy and that they will "never be cut a break" if they are caught.

Dorney said too that the PD received a $4K grant from the "Click It Or Ticket Program" for Memorial week traffic enforcement. There is zero tolerance for any moving violations and if not wearing a seatbelt, another citation will be issued.

In the past two days the PD did 12 hours of commercial vehicle enforcement. Five tractor trailers were placed out of service for major violations and "found far too many trucks on the Township’s roadways with relatively serious problems."

And, Dorney said that they have picked up the two new police vehicles. They should be on the roads early next week.

Zoning Officer Tim Weis reported that the 1989 Chevy replacement truck order has been placed with Brown Daub and it should be in at the end of June.

  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman - Said that the report from the Public Works Director is available to anyone who wants to see it after the meeting.
Director of Public Works Gary Sandt reported that street sweeping is almost done and that the crews are busy doing miscellaneous things including painting lines on roads.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - (Note: This committee has yet to meet.) The park has "eight fields going" for (girls) softball and baseball. Fall football and soccer sign-ups are in progress (through May 31). There is a doll show on Sunday in the Community Center.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell - Reported that Hometown Press has provided a mock-up of the cover page for the new Forks quarterly. He explained that the mock-up article (which may not be the lead article) captures the missions and goals of the quarterly and that the first edition will contain a centerfold Township map (which will be periodically updated as new roads are added.) It will also contain pubic opinion surveys and will be mailed to the approximately 4500 Forks households with additional copies available at other locations in the Township. It (publication and mailing) will be paid for by advertising revenue from businesses throughout the region. It will be on glossy paper and the first edition may have as many as 16 pages.

Members of the CR Committee (Howell, Supervisor John Ackerman, and Township Manager Cathy Kichline) will be meeting shortly to discuss the content and expect that every department in the Township will contribute to it. Howell said that Hometown Press will take their factual information and turn it into very readable articles.

Howell also said that the CR committee is also talking to the webmaster about making the Township website "responsive, easy to navigate, and fun." He asked that anyone with suggestions for website improvement contact Kichline.

Nicholas asked if the advertising will cover the postage since she recalled that it cost around $2K to mail 8 pages. Howell said that the postage estimate is $400 to $600 per issue and that Hometown Press will sell the ads. Howell said that Ackerman has some interesting suggestions for "calling card" ad placement so that they will not interfere with the visual impact of the content.

  • Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff - Reported that the Board has copies of all the job descriptions and requested that a workshop session to review them be held on May 18 at 7 PM (before the regular meeting.) Nicholas added that the PD job descriptions are completed and were already approved.

  • Manager’s Report & Correspondence - Cathy Kichline - Reported that there is an informational meeting of the EAJSA on Tuesday that she, Solicitor Karl Kline, Chairman David Hoff, and delegate Henning Holmgaard will attend.

Kichline reported too that the speed bumps in the park roads have been milled down and are now speed "humps." She added that the Athletic Association has purchased a new scoreboard and that the intent is to get it in place before the upcoming July 4 tournament.

Kichline asked permission of the Board to make 10:00 AM Wednesdays (before a meeting) the policy deadline for posting the Thursday night meeting agenda on the website. Ackerman said that the Supervisors should see it before the public does and that Wednesday at 10:00 AM is "time enough for the public to see it." Nicholas agreed. She said she doesn’t like people calling her up to discuss agenda items before she’s seen it. Supervisors’ copies are delivered to their homes on Tuesday evenings. Kline offered that this is an internal decision by the Board to (put it on the website) but there is no requirement to do so. Howell asked that that 10:00 AM Wednesday be the absolute latest time. It was agreed, no more Tuesday posting of the agenda online.

Comments about the outdoor drop/mailbox that Kichline proposed included Ackerman saying that it didn’t look as secure as a regular postal box. Nicholas said that there is one that looks like a postal box and has an attachment that wouldn’t allow a shoebox (reference to 911) to be inserted. Miller suggested that a measurement be taken to be sure that people can drive up to it to make their deposit (reference to elderly and handicapped people). Hoff suggested that they select one that fits in with the new complex and doesn’t "stick out like a sore thumb." This will be continued on the next agenda.

