Sunday, August 23, 2009

BoS Meeting Notes - 8/20/2009

Regular Meeting (agenda)

The size of a night's agenda has very little to do with the length and importance of a Board of Supervisors' meeting.  On this night, the Board learned that although Strausser Enterprises was seeking a phasing change in the Riverview Recreation Center portion of the golf course community, Strausser no longer owns the land.  It was conveyed a year ago to the master homeowners' association.  The BoS has rejected the phasing request and sent it back to the Planning Commission because the plan did not state the name of the property owners and because all of the phase is not complete.  Please read Tom De Martini (the report has the wrong final motion) Morning Call for more details.

Also on this night, the Forks Historical Society was awarded an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the framing of a historic (Forks) photo exhibition to be hung in the atrium area of the Community Center.  Please read Tony Nauroth, Express Times for more.

The Board also learned that the fire department backpacks and air cylinders are out-of-date and not up to code.  The Board and the audience was told by Supervisor Nicholas that because all Township finances are being carefully watched, there is capital money to release for safer equipment for the fire fighters. 

And, KMRD is back!  They have filed an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of their substantive challenge to Forks zoning ordinance.  The Township has submitted a brief.  Oral argument should be sometime this fall (and probably) in Philadelphia.

Public Comments (non-agenda) - None

Supervisors' Remarks:

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 $8,185,310. 

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

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Howell - reported that at last week's August meeting, the committee discussed graffiti in general, unregistered cars in public areas, and whether special ordinances versus the existing nuisance ordinance are needed.  At this point, new ordinances are not being recommended by the committee as long as there are prompt responses to complaints.  Also, discussed were:
    • A capital purchase for the fire department.
    • Financial reporting by Suburban EMS (will be every two months).

Supervisor Nicholas commented that the end of Cherry Lane is turning into a dump and she couldn't get her bicycle through.  She noted that there is a truck there with 2004 expired plates.  It was recommended that she send an email to Township Manager Schnaedter and he will forward it to Chief Dorney.

  • Public Works - Supervisor Chuss - reported that the committee worked on processing the the quotes for the RFQ response.  They reduced the number to the top 15 and then invited the top five to a series of interviews this week.  DPW Director Mark Roberts added that since July 17th, the committee has been reviewing statements of the 43 submissions and narrowed them to the top five.  They were interviewed this week.  The committee will further narrow its recommendation for the Board to the top three at its next meeting on September 8th.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Egolf - explained that because of vacations and other commitments, only he, Miller, and Nicholas were present at the August meeting.  The committee took no actions and will meet in September to "pick up where we left off."  Nicholas added that CMX will come to the 9/17 (BoS) meeting to present the progress on the amphitheater plans.  She asked that progress drawings be sent to the committee for review before they go before the full Board.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Miller - said that the Township newsletter (Forks Quarterly) is at the publisher and should be in the mail to township homes in 10 days.  Howell remarked that the draft showed that advertising has come a long way since there are ads from businesses outside of Forks.  It shows that Forks is "an economic force for advertisers."
  • Finance and Administration - Supervisor Nicholas - reported that the committee met and reviewed the monthly Township finances and that with all departments tightening their belts, the Township is doing better than the budget projections.  She hopes for even better results at year end.
    • Nicholas asked that Schnaedter send a memo to Supervisors to determine what they want re. "going paperless."
    • Stockertown and the fire department agenda procedures will be reviewed at the next meeting.
    • The police pension plan was reviewed.  According to Finance Manager Farley, "it took a big nose dive last year."  They are pressuring the vendor to maximize opportunities to recover and at this point 30% of the losses are recovered.  The hope is that the rest will come back "slow and steady" as well.
    • The fire department request for capital funds was reviewed (see agenda item below).

The next meeting is scheduled for September 9th at 5:00 PM.  Howell noted that Public Safety also brought up the fire department contract with Stockertown.  He said that a Stockertown councilwoman contacted him for an early resolution to the contract so that they can budget for it especially since they may want a contract for police coverage as well.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter - reported that he spoke with the senior project designer for Braden Airport's permit application and the plans will be submitted to the Planning Commission (PC) and discussed at their September 10th meeting.  Nicholas asked for a copy of the plans.  Schnaedter said that they are keeping the current footprint for the terminal and remodeling.  Dean Turner, PC Chairman asked that Supervisors send any airport questions they have to him.

