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.

No comments: