Sunday, July 19, 2009

BoS Meeting Notes - 7/16/09

Regular Meeting (agenda)

On this night, Forks Supervisors considered plans for an amphitheater, providing police protection to Stockertown, two Eagle Scout projects for Bushkill Creek, and learned that the new developer of the Crayola solar array is a subsidiary of UGI and PPL.  Supervisor Miller was absent. 

Please read Christopher Baxter (Morning Call) and Tony Nauroth (Express Times) for more on the new amphitheater proposal.

Please note that detailed notes of the meetings are being replaced for the summer vacation season with more general notes highlighting only the most important issues discussed and actions taken.  In some instances, guest note writers are providing the text.

Public Comments (non-agenda) - None

Supervisors' Remarks:

  • Supervisor Chuss - reported on the Two River Council Of Governments’ recent meeting. The matters commented upon dealt with the September deadline to appoint a municipal (Forks) tax representative and an alternate to a regional EIT council on the consolidated tax collection process.
  • Supervisor Nicholas - noted that she attended the Relay For Life at Metzgar Field and that Forks police officer Craig Marshall had once again donated his time to this annual event.  She said that he should be commended for this and noted if he did not donate his time, the event would have to hire an officer to be there.
  • Supervisor Nicholas - introduced Boy Scouts Mark Sweeney, Troop 87, and Nicholas Carpinelli, Troop 29, both candidates for Eagle Scout designations. The scouts have separate projects that involve construction along the Bushkill Creek to aid fishing and other enhancements along the creek bank and parking area along Bushkill Dr.  They will work with Zoning Officer Tim Weis and Public Works Director Mark Roberts on their projects. Supervisor Howell pointed out that the Bushkill Conservancy has strict regulations concerning vegetation removal and installation along the creek and as well as restrictions on flood plain construction of trails and small creek side structures such as stairs and platforms. The Scouts must have their plans approved by the Bushkill Conservancy before starting work.

Treasurer's Report - Egolf detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors' meeting.  The debits and transfers were approved with a 4:0 vote.  The Township's current outstanding debt is $8,204,038. 

Standing Committee Reports (meetings are open to the public - see the official Township calendar for dates and times)

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Howell - said that the next meeting is scheduled for 7/21/09 at 8:00 AM.  Chief Dorney, FTPD, said that Stockertown has requested preliminary discussions with regard to contracting Forks police services for the Borough. That request will be considered at the upcoming (public) committee meeting.    
  • Public Works - Supervisor Chuss - reported that the 7/14/09 meeting was canceled and that the next meeting is 8/11/09 at 7:30 AM.  Public Works Director Roberts reported that many bids from architects/engineers along with statements of qualifications have been received for the future construction of the new public works garage.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Egolf - reported that the new Penn’s Ridge play lot has been installed and is being actively used by residents.  Bids for the construction of the basketball court will be considered later on the agenda.  The next meeting of the committee is 8/10/09 at 6 PM.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Miller - was not present and no report was available.  The next meeting is 8/10/09 at 5:00 PM.
  • Finance and Administration - Supervisor Nicholas - reported that the next meeting is 8/12/09 at 5:00 PM.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter - absent.  No report.

Engineer's Report - Hay -  reported that the sewer line rehabilitation is ongoing and that there were six bidders for the tennis and basketball courts at the pre-bid meeting. 

Hay also advised the Board that PennDOT met with a landowner on Meco Road (northeast corner) about the proposed stop line location.  PennDOT will permit the property owner to construct a drive into their property from Sullivan Trail.

Egolf asked about the grading for the five acres behind the Community Center and Hay noted that seven bids were received today with the lowest at $24,900.

Solicitor's Report - Kline - reported that Crayola has submitted revised plans for its solar panel land development.  The new plans are basically the same as the original plans except that the small building that was to go on the concrete pad is no longer included.  Kline said that there is no need for this to go back before the PC and that as soon as the developer's agreement is signed, Crayola can begin the project.  The new developer is a subsidiary of UGI and PPL.




CMX Presentation (Bonnie Nicholas, Supervisor) - Timothy Edinger, CMX’s project manager, presented a proposal to the Board for design and engineering services that the company will provide to the township for the construction of a municipal amphitheater.  CMX is the company that designed the other municipal complex buildings. 

In addition to providing a design example of the structure, Mr. Edinger highlighted the steps that will take place such as: developing the final concept and design plans, preparation of all documents for the bidding process, structural and electrical designs, site grading and storm water plans with landscaping, and assistance with Planning Commission documentation toward the approval of the plan. 

CMX will work as directed by the township to develop the right design concept.  The Board, in comments and questions, preferred that CMX work with the Parks and Recreation Committee as it has scheduled public meetings which allow supervisors and the public to join in the discussions.

CMX estimated that if the process were to start shortly, all construction could be completed this year and the grounds around the site ready for use by late spring 2010.  Based upon the proposal, CMX will furnish these services for $49,900.00.  Supervisor Nicholas presented a motion to accept the proposal and upon the second of Supervisor Egolf, the motion was approved 4-0. 

Note:  The Parks & Recreation Committee meets on the second Monday of the month at 6:00 PM.

Adoption of a Premium only plan (Jim Farley, Finance Manager) - This item was tabled pending a review of additional information. 

Comprehensive Plan Update (Dean Turner, Planning Commission Chairman) - Planning Commission (PC) Chairman Dean Turner and Vice Chairman Vito Tamborrino addressed the Board regarding the status of the now final draft of the Comprehensive Plan.  Turner said that the expected printed copies of the plan for distribution to the the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC), contiguous municipalities, and the Easton Area School District (EASD) have not yet been received from URDC's Charlie Schmehl.  Schmehl was also to provide the plan on disks for Supervisors' review.  The disks have not been received either.  All versions of the plans were due on July 6th, then on July 10th, and again on July 15th.  Chairman Howell will call URDC to attempt to expedite the process.

The soonest the BoS can act on the next step in the Comprehensive Plan process is at its August 6th meeting.  Supervisors will vote at that time on whether to request the PC to have yet another public meeting on the plan before sending it to the LVPC, contiguous municipalities, and the EASD for their respective reviews and comments, or to send it for review without yet another PC public meeting.  The last PC public meeting on the topic was July 9th.  It was an agenda item at the regular PC meeting. 

Chuss objected to sending the Comprehensive Plan final draft to the LVPC, the EASD, etc. without it on the agenda of yet another public meeting of the PC.  When asked by Turner what Chuss thought the PC did wrong, Chuss gave him a ten minute laundry list of his ideas about the ad hoc committee and the process.  Chuss' focal point was the moving of an advertised ad hoc meeting from the main meeting room to the Supervisors' room.  Tamborrino and Howell explained that there was a scheduling conflict for that evening and that the meeting room was occupied.  Signage was placed in the hall directing the public to the new meeting location.  (At least two members of the public found their way to that meeting without any difficulty - this writer was one of them.) Chuss could not be convinced.

Egolf made a motion to table this agenda item until August 6th when the BoS will decide whether to request another PC public meeting or to send the Comprehensive Plan to the LVPC, the EASD, and contiguous municipalities.  Nicholas seconded and the vote was 4:0.

Rt. 33 Interchange @ Tatamy Road (Erik Chuss, Supervisor) - Chuss suggested adding a line to the letter that was authorized at the July 2nd meeting.  Howell explained that the letter has already been sent and that it acknowledged all the municipalities likely to be impacted by the Chrin Route 33 interchange in Palmer.  Howell said that there will be an interchange status meeting in September.

Penn’s Ridge Basketball Court Bid Award (Fred Hay, Township Engineer) - Hay reported that five bids were opened on July 2, 2009.  Hay said that the construction will be the same as if for a full sized basketball court; it will just be smaller.  Kline reviewed the low bid of $49,600 from Hale Built (of Forks Township) and reported that the bid documents met all the criteria and were in order.  A motion to accept this bid was made by Egolf with a second by  Nicholas. 

Upon discussion, Chuss reiterated his original position that he does not support the construction of the basketball court at this location and that it will bring traffic, noise, and be a nuisance.  Chuss said, "I think this is a mistake."  [Also see Tony Nauroth (Express Times 3/8/09) for more of the original discussion.]

Nicholas said that the "little park" is constantly being used and that the Recreation Board and Athletic Association have suggested adding a sand volley ball court to the Penn's Ridge park (as well as to other parks).  Nicholas offered that the majority shouldn't be punished for the actions of a few.  Chuss added that he is in favor of basketball courts, "just not there."

The vote to accept Hale Built's bid was 3:1 with Chuss casting the nay vote.

Executive Session - There was an executive session for a litigation matter and for a personnel issue.  No action was taken and the meeting was adjourned.

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