Schnaedter also asked the Board to suggest times and dates for interviews with the architectural firms (for the DPW garage).

Schnaedter said that there is a "kickoff meeting" with CMX scheduled for a 6 PM public workshop before the September 17th BoS meeting.  The PC and Recreation Board are invited.

Engineer's Report - Hay -  reported that he received PennDOT's comments on the Meco/Sullivan traffic light yesterday.  A major Verizon pole on the Leiser and Coldwell Banker property must be relocated.  It may delay the project by three months.  The plans have been submitted to the Simms for their driveway change.

Solicitor's Report - Kline - reported that the two solar power ordinances, one for zoning and one for the SALDO, he prepared were submitted to and approved by the PC.  The BoS will formally get them shortly.

Kline said that he also prepared two historic resource ordinance that were also approved by the PC.  The PC is waiting for the a map and list being prepared by Georgeann Wambold and Larry Kitson.

And, Kline reported that KMRD has filed an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of their substantive challenge to Forks zoning ordinance.  The Township has also submitted its brief and oral argument should take place sometime this fall (likely) in Philadelphia.


Resolution #090820-1 Colosi Company LLC Inter-municipal Liquor License Transfer (Karl Kline, Township Solicitor) - This resolution for the second request for an inter-municipal liquor license transfer was approved in a 5:0 vote.  The public hearing was held on August 6th.  (Ref. BoS Meeting & Liquor License Hearing - Notes - 8/6/2009

Riverview Recreation Center - Revised Phasing Plan (Fred Hay, Township Engineer) - William Hissim, Strausser Enterprises Construction Coordinator presented the Board with two documents which he said proved that this phasing plan was "nothing new" and had been planned all along.

Howell said that he was the only Supervisor at the PC meeting and was not sure he understood the definition of re-phasing in this context.  He asked that Kline refresh the Board on the history and initial phase of the Riverview Recreation Center project.

Kline explained that Strausser Enterprises obtained approval for the Riverview Estates PRD (planned residential development).  And, although the land for the Recreation Center was not part of the PRD, Strausser agreed to provide the Recreation Center.  In 2005 the Riverview Recreation Center plan was submitted as a minor subdivision - that is, two lots, one with the Recreation Center and a road off of Ramblewood and north of that, lot 2. 

When the plan was originally presented, the developer said that there was no immediate plan to put in the road.  In fact, the planned road was changed to a temporary road to come off of Ramblewood and curve south to serve the Recreation Center.  The road and cul de sac are private roads and one of the conditions of the January 19, 2006 approval was that the developer must provide security for the road and the cul de sac.  There was no phasing plan because there were only two lots. 

Phasing can be important because the Township takes the position that all the improvements are to be completed.  Strausser Enterprises wants to complete Ramblewood.  Both Kline and Hay told him that a phasing plan is necessary and must make sense.  Kline noted, "Whenever we can get Mr. Strausser to complete something, it is always a good thing." 

Mr. Hissim remarked that the road for lot 2 is a paper road until the development of lot 2 is decided.  It, therefore, makes no sense to put in sidewalks.

Nicholas noted that the recreation path of phase 1 is not completed.  Hissim said that it is not wanted because it would allow public access to private property.  Kline said that there is an obligation to complete the plan as approved.

Hissim said that the Recreation Center was deeded a year ago to the master Riverview Homeowners' Association.  Nicholas noted that the recreation path should have been removed from the plan (at a meeting of the BoS) before the land transfer.  Kline said that a plan was submitted and representations were made that all improvements had been made but they were not.  Hissim said that they must now talk to the Homeowners' Association.

Kline noted that the problem with Strausser Enterprises is that if they get permission to do something and when they don't want to do it, they don't do it.

Turner (PC) said that the turn-ins (either removed or finished) for the road were only 1/2 of the PC motion.  Hay offered that one of the reasons for the returns is to get it out of the Township right of way.

If the phasing is approved by the BoS, Kline noted, and all of phase one is complete, Keystone will inspect  it and only if everything is done will they issue a certificate of completion.  Without phasing, Strausser will have to maintain that portion of Ramblewood forever.  Kline added that the association could come in and make a case for why the path should not be put in.  Howell said that the reason for the recreation paths was to allow people to walk or bike to the Recreation Center.

