Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
April 26, 2012
The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors held a Special meeting on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 7 PM. The meeting was held at theTownshipBuildingonDelaware DriveandLa Barr Lane,WestfallTownship.
Those present were Chairman,Robert Ewbank; Vice-Chairman,Paul Fischer; Supervisors Raymond Banach,Larry Flansburg, andRobert Melvin; Solicitor Robert Bernathy; and Secretary,Lisa Green. Also present were Bill Schneider, Debra Banach, and John Dalton.
Chairman Ewbank announced that an executive session was held for personnel on April 9, 2012 at 2 PM and prior to tonight’s meeting at 6:30 PM.
AGENDA: Motion to approve the agenda was made by Supervisor Banach. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: None
Compost Facility: Supervisor Banach mentioned that one of the township residents suggested having a gate installed. However until such time as we do that Supervisor Banach thought we should have the Matamoras residents contact the Matamoras office to obtain the gate code and have the Westfall residents contact the Westfall office for the gate code this way we would share the burden and could compare notes at the end of the month. Chairman Ewbank stated that one Township resident did suggest getting an armed gate with the gate card and he has contacted someone who gave him a price of approximately $3,500. That would come with a Keypad with a number. It would open when you went in and close behind you. You would also be able to track the usage by the cards. Chairman Ewbank explained the situation that happened with American Tree Service of Port Jervis driving in the back to dump. The supervisors expressed the need to do something quickly. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if the $3500 included electricity. Chairman Ewbank did not know stating the gentleman was going to come up and speak to him. Further discussion followed regarding the gate and the card readers. This cost will be split with the Borough of Matamoras. A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to proceed forward with looking into the gate for the compost facility. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
BIU Presentation: Carl Fregoni, representing BIU “Building Inspection Underwriters” introduced himself to the board stating he is the Regional Manager forNortheast PA. Mr. Fregoni said they been in business 55 years. Out of 2600 Township’s they are in operation in 600. They perform all commercial plan reviews in house. All commercial drawings are typically reviewed within two weeks. Residential plan reviews are typically done in the Township. Mrs. Green stated they have completed eight plan reviews for the Township since April 10, 2012. Mr. Fregoni stated there is an error on page 7 of the contract where it refers to the zoning officer; that should be the inspector or secretary. Certificates of Occupancy must be generated by BIU because they must be. The law says they must be issued within five days. Everything else is mentioned in the Contract. They don’t do Milford Borough,MilfordTownship, Lackawaxen or Shohola. There are two townships inPikeCounty have chosen to use their own building schedule. So the prices in this contract are consistent with the prices around town. The prices in Westfall are considerably different. So if you choose to use our services we can do it either way you can charge used your fee schedule all and we will bill you are fee schedule all that it is up to the governing body. We will bill at our fee schedule. Mr. Fregoni said he did not know what else to say we’ve tried to come in and the in the interim and help you out which we have done. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if BIU made a mistake what the Township’s liability was. Mr. Fregoni said there is no liability. The Township is held harmless, that is in the contract. If there is the problem he will give us the number for his attorney. Mr. Fregoni said these would be criminal complaints and they would be providing an attorney or paying for an attorney up to reasonable amount to the district magistrate. Once it goes up to the DA the Township Solicitor would have to take over. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if BIU is filing criminal complaint with the district magistrate stating that’s not criminal in nature. Mr. Fregoni stated it is a summary offense, Solicitor Bernathy said that is not a criminal complaint subject to 90 days in jail. Mr. Fregoni stated that the board of the uniform construction code would fine up to $1000 per day and each day would be a separate offense. There is no incarceration. If the magistrate fined them it could be appealed to the DA. Solicitor Bernathy asked what Title that is. Mr. Fregoni said it is Title 35: Violation 72.10 903. Solicitor Bernathy said the Township will be either be provided an attorney or compensated by BIU for the township attorney for the building part of the case. Discussion followed concerning the attorneys covering the criminal cases. Mr. Fregoni said they don’t just go out and issue citations. Solicitor Bernathy asked if they issue a violation notice and give them 30 days to abate the violation might be. Mr. Fregoni said sometimes they give them 30 days sometimes they give them 90 days; it depends on what the violation is. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if this covers commercial and residential. Mr. Fregoni said yes it covers everything solicitor Bernathy asked to compare contrast costs for what it is that the Township has now and what it is that BIU is offering Mr. Fregoni said the secretary has cost comparative sheets for what BIU is offering. BIU’s has their fees in the right column and Westfall has their fees in the left other column. Mr. Fregoni they said most Township fees are higher than theirs. Most Townships’ charge an administration fee of 20%, inWestfallTownship there was a commercial job they just reviewed that generated $8500 in fees and their fee was $3500. If you choose us and use your fee schedule we will charge you our fee schedule and bill you based on our fee schedule. Of course we will pay rent. It all depends on how you wanted to. Solicitor Bernathy asked who we have as the face of BIU. Mr. Fregoni said the gentleman that does the residential inspections is on his way toOcean CityMaryland on a golf trip. Paul Bunnell who is here tonight does the commercial reviews and inspections and also some residential inspections. Mr. Bunnell has been with the company for three and half years. Mr. Mistysyn has been with the company for six years, and Mr. Fregoni has been with the company for 18 years. BIU is currently engaged in every municipality in the County besides Milford Borough,MilfordTownship, Lackawaxen, Shohola and Westfall. Chairman Ewbank asked if he were to build the house and called in for an inspection how long would it take for that inspection to be done. Mr. Fregoni he said the inspection would be done between 24 to 48 hours after it’s called in. Discussion was held on the way the inspections were handled. No work is farmed out and re-inspection fees are not charged. Supervisor Melvin asked if BIU makes the recommendation what the homeowner what the contractor needs to do when an inspection fails Mr. Fregoni said they are not allowed to do that. They cannot tell them what to do they can point them in the direction of how to do it to meet code.
