Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
April 6, 2010
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, April 6, 2010
at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, James Muir; Vice-Chairman, Lester Buchanan; Supervisors, Robert Ewbank,
and Paul Fischer; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Treasurer, Scott Myer; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Building Inspector, Shawn Bolles; Assistant Police Chief, Eric Stewart; Bill Schneider, Rob Llewellyn, Ken Zielazny, Marilyn Rosenthal, Debra Banach, Christina Robin, Rachel Hendricks, Bob Bostinto, Michael Barth, Ken Adams, Rollin Cook, Jackie Cook, Bernie Swartwood, Roland MacDonald, Dan Kroger, , and approximately 35 additional members of the general public. Supervisor, Raymond Banach was not present.
AGENDA: The agenda was approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carried with all in favor.
Roland MacDonald asked when cleanup day was. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said it is on the agenda for discussion.
Ken Adams said he is not in favor of a burning ban. He has a lot of yard debris on his property to burn and he wants to do it with the assistance of the fire department. Mr. Adams suggested having two months in the year open to burning, but he opposes a complete burning ban. He said there is too much forested area within the township. Chairman Muir said it is not so much the burning that is a problem, it is the smoke. Commenting that if you are burning and it is a nuisance to your neighbor than that is a concern. He personally has no problem with it. Mr. Adams said he has a neighbor who burns electrical wiring and he has not complained because he doesn’t want a burning ban.
Mike Barth asked if the board is contemplating putting a burning ban in the township. Stating that if burning is not allowed people are going to have to pay to get rid of it.
Jackie Cook said she has a neighbor who is burning plastics and other items and he leaves it burn all night long. She doesn’t think she should have to close her windows on a nice evening because of the burning. Discussion followed.
Vice-Chairman Buchanan said there are enough laws on the books. We do not need to have another law. Also who is going to enforce it?
Supervisor Fischer said a lot of people are afraid to approach their neighbor; however an effort should be made. If that fails than you may have to go to the law. Mrs. Cook said if she makes a complaint the neighbor gets very vindictive.
Chairman Muir asked Asst. Chief Stewart if a complaint could be enforced. Chief Stewart said no because there are no restrictions on burning.
Shawn Bolles said there are restrictions in place in the fire code. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Bolles to give a synopsis of what the fire code restricts. Mr. Bolles stated that if it is going to be an outdoor burn it has to be in a container or contained so it can not get away from you. You have to have an extinguishing source at the site, you have to be attending the site at all times, and it has to be 25 feet away from any structure. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the unattended fire would be a violation. Mr. Bolles said yes it would be and is enforced by the township code enforcement officer. Solicitor Bernathy asked if we accept anonymous complaints. Mr. Bolles said as of January 2009 a complaint on a violation is not public record. Solicitor Bernathy asked if there is anything in the fire code that says what you can burn. Mr. Bolles said there are laws under the Department of Environmental Protection; however they do not come when called. Mr. Bolles added that he gave Supervisor Ewbank regulations that are used in Dingman Township successfully.
Bob Bostinto suggested publishing the guidelines in the newspaper.
Chairman Muir asked if the same neighbor continues to violate what can be done. Mr. Bolles said it is a summary offense punishable by up to $1,000.00 a day fine.
Christina Robin feels it is a great idea to educate the public but questioned how much money is going to be spent in legal fees to put a ban into effect.
Chairman Muir said it is not the boards’ intention to spend a lot of money.
Mr. Bolles said if it goes into enforcement the fees are paid for by the offender.
Mr. Bostinto questioned what Ordinance # 151 is. Solicitor Bernathy said this is not a new ordinance. There was an error in the advertising of the original ordinance so we need to re-advertise. This is for the unfunded debt loan in the amount of $125,000.00.
Supervisor Ewbank moved to close the public comment. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carried.
MINUTES: The minutes of the March 2, 2010 meeting were reviewed and approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Buchanan, seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carried with all in favor.