Turner said that a plan cannot be accepted with a temporary line since it is not complete.  The conveyance of lot one has complicated the issue.

Hissim said that he has a letter from Jan/Feb/Mar 2008 from the Homeowners' Association that they do not want the recreation path because they do not want the general public accessing the Recreation Center.

Nicholas made a motion not to accept the phasing. 

Kline remarked that in all the meetings he and Hay have had over this issue, they were not informed that Strausser no longer owned the property.  He felt that it would be appropriate to table this and meet with a representative from the association and Hissim at the next BoS meeting.

Nicholas withdrew her motion.  Egolf made a motion to table any action until the owners of the recreation land can be before the Board to answer all the unanswered question.  Nicholas seconded.

In discussion Turner said that normally he is a signer of plans.  He wondered how this can be a legal plan if Strausser doesn't own the land.  (The plan indicates Strausser is the owner).

Kline said that it a very good question since plans must be signed by owners.  Planner David Billings suggested sending the whole thing back in order to have the rightful owners sign the plan for the Planning Commission.

After more discussion, it was determined that the lack of time could result in a "deemed approval."  Nicholas made a motion to reject the plan and send it back to the PC because it did not state the name of the property owners and all of phase 1 is not complete.  Egolf seconded and the motion passed 5:0.

Athletic Fields Grading Bid Award - (Supervisors) - The bids to grade the new athletic fields (the five acres between the Community Center and College Park Estates) are in with Gateway Landscaping at $17,000 as the low bidder.  Bids were as high as $49,000 and Egolf wondered what the Township was not getting at the low bid that it would get at the high bid.  Hay said that the low bid meets the specifications.  Roberts said that the area was mowed this week and is ready to go.

There was a discussion about the naming of the new park area as it has been referred to as College Park Athletic Fields because the land was donated by the developer of College Park Estates.  Gloria Miller (a Dewalt) suggested that it be named Dewalt Park since the Dewalts gave up a lot of money in the sale because of the land swap (between the developer and the Township).

Miller made the motion to accept the low bid.  Egolf seconded and the motion passed 5:0.


Forks Historical Society – Photo/Art Proposal (Rick Schnaedter, Township Manager) - Stanley Price, President of the Forks Historical Society, Gloria Miller, VP, and Margaret Karpin, director of the society's photo-art committee, approached the Board to address their proposal to hang historical photos in the Community Center atrium and to learn the Board's response to their July 2nd presentation.

They hope to start with six 24"x36" matted and framed works.  The cost per photo enlargement is approximately $100-$200.  Ten works matted and framed would run nearly $4,400.  The Society said that they would welcome any assistance offered to defray the cost for what will be an exhibition permanently displayed on Township property in the Community Center atrium area.  The displayed objects may be rotated and changed.  If the exhibition is no longer wanted, it will be returned to the Historical Society.

Nicholas noted that there is distortion in blowups.  Mr. Price explained that there is a decrease in clarity anytime something is enlarged. 

Chuss said that his biggest issue is how much the Township can help.

Egolf wondered if since the this is an artistic enhancement to the recreation building, if recreation monies could be used.  Mr. Price offered that the Historical Society is considered a "passive recreation item."

Ms. Karpin noted that it will be a legacy from the Historical Society to to inform kids of Forks' past 250 years.

Turner (PC Chairman) questioned the use of glass in the area.  Egolf offered that Plexiglas is lighter. 

A motion to fund the Forks Historical Society Photo Art Proposal for an amount not to exceed $5,000 was made by Egolf and seconded by Chuss.  It passed 5:0.

The website Historical Page will be updated with meeting times and contact information. 

Please read Tony Nauroth, Express Times, for more detail.

Release of Capital Funds for Fire Department purchase (Supervisor Nicholas) - Nicholas explained that all capital spending was placed on hold until half way through the 2009 fiscal year.  The Finance & Administration Committee has said that the Township budget is doing well.  The Fire Department has equipment that is out-of-date and not up to code.  They are backpacks and air cylinders.  Nicholas said that the new ones have a lighted gauge to show how much air is left in the cylinder.  She summarized that if the firefighters are not safe, the Supervisors are not doing their job.  A motion to release $47,000 for the updated equipment was made.  Kline asked if this is a COSTARS item and Chief Bryan Weis said that although the vendor is the sole producer, the items are under COSTARS.  The motion passed 5:0.

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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