  • Engineer’s Report - Fred Hay - Reported on the "dog run." He said that he’s contacted the airport authority, knows what the transition zone is, and that the survey is completed. Howell asked if it will be finished by mid-summer or fall and Hay said he thinks that it’s realistic for "summer" since as soon as they figure out where it will go and how big it will be, it will simply entail installing a 5 foot chainlink fence with some gates. They will get prices for the fencing and anything else required. He added that Modern Concrete sells modular restrooms and he thinks that one can go in near the wrestling building and be made part of the project. There is water and sewer there already.

Howell asked Kline how the Township will handle a "passive park" like this - liabilities and issues concerning aggressive dogs in particular. (Hoff said it was under the K-9 unit.) Kline said that appropriate signage will be needed and that it should say that the park is available for your use - use at your own risk - dog owners are responsible for keeping their dogs under control at all times. Kichline said that a lot of dog park owners advise keeping small dogs separated from large dogs. Hay said that that is simply another piece of fence.

Hoff asked Hay to report on the meeting held with PennDot and Towns I (Ace Hardware). Hay said that Ace Hardware is open for business (grand opening is tomorrow) and that originally PennDot said that Ace could not open until the new traffic signal was up. Because there were some problems for the contractor getting the light mast arms, PennDot has allowed Mr. Posh to utilize the right/in - right/out driveway for Ace Hardware only until the signal lights are installed. Ackerman wondered if the Board should take action since they went on record as saying that Ace could not open until the signal was in place. Hay said that the Board was on record as saying they couldn’t open until they had the highway occupancy permit. They now have the permit even though the lights are not installed. Hay added that in all fairness to Ace, this was not of their doing. Kline said that people going there can only get in only if they are heading north and that when they leave they can still only head north. The PD will monitor the area and Kline speculated that Ace will put pressure on the developer to finish the intersection.

  • Solicitor’s Report - Karl Kline - Reported on Gollub Park stating that Hay and Kichline met with the Mattesons and that he, Hay, Weis, and Kichline met with Mr. Arcury to discuss the agreement concerning Gollub Park. Kline requested that this be the subject of the Executive Session.

Comments from the Public - Ruthie Eichlin from Chestnut Commons Condo Association addressed the Board to advise them that the swale problems are getting worse. She said that the swirling water is making huge holes and that power lines have been washed out. Hay said that the wires belonged to RCN and that the big rocks will be removed to stabilize the conditions. Ms. Eichlin said that the residents can use the big rocks elsewhere so the Township needn’t take them away.

Ms. Eichlin also asked about their unlighted street lights and was told by Weis that Oeini wants to turn them over to the association, that the inspection has not yet been done, and that they have not yet been energized.


RESOLUTION #060504-1/DEVELOPER IMPACT FEES TO AID SCHOOL DISTRICTS - Kline prepared the resolution and the Board accepted it. Hoff said that it will now go to the County Association of Supervisors with the recommendation that they too pass such a resolution in support of fees on developers. Howell suggested that copies of this resolution be sent along with a letter to the two State Representatives who are sponsoring impact fee legislation so that they know that Forks is in support of their efforts. It passed in a 5:0 vote.

PROPOSAL FOR ZONING CHANGE TO PERMIT A GROCERY STORY IN THE EMPLOYMENT CENTER DISTRICT - Hoff said that this subject was discussed at the last Supervisors’ meeting and at the Joint Meeting with the Planning Commission. He added that Kline was directed to prepare something for the Board’s review. Kline said that there is no commitment at this time. However, If the Board agrees to a zoning change, it must be sent to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission for their input and then a public hearing must be held. Kline said that the fastest this process could take is 35 days.