TREASURER’s REPORT: Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report for March stating that real estate tax money started coming in. The bankruptcy has been finalized and the debts have been paid as of March 31st. Motion to approve the treasurer’s report made by Supervisor Ewbank. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Supervisor Fischer gave the March report submitted by Chief Stewart in which there were 232 calls for service with 7,915 miles patrolled. Chairman Muir questioned what type of vandalism we were experiencing. Asst. Chief Stewart said youths were out smashing light poles and there were destruction of mailboxes. Six different people are being charged with $6,000 worth of damage. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Rob Llewellyn gave the Westfall Township Fire Department report for March reporting 4 medic alarms, 4 standbys, 3 MV accidents, 4 mutual aid structure fire, 1 smoke investigation, 2 brush fires, 1 EMS assist for a carry out, 1 landing zone, 1 chimney fire. Total calls for the month 22. There were 384 training hours for the month and 33 ambulance calls. Ken Zielazny gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for March reporting a work night on 3/3, monthly meeting on 3/9, standby on 3/7, mutual aid in Sparrowbush on 3/14, work night on 3/17 and mutual aid to Station 39 on 4/5. There were 44.5 total man hours for the month. Supervisor Fischer moved to accept the reports. Motion seconded by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for March stating that the department had their last winter storm on 3/3; started shoulder work on Heaters Hill, removed the sanders and plows from the equipment and sent a letter to Penn DOT regarding the lights being out on Reuben Bell Drive. Mr. Schneider said now the overhead lights are out at Price Chopper also. He attended the Road Task Force Meeting. Vice-Chairman Buchanan thanked Dan Kroger for donating a metal toolbox for the back of one of the town trucks. Supervisor Ewbank moved to accept the highway report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Mike Rendleman gave the report for March stating that there were two building permits and one zoning permit issued. Fees were $779.00. Shawn Bolles asked if he should continue to
go through the property maintenance code or set up a meeting with the board to go through it word for word. The board directed Mr. Bolles to continue to go through the code. Vice-Chairman Buchanan asked Mr. Bolles if the house in Bell Manor has taken care of the garbage. Mr. Rendleman answered by saying that part of the problem has been taken care of. The loose garbage has been removed, but the dumpster is still there. He has been in contact with the homeowner. Supervisor Fischer moved to accept the Building / Zoning report. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and carries with all in favor.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: Vice-Chairman Buchanan announced that they are still continuing the parks and recreation portion of the plan and than it will be put out for approval. The next meeting is April 19th at 6:00 pm. Supervisor Ewbank moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.
Act 47 Monthly Report: Solicitor Bernathy stated as of March 2, 2010 Judge Thomas from Federal Bankruptcy Court signed the order confirming the Township’s bankruptcy plan as well as the Act 47 Recovery Plan which amounts to final disposition of the bankruptcy plan. As Scott Myer indicated the township’s accumulating debt has been paid as of March 31st. Solicitor Bernathy continued by saying the monthly status report under the Act 47 Recovery Plan is as follows: The Township is operating within the confines of its budget and continues to meet its financial obligations. Attached to this report is a profit and loss statement for March 2010. The Township continues to provide essential services and is otherwise compliant with the Recovery Plan which has been approved by the Bankruptcy Court on March 2, 2010. The Township is otherwise in compliance with the settlement agreement reached with Katz and now an order of the Court which was approved by the United States District Court. Supervisor Fischer moved to accept the Act 47 report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Website / Alex Cena: Township resident Alex Cena addressed the board and the residents and offered to volunteer his services to host a website on his server. Vice-Chairman Buchanan questioned Solicitor Bernathy if there would be any problem with that. Solicitor Bernathy said nothing came to mind that would pose a problem. Mr. Cena will get together with Lisa Green to obtain information to add to the site.
