Sunday, October 18, 2009

BoS Meeting Notes - 10/15/2009

Regular Meeting (agenda)

On this night, Supervisors voted 5:0 to sign a proclamation in support of Red Ribbon Week Celebration.  They also learned that not everyone wants baseball fields abutting their backyards, that newly elected Senator Mensch is planning to resume former Senator Wonderling's Forks Community Center office hours, and that it will cost the Township up to $20,000 to move the Simm's driveway so that the Meco/Sullivan traffic light can be installed.

Public Comments (non-agenda) -

  • Jan Billings of Falwood Drive addressed the Board in her position as intern to the Easton Area Middle School Counseling Office.  She asked the Board to proclaim its support of Red Ribbon Week Celebration, the oldest national drug (substance abuse) awareness campaign in the nation.  It takes place during the last week of October.  The vote was unanimous to sign the proclamation in support of Red Ribbon Week Celebration and to post it on the Township website as well as on the Township electronic sign board on Sullivan Trail.
  • Eric Konecke of Cosenza Court in the College Park Estates development addressed the Board about the new five acre field between the main Community Park and his backyard.  He said that he just learned that the Township plans baseball and soccer fields for the new space.  Mr. Konecke said that when he bought his home, he paid a $25,000 lot premium for the site because of the "open space" that was behind his house.  He said that the builder told him that nothing was planned for it. 

Mr. Konecke said that baseball fields will be noisy and will bring traffic and that there is no place to park except on the street in front of homes and that the park users will surely use the recreation path to get to the fields.  He said that the fair market value of his home has already dropped by $75,000 and that doesn't include the lot premium he paid. 

Miller said that there is a 94 space parking lot planned for inside the park at the end of Sycamore, that the fields will be "little fields for little children", and that the backstops (and the people) will be near the trees and not near the houses.

Mr. Konecke said that he has an eight year old autistic child who will not be able to use the backyard if there are kids playing baseball in the adjacent field.  He suggested that the builder recouped his money for the donated land from the home buyers (the lot premiums) and now he will never be able to sell his property. 

Mr. Konecke suggested that the five acres be used as passive recreational land.  He thought a dog park would be better than baseball fields and noted that just because the Township has a piece of property, it need not put a baseball field on it.  In fact, he said he is in the park a lot and sees baseball and soccer fields unused.

The field is 300 feet wide by 700 feet long.  Mr. Konecke said that there is no way that with such a narrow field the kids will not be in his backyard.

Chuss suggested that buffering is possible.  He also said that there are a lot of people with two or three kids who would love to have a baseball field near their backyard. 

Nicholas said that she was on the Board when the land was acquired and that the whole purpose was to use it as part of the park.  She said that if Maloney (the developer) mislead Mr. Konecke, that he should take it up with him. 

Mr. Konecky asked that the Board consider options other than baseball for the land.

  • Daniel Tichener of Cosenza Court said that he bought his house 14 months ago and chose it because the back of the house was not obstructed.  He said that he and his neighbors would appreciate knowing what the Township plans there.  He said that at 6:45 this morning he was awakened by the sounds of bulldozers with headlights 50 feet from his back door.  Mr. Tichener added that had he known anything was going to go on the five acres, he would not have bought that house.  He said too, that the living near the park is a "double edged sword" since at night he hears the noise from the speaker system and the lights shine in his windows.  Howell said that the addition it is to be a dusk to dawn park with no lights.  Mr. Tichener asked that the Township consider the residents and their safety and consider making park use be by permit only.   

Supervisors' Remarks: 

  • None

Treasurer's Report - Egolf detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors' meeting.  The debits and transfers were approved with a 5:0 vote.  The Township's current outstanding debt is $8,147,854. 