Kline presented the Board with an outline of what the changes would be and explained to them what the ordinance would do. He said that in order not to "open the door too wide" he prepared (and Charlie Schmehl of URDC reviewed) a proposed new use for the EC district that would allow a grocery store as a conditional use.

Part I of his document defines grocery store and has a provision for drive-through services only for a pharmacy or financial institution. A gas station would be allowed on the same lot. The lot must be adjacent to both a collector road and an arterial road. The minimum lot size will be 5 acres and a parking space must be provided for every 220 square feet of gross floor area. Loading docks abutting a street must have a berm. The lot landscaping and parking must provide for safe pedestrian areas. Part II of Kline’s outline simply says that a grocery store is a new conditional use for the EC district.

Nicholas asked if this would allow 2 drive-throughs. Howell said he didn’t want any or people would be picking up their developed film at the pharmacy drive-through. Kline added that the big issue that must be satisfied is "traffic." Howell asked if the Board went ahead with this now, would the next opportunity for public input be at the formal hearing? Kline explained that this is not a zoning challenge and that there is "no clock running here." The Board is free to refer this back to the Planning Commission.

Hoff asked Howell if he is concerned that they are going to see a "land development" without the PC having input. Howell said that he is concerned that once the process starts, it is very difficult to stop. He said that most people in the Township would love to see another food store but this is not a regular food store, it is an "upscale" one. He added, "The only time we will see what we are getting is farther down the line after we’ve passed an ordinance." He said that the developer represented "upscale" as having organics and a bakery. And, he noted that Giant has organics, a bakery and an in-house café - and Giant is not an upscale store.

Howell said that farther down the road the grocer could be unveiled as a Weis or a Redners or a Shop-Rite - and they will have been given the "right" to build there. Howell said that this is going too fast because of the lure that it is an "upscale" supermarket and he felt that if that is the case, there should be some disclosure. He said that usually planners know what is coming in before a statute is changed. Howell stated that he would like it sent back to the planners so that they can ask more serious questions, bring their findings/recommendation back to the Board, and then the Board can decide whether or not to change the ordinance.

Hoff asked Kline how far the Board can go to tailor the ordinance to a "specific, agreeable store." Kline replied that they cannot make an ordinance to only allow a Wegman’s. They can make one that will regulate a particular use but not a particular store. Howell again said that they should know who the players are since this could become the busiest intersection in the Township approaching what Rt 248 is like near Wegman’s/Sam’s Club. Kline said that the developer can tell the Board who the players are right now but there is nothing to prevent them (the player) from changing their mind. Kline used the upscale malls in Bethlehem Township and Upper Saucon where the zoning changes were approved and no leases were signed. Howell said that Kline made a good argument for voting against it.

Ackerman said that they must decide if they want a grocery store no matter who it is. Howell said that they already made that decision in the original zoning. Pete Rossi (resident and Zoning Hearing Board) said that what the people of the Township want is a "choice." He said he didn’t care what grocery store goes in there. He added that when he worked on the Township Comprehensive Plan years ago, they screwed up Town Center (where grocery stores are supposed to go) when they lost valuable space to Zawarski’s town homes and the Giant put a deed restriction on the Laneco property. Rossi said that this is more a "corrective amendment" to allow a grocery store in the EC district. He said that this is best place for it.

Rose Randazzo, speaking for her company, SamCar, said that she had some data for the 5 mile radius study but it is not complete. She said that there are another 600 new units (1600 people) added to the 5 mile demographic but she doesn’t yet have the 5 mile demographic. Ackerman noted that this represents only what is on record and not what could come down the road. Randazzo said that that is right since there’s a lot of farmland there and residnetial developers are trying to procure it for residential development. She added... "and that’s a good thing."

Nicholas said that if people are going to be told that it will be an upscale supermarket that an upscale supermarket better be delivered. Randazzo said that the type of grocers coming to them are coming because of the $55K median income demographic and that to her "anyplace that she can have fresh baked goods, fresh seafood, a sit-down café, a pharmacy option and fresh produce every day" is upscale. She added that she loves Wegman’s but they are not interested in Forks (since it’s too close to their nearest store and wouldn’t fit on this site.) Nicholas said that the word "upscale" should be dropped. Howell said that he agrees with Nicholas.

