Sunday, July 09, 2006

BoS Meeting 7/6/2006

On 7/6/06 the Board of Supervisors met at 7:00 PM to interview two candidates for the single Recreation Board opening. This was followed at 7:30 PM by the regular meeting which lasted less than 1-1/2 hours. The closing Executive Session ran in excess of 2-1/2 hours!

Both Sarah Mausolf (Express Times) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call) wrote their accounts in multi-parts. Both Mausolf and Nixon separated the lively discussion of the pricy custom made lobby table from their accounts of the regular agenda items. We will once again attempt to fill in the blanks.

Supervisor Comments - Secretary/Treasurer David Howell said that he received a letter from Michael and Michelle Fleck (Forks residents) in support of the Supervisors against the upcoming King’s Mill (& partners) challenge to the Zoning Ordinance. The Flecks told the Board that they would prefer to pay higher taxes in order to fight the reckless development that threatens the Township’s quality of life.

Treasurer’s Report - Howell reported the Township’s cash outlays since the last BoS meeting. Nicholas questioned the label "printing of newsletter." Township Manager Cathy Kichline explained that it was really for website updates to the website and that the label will be changed.

Nicholas then questioned the "Corporate environment" expense of $3K for the table in the lobby. Kichline said that it was part of the original proposal and was approved by the Board in December. (The furniture presentations were held in April 2004 and approval was sometime after that.)

Nicholas said too that there wasn’t supposed to be anything in the "line of egress." When Kichline said again that it was on the original proposal, Nicholas asked to "see" the proposal as she didn’t remember seeing a $3K table.

Nicholas asked Zoning Officer/Fire Chief Tim Weis to confirm that there was to be nothing in the way in case of fire and he said he wasn’t aware of that.

Resident Gretchen Gerstel called the table purchase "outrageous" and was joined in that sentiment by Supervisor John Ackerman. Read Mausolf and Nixon for more details.

The Treasurer’s motion to approve the expenses was passed 5:0.

Standing Committee Reports

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas said that the Public Safety Committee did not meet because of the flood. She asked Weis to report on how the Command Center is going.

Emergency Management Co-ordinator Tim Weis said that the radio and antenna are ordered and both will be installed in the next two weeks. He said they also contacted a local supplier for the desk and drawers. He added that everything is within the budgeted amounts.

Weis reported on the Township’s flood response. He thought that they did a much better job than they did for the last flood. He said that they are learning from each flood.

Portable toilets and potable water were supplied to the residents in the flooded areas along the Delaware. Weis said that since this was a localized emergency and not a Township-wide one, the full emergency plan was not implemented. He said that the police department spent the night in foot patrols along the flooded areas and that DPW did an excellent job keeping the roads clear - there were some mud slides.

The fire department went door-to-door before the flood handing out flyers to individual residents. Weis said that on Sunday he went door-to-door himself and spoke with residents who responded much more favorably than they did for the prior floods.

Weis thanked the Public Works Director (Gary Sandt who was not in attendance) as well as the entire Public Works Department and Police Chief Greg Dorney and the entire police force as well as the Deputy Fire Chief and the entire Fire Department for all the work they did.

Weis added that as soon as he hears what FEMA/PEMA’s position is regarding setting up shop in Forks he will let the Board know.

Nicholas also thanked the Fire Department, the Police Departmant and Public Works for "doing a great job."

Police Chief - Greg Dorney added that he agreed with everything that Weis said but wanted to add one thing. He requested that the Township Manager contact PennDot regarding the timely closing (and reopening) of Route 611 in emergencies. Dorney said that he would like to meet with PennDot (and Weis and Kichline) to clarify a few issues that he has.

Supervisor Howell remarked that the Township acted on its own initiative and closed Route 611. He seconded Dorney’s PennDot concerns and thanked him for closing the road. Howell added that he visited the flooded area (611) several times and he suggested that the Safety Committee consider purchasing a "Zodiac" boat so that the Fire and Police Departments can travel along flooded 611.

Howell added that he received many compliments from residents along the river about the participation of the Township’s emergency crews.

  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman said that he, too, was down on 611 "with the Public Works" and talked to people and that the police did a great job. He said the firemen were down there before he was but he knows that they did an excellent job. He added that, "When the guys are asked to go, they go."
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - (Note: Miller reported on events in the parks and not on a meeting of the committee.) Miller reported on park activities. He said that this over the 4th weekend they had their 13th annual baseball tournament and that there are big crowds in the park. Basketball is still going on at the Community Center until the second week of August. Volleyball is still going on and will end in August. Miller said too that a new program, Country Line Dancing, will be starting next week.

(Note to residents who have seen the sinkholes in the park: There was no mention of them at this meeting.)

Supervisor/Chairman David Hoff said that the Parks & Recreation Committee did meet last week and did a final review of the "newsletter" survey insert. Hoff said that the committee also went over a list of recreation projects that they would like to see completed in the near future.

  • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell had nothing new to report.

  • Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff reported that the committee is meeting once a month during the summer because of vacations. He said that Howell, he, and Kichline met with Hodges (Technologies) to review the email system and a risk assessment that Hodges prepared. The next full committee meeting will be July 12 and the risk assessment will be its

Manager’s Report & Correspondence - Cathy Kichline reported that the Community Days preparations are going well. She thanked the Benners and Dick Couch (who were all in the audience.)