Lease for Downstairs Office Space: Solicitor Bernathy stated the board has a lease agreement that he has prepared to lease the downstairs office space to R & L Business Concepts. This will consist of the downstairs portion of the building which is approximately 1000 square feet, including a two bay garage. The rental fee would be $800.00 per month. The use of the premises is for a no impact office only. The office would be similar to an internet business. The space can not be used for anything illegal. Solicitor Bernathy explained what the lease entails. The tenant has reviewed the lease and would like to take occupancy as soon as possible. A question came up relating to no smoking language. Solicitor Bernathy stated the building is posted accordingly and that a sign can be placed downstairs. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to approve the lease. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Master License Agreement: Tabled.
Road Material Bids: The three following bids were received for Antiskid:
Eureka Stone Quarry: $11.00 per ton. $14.50 per ton delivered for a total cost of $14,500.00.
E.R. Linde Construction Corp: $ $8.75 per ton. $14.25 per ton delivered for a total cost of $14,250.00.
G. F. Edwards: $10.20 per ton. $15.80 per ton delivered for a total cost of $15,800.00.
Vice-Chairman Buchanan questioned if we had to take it all at one time? Solicitor Bernathy asked if that was specified in the bid. It was not. Vice-Chairman Buchanan explained that they used to order the material as needed, not all at one time. Stating that if we have to take it at one time this could present a problem. Vice-Chairman Buchanan asked what was budgeted for antiskid. Mr. Schneider thought it was $10,000. Supervisor Ewbank asked if we can haul it ourselves. Supervisor Muir asked about contracting it out to be it hauled. Mr. Schneider said we can haul 7 ton at a time. Vice-Chairman Buchanan stated concern over the wear and tear on the truck. Further discussion followed. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to reject all bids and re-bid asking for incremental delivery. Solicitor Bernathy stated we could table the bids and take them under advisement. You can uniformly contact each bidder by letter and ask for a bid for incremental delivery. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to withdraw his initial motion. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to table bids to ask for incremental delivery. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Cleanup Day: Vice-Chairman Buchanan moves to have cleanup day on May 8th between 8:00 am -1:00 pm. Charges will be $10 per car, $20 per truck and $30 large truck. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Armed Forces Day Parade: The Supervisors will attend the annual Armed Forces Day Parade to be held on May 15th at 12:00 noon. The secretary will send a letter confirming attendance.
Discussion of Potential Zone Changes: Solicitor Bernathy stated the Comprehensive Plan meetings have given a blueprint for the future of the township and suggested the public get copies and review it. The meetings have been going on for over a year and have not been well attended, although once changes are made to the zoning ordinance and subdivision and land development ordinances people have a tendency to come to meetings and comment. However it is too late at that time. Because of the suggestions in the comprehensive plan the Supervisors are considering identifying certain zones within the township which include the Route 6 & 209 corridor as well as Delaware Drive as potential zones for Commercial activity. Some zones that are going to be considered were previously zoned commercial and were changed in the early 90’s. At this point this is for information only. Alex Cena questioned when the comment period is over and how do you get a copy of the plan. Solicitor Bernathy stated the next meeting is April 19th and everyone is welcome to attend. Once the plan is finalized we have to go through an approval process with public notice and with hearings so an opportunity to comment is available. Solicitor Bernathy also stated that commenting at that time is problematic as opposed to having the public get involved at the inception of the plan. Vice-Chairman Buchanan offered his comprehensive plan to lend for review. Bob Bostinto asked if was available electronically. It is available through the Pike County website. Christina Robin asked what time the meeting was and how much public comments weigh. Vice-Chairman Buchanan answered it depends on the comment.
Fire Hydrants: Legal Opinion on Responsibility for Clearing of Snow: Vice-Chairman Buchanan said that the Westfall Fire Department questioned whose responsibility it was to clean the hydrants after a snow storm. The Water Authority was asked and they wrote back saying it was the fire departments responsibility. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the hydrants are in the right of way suggesting that this would be similar to the maintenance of a sidewalk. He will give a legal opinion at the next meeting. Mr. Bolles said the building code states the hydrants must be kept clear for the fire department. Rob Llewellyn said that fees are paid per hydrant to the Municipal Authority and feels that they are responsible. Bernie Swartwood said he posed this question many years ago and was never given an answer; however in Milford the water authority clears the hydrants. Further discussion followed.