Randazzo said again that they cannot procede with negotiations with any of the interested parties without a zoning change. She then said that all of the grocers she is speaking with are looking at a site in Nazareth. They prefer the Forks site.

The developer offered to go back before the Planning Commission to re-address the traffic and agreed to drop the word "upscale." Planner Jim Wideman said that all the planners would like to see the plan again since there were traffic issues as well as architectural design issues that should be addressed. He added that the planners do not want to see something that looks like the old Laneco.

It was decided in a 5:0 vote to direct Kline to draft an ordinance without "drive-throughs" to be sent to the Planning Commission for their review an comment (at their next meeting on May 11). The Board will consider this again with PC comments at their next meeting on May 18.


FORT JAMES LOTS 21-SC LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT/FINAL PLAN - Hay explained that this is a minor subdivision to square off the lots. It passed 5:0.

PANOVEC LOT 2 MINOR SUBDIVISION/FINAL PLAN - Hay said that this minor subdivision is across from the Pheasant Ridge pond. It was approved 5:0.

ORDINANCE 297/LOCK BOX-2003 INTERNATIONAL FIRE CODE - Kline said that this ordinance is in two parts, one to adopt the lock box system and one to adopt the 2003 International Fire Code. The lock box system allows emergency personal (police and fire departments) to have access to all buildings (in the event of an emergency). The keys to the lock box would be locked inside the emergency vehicles and could only be opened by a call to 911 (911 would send out a signal to unlock the box). That key could then be used to gain access to the locked box(es) on the outside of individual buildings. There would be a record kept by 911 of who called and when they called. This would be mandatory for all Forks buildings in excess of 5000 square feet.

Weis said that this system is endorsed by fire and police departments nationwide. This system allows for quick entry and minimal property damage. He said that the key(s) would only work in buildings in Forks Township.

Ackerman expressed reservations about the mandatory requirement. Weis said that most businesses are for this. Kline said that education is very important so that business owners understand what it does. Weis explained further that with this system, a business is re-locked when the emergency crews leave so the business is still secured, unlike if a bolt cutter is used or if they must break in some other way.

Businesses will be alerted by letter after the ordinance is adopted and they will have six months to comply and to ask questions. Kline said that the ordinance will be posted on the website and that this was a request for advertising the ordinance for adoption.

Nicholas said that she is concerned that two things are under one ordinance. She said that she would have no trouble voting to adopt the International Fire Code but the lock box is more controversial. Ackerman said that he would have no problem with this if it were voluntary. Weis said that many insurers are making lock boxes mandatory. Nicholas said that she doesn’t like the idea that the government is telling people what to do with their own businesses.

Authorization to advertise the ordinance was passed in a 3:2 vote (Nicholas and Ackerman were the "nay" votes.)

MUNICIPAL COMPLEX DEDICATION/OPEN HOUSE - Alex Gale said that the important punch list items will be done by June 10th. Many of the Supervisors are not available that day due to prior commitments. They will all consult their calendars and come up with another date at the next meeting.

RESOLUTION TO REMOVE TWO STREET LIGHTS/MET-ED - Kline explained that there are two street lights no longer needed in the driveway since the new park will be "turned the other way." It passed 5:0.

RIVERVIEW ESTATES WEST PHASE 2 DEVELOPERS AGREEMENTS - Kline added this and said that everything is in order. It passed 5:0.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - The session was held to discuss a real estate matter and a personnel issue. There was no action taken during the Executive Session but there was a vote taken after it. The Board voted 3:2 to build an emergency access road to Gollub Park. (Miller and Howell cast the nay votes.) It also voted 5:0 to advertise a 28 hour per week position for a cleaning person for the Municipal Building and the Police Department. The meeting was adjourned.

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