Kichline commended Senator Wonderling’s office for offering assistance during the flood. She added that he has obtained a supply of bleach from local grocers and it will be distributed to the 611 residents tomorrow (Friday).

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

Solicitor’s Report - Karl Kline - Agenda items only.


LOVENE HELLER PROPERTY/ARNDT ROAD - Engineer Fred Hay reported that after looking at this situation further, he recommends that the Township perform a lot line adjustment. He explained that the Township would take 10 or 11 feet along the curb/right-of-way. Hay said that he will check to see if the pole is in the way. A recreational path of concrete (wider than a sidewalk) will be installed. Ackerman remarked that this seemed "fair enough." The balance of the land will be conveyed to Mr. & Mrs. Heller. Mr. Heller was not in attendance. This passed 5:0.


APPOINTMENT TO RECREATION BOARD - Hoff explained that 2 candidates, Georgian Wambold and John O’Neill were interviewed. Miller said that there is an opening coming up at year end as well and then he made a motion nominating O’Neill. This passed in a 3:2 (Hoff & Howell) vote.

JACOBS FARM II/LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN - Hay said that the developer is asking for some waivers - the carbon/geology test, the recreation path, and sidewalks. These waivers were recommended by the PC. Sidewalks will extend on both sides of Braden Boulevard and (on one side) into the development to the first cross street from the Braden intersection. One sidewalk will extend all the way to the development’s recreation building.

Nicholas asked why there will not be sidewalks on both sides of all the streets since the older people go "flying through there." Ackerman said that the residents in Jacob’s Farm I are happy without sidewalks. The speed limit on Braden will be 35 mph but the speed limit on Jacob’s Farms private road system will be 15 mph.

Nicholas also went on record as objecting to the grass in Braden Boulevard (center island) since it will require maintenance and mowing by Township crews. Kichline said that the green area was so that people could cross half way and stop until it’s safe to continue on. Howell said that for the Planning Commission aesthetics was an issue. Nicholas wondered if the Township would have to buy another trailer to get the lawnmower up there every week. Ackerman said that the small mower will do a better job.

Howell asked how people on the streets parallel to Braden will get to Braden. It was decided that since all yards are common areas and not private yards, that a couple of sidewalks will be built between some of the units so that people can walk through to get to Braden - where they can then walk to Warren Hospital or the grocery/CVS or the bank.

The waivers were granted in a 5:0 vote. The land development plan was conditionally approved in a 5:0 vote.

NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY/STRYKER BRIGADE/LAND DVELOPMENT - Hay said that most of the concerns have been addressed and the developer requested only one waiver and he has no objection.

The developer’s representative (Paul Erfel?) summarized the plan for the Board. There will be two buildings on a 21 acre site. They will be developing 14 acres of the 21. A gravity sewer line will be brought down through a stream bed and the water line will be extended to the site.

There are discussions underway with the neighboring company for a driveway easement since this site borders on the part of Uhler where there is no good sight distance. Approvals from PennDot and the DEP and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission are in process as well.

There will be 26 people employed there during the week. There will be approximately 170 soldiers parking their cars there during the weekends. They will be bussed to Fort Indiantown Gap for their main training. Nicholas asked if the vehicles that will use the roads will have rubber tires and she was told yes and that there will be no "tracked" vehicles there as they are being phased out.

The Board was told that the treelines on the south, east, and west will be preserved (unless needed for the sewer line.) There will be no ammunition (ordnance) stored on the site.

The land development plan was conditionally approved in a 5:0 vote.

G & G DEVELOPERS LLC/INDEMNIFICATION AGREEEMENT - Kline said that all was in order. The agreement was approved in a 5:0 vote.

OLD MILL ROAD PEDESTRIAN BIKE PATH - Hay said that the idea to put a bike path along the road will not work since pedestrians and bicycles are not allowed to travel in the same direction. Dorney said that by law pedestrians must walk against traffic and bicycles must travel with traffic.

Hay suggested 3 foot wide paths on both sides of Old Mill Road. Howell said that people are not obeying the "no parking" signs and that either more signs are needed or the vehicles must be ticketed.

Nicholas asked again why the Township does not simply add a sidewalk and Hay said that one of the homes has extensive landscaping and that it is not entirely in the right of way and that it is on a very different grade level. He added that the people there have lived there for years and years.

Ackerman thought this proposal "dangerous" but said he was willing to try it. Nicholas thought a letter should be sent to the people who own the land to ask if they’d mind having a sidewalk there.

The Board agreed to "try" the paths on both sides of the street in a 5:0 vote.

HIRING OF MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL - Kichline said that the janitor position for the Police station and Municipal Building was advertised and that 20 candidates applied. Ten were interviewed. A background check was done on one. Placido Simonetti (sic) was hired in a 5:0 vote for this part time custodial position. (The title of the position was changed at Ackerman’s suggestion from "maintenance" to "custodial.")

MET-ED RESOLUTION/STREET LIGHTS SHAWNEE RIDGE II DEVELOPMENT - Kichline said that the lights were inspected. The resolution was approved 5:0.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - The Executive Session for discussion of a personnel matter and a litigation matter ran in excess of 2-1/2 hours. 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.

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