Ordinance # 151: Solicitor Bernathy said a motion needs to be made to re-advertise this ordinance because language was omitted on the original advertisement. Supervisor Fischer moved to re-advertise Ordinance # 151. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and carries with all in favor. The hearing will be scheduled for May 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm.
Zoning Amendment Height Restrictions: Attorney, Douglas Jacobs addressed the board stating that the Zoning Hearing Board as well as his client requested that he ask the Supervisors to amend Section 802 of the Westfall Township Zoning Ordinance applicable to the maximum height restriction. Mr. Jacobs said that the Zoning Hearing Board heard two variances recently for the Hampton Inn and the Westfall Township Fire Department with regard to the maximum height restriction and they feel it would be better suited for conditional use/land development plan applications. Mr. Jacobs said the PA zoning law concerning variances makes it difficult if not impossible to demonstrate a legal hardship that would warrant the granting of a variance. It would seem that the proper venue for requesting an increase in the maximum height restriction would be with the township Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors through a conditional use application. Mr. Jacobs said the Zoning Hearing Board only sees the application the night of the hearing and does not have resources available to them to aid in their decision. Chairman Muir said this will be taken under advisement and thanked Mr. Jacobs.
Burning Ban: Supervisor Ewbank said he is in support of the burning ban, but does not want it to apply to the whole township; mainly the residential areas surrounding the Borough of Matamoras, specifically Bell Manor and the area surrounding Tenth Street. Supervisor Ewbank said last evening he witnessed someone burning on Tenth Street and there was a lot of smoke that went over to Matamoras, noting that there is a burning ban in the Borough. Supervisor Ewbank went on to say that New York completely banned burning in October of 2009 citing reasons why it was banned, what was contained in the smoke, and what should not be burned in a burning barrel due to the toxins. Supervisor Ewbank said it is a health issue more than anything else and that he has had several residents approach him regarding imposing a ban. There are several websites that he needs to look at and this is just a proposal at this time. Supervisor Ewbank suggested using equipment from Matamoras to pick up the leaves.
Christina Robin stated her objection to the proposal.
Compost Facility: Supervisor Ewbank stated over the weekend he witnessed vehicles with New York and New Jersey plates using the facility. He did check with them and found out they were Matamoras residents but he feels that they should be made to check in at the office before going in to dump their debris. Supervisor Ewbank suggested posting a sign. Chairman Muir asked Bill Schneider what his feeling was. Mr. Schneider said it is up to the board. Discussion followed. Mike Barth asked if there was any enforcement ability to keep them out. Supervisor Ewbank said there is a sign saying it would be policed. Assistant Chief Stewart said they could give them a citation for scattering rubbish which is a crimes code violation. Further discussion followed. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said this can be discussed all day long but if you do not put someone out there to enforce it you will only punish the honest people that use it. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said it is not a problem for the men that are maintaining it. Chairman Muir asked what to do with the commercial users. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said that they discussed charging the commercial users. Bob Bostinto suggested hiring someone to post out at the site. Mr. Barth asked if there is a problem with it. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said the people that maintain it do not have a problem with it.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION:
Shay Planning Module: Resolution 2010-1 – Chairman Muir said that the Planning Commission has approved this and asked what action the Supervisors need to take. Mrs. Green said the Board of Supervisors needs to approve it also so that she may file it with the DEP. The board approved it in the past when a Component 1 module was submitted however it was found that a Component 2 module was necessary. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to approve the module. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called for Jones Partners pending litigation at 8:37 p.m.
Executive Session canceled at 8:38.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Ewbank. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green
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