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 set for October 20th at 8 AM.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Chuss - reported that the committee met on October 13th and discussed:
    • The Meco/Sullivan traffic light
    • Culverts at Sullivan/Newlins and Kesslersville
    • Dewalt fields (the five acre park addition)
    • Braden Park restrooms will be delivered next week and installed
    • Lieb Road extension - now on hold indefinitely
    • Sewer projects - plans for phases 2 and 3
    • The DPW garage preliminary square footage report is about what was expected, 25,000 square feet
    • Per Gary Pulcini (Township financial consultant), financing of the DPW garage is recommended as soon as possible - that is as soon as the amount needed is known.
    • The next meeting will be on November 10th at 7:30 AM
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Egolf - said that because of Columbus Day, there was no meeting in October.  The next meeting will be on Monday, November 9th at 6 PM.  Topics to be discussed include the cooperation between the Athletic Association and the Recreation Board and the completion of the long range plan.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Miller - said that there was no October meeting because of Columbus Day.  The next meeting will be on November 9th at 5 PM.
  • Finance and Administration - Supervisor Nicholas - said that the committee met last night and discussed the 2010 budget.  She said, "It looks pretty good."  The next meeting is on November 11th at 5 PM in the Municipal Building.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter - said that he newly edited version of the Comprehensive Plan will be available to the Supervisors on their shared drive tomorrow (or early next week).  Schnaedter reported, too, that Senator Mensch intends to resume former Senator Wonderling's office hours in the Community Center.  Mensch will be there on October 27th from 9 AM to noon.  Also, Schnaedter said that "staff" will visit Mensch as there are several funding issues that could use his cooperation.  Finally, he said that he will be preparing a preliminary program report for the Board on the new DPW building.

Engineer's Report - Ryan Christman - said that Supervisors have Fred Hay's written report in their packets.   Howell asked if all the permit applications for the Meco light have been submitted to PennDOT.  Christman said that they have and that the hold up is an answer on Verizon.  He will talk to Hay about it.  Keystone has been calling the permits manager every few days.  Howell asked that he communicate via email to Schnaedter - who will forward it to the BoS. 

Howell also asked if the grading on the five acre parcel has been completed to Township satisfaction.  Christman said that it has after the contractor returned to touch up some high and low areas.  Mark Roberts (DPW Director) said that he met with the contractor and there will be no surcharges for the remedial work.  The first section is seeded but the rains have stopped the rest of the seeding until next week. 

Solicitor's Report - Kline - reported that both lawsuits authorized by the Board against Strausser Enterprises have been filed.  There has been no answer yet from Mr. Strausser. 

Kline also gave the Board a "heads up" that the Planning Commission (PC) has approved the Riverview Recreation Center phasing plan. It will likely be on the BoS agenda for the first November meeting.  Nicholas asked if there was a representative of the Riverview Homeowners Association at the PC meeting and was told that there was.  In fact, Kline said that he was pleased that they came to discuss the issues and that they were in agreement with the PC conditions, including the changes to the plan notes - as well as to the deadline of the end of June 1, 2010 to get all the work finished.  Completion of the wearing course on the parking lot and the recreation path spur are wanted by the Homeowners Association and are required by the approved plan.  Kline said that both the Homeowners Association and Strausser Enterprises were represented by their attorneys and that "a lot of the open issues" were thoroughly discussed. 




Restoration of Simms Property (Meco Road) (Ryan Christman, Keystone Engineering) - Mark Roberts, DPW Director said that there will be 18 full size pine trees removed and it will cost approximately $6,000.  There will be another $7-8,000 for the driveway and $4,500 for the fence to replace the trees.  The DPW will remove the tree stumps and install the driveway.

Nicholas remarked that the Meco/Sullivan light will be the most expensive in the Lehigh Valley.  She noted in discussion that the Township put in Leiser's new driveway as well. 

Schnaedter asked for authorization to proceed as long as the cost does not exceed $20,000.  He said he would hate to delay the project another two weeks.

Chuss asked where the money is coming from and was told that it will be either from the general fund or the capital improvement fund.  PennDOT will not issue the permit without the driveway being moved. 

Howell said that Schnaedter should not take any action until the first PennDOT "movement" at the intersection.  Egolf offered that the Township needs to know that this is the end of it.  He said that he is worried that something else will "pop up" and the house will need to be moved. 

Schnaedter said that he will verify that the Verizon issue is taken care of and that this is the last thing required. 

Mrs. Simms was present and acknowledged that she will sign the paperwork.  She said too, of the fence instead of trees, that they want immediate privacy and do not want to spend "another 29 years waiting for trees to grow."  The vote to proceed was 5:0.

Executive Session - There was no Executive Session.  The meeting was adjourned

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