Mr. Fregoni said for the record there is something circulating that he would like to get cleared up. They were separated with BIU of New Jersey in 1999. What happened is Cherry Hill NewJerseya municipal official thought that maybe one to make a little extra money and he was called for income tax sedation. They put a wire on him and he asked the president of BIU New Jersey for $5000 to stay inCherry Hillthe president gave him $5000 and he was arrested. That has nothing to do with BIU of Pennsylvania. They have no affiliation with BIU of New Jersey and have not had any affiliation with since 1999.
Supervisor Banach thanked Mr. Fregoni for stepping up in our hour of need. He said he’s met Mick and he has received phone calls from people who were ecstatic with the work performed by BIU. The secretary has been pleased in working with them and bond that has been formed has been very nice. You had one commercial job that was waiting for weeks to go out. There was a nondesign nonstructural issue that you are able to make a comment on the job when out the door 5 min. and they were very proud of that. Supervisor Flansburg said he was here that morning and you came in made something out of the nothing he was looking at and made us look good and you should be commended for that. Mr. Fregoni said that Mike Rendleman are zoning officer already works for BIU and he doesn’t have a problem with my continuing as are zoning officer as long as he is working nights and weekends. But he couldn’t do building inspections inWestfallTownship. Solicitor Bernathy said he would need to think about this Mr. Fregoni said Mr. Rendleman was our zoning officer before BIU may be coming on board. He would not want to take that away from them. Supervisor Flansburg said there are a few contractors in town that would like to have a private number to call for the building inspector. Would it be possible for the contractor to have private numbers? Mrs. Green said she was told not to give out cell phone numbers. Mr. Fregoni said they would have the toll-free number for the office and they can get messages up to twice a day. They don’t make a habit of giving out cell phone numbers. However many of the contractors already have the building inspectors phone numbers. Mr. Fregoni stated we’re not a strange company that’s coming in to town. Discussion followed about the inspections and who will be doing them and that they will be happening during business hours. Mr. Fregoni further stated it’s not that he doesn’t want to be straightforward but he doesn’t want to be giving out all the inspectors’ cell phone numbers.
Albert Van Etten questioned Mr. Fregoni on what days during the week inspector will be available at the Township office. Supervisor Flansburg introduced Mr. Van Etten as one of our contractors. Mr. Fregoni said they will be here two days during the week approximately 2 hours per day. Mr. Van Etten asked if it will be one inspector for plumbing, one inspector for electric, and one inspector for building. Mr. Fregoni said it will be one inspector for all phases of building. Mr. Van Etten asked if they called the 800 number will they get an answering machine. Mr. Fregoni said there are four secretaries in the office who take messages for the building inspectors. They get their messages in the morning and at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. Mr. Van Etten questioned if they had their own application and ifWestfallTownshipwill be using it or the current building application. Discussion Followed. Mr. Fregoni said he would prefer to use BIU’s forms because they include electrical mechanical and plumbing whereas theWestfallTownshipform does not. Mr. Van Etten agreed. The Supervisors stated it would be total turn key, we may useWestfallTownship’s fees for now; but we would use BIU’s permits. Mr. Fregoni said the contract withDingmanTownshipstated that BIU would never charge more than what the Township fees are and it should be in our contract, right now it is not. Supervisor Banach has concerns over the commercial rates explaining what the movie theater had to pay for its building fee and then what Jakes and Yo Cups had to pay on top of that just for tenant fit outs. Peter the manager ofWestfallTownCentergave Supervisor Banach an earful about our commercial fee schedule. Supervisor Banach feels once you own the property and are doing a renovation the building on the building that was already there you’ve already collected money the first time our current rates would be pretty exorbitant. Mr. Fregoni saidDelawareTownshipcovers their own fees,DingmanTownshipused their fee schedule the first year and the second year they adopted BIU’s commercial fee schedule. Mr. Fregoni says BIU will do it anyway we want. He just feels the clause should be in there stating BIU’s fee will never be more than the Township fee. Solicitor Bernathy said if they consider this it should be based on Solicitor Bernathy’s review of the contract and our ability to negotiate any changes that we might like to make. Mr. Fregoni said 90% of the municipalities put in a 20% administration fee which covers rent, lights, and administrative duties. Mr. Fregoni stated there is a municipality that took a 50% fee and it was challenged. Solicitor Bernathy questioned what plan reviews there working on for the Township at this time. Mr. Fregoni said they are current with the plan reviews in the Township that this time they’ve completed each plan reviews and have just completed the plan review for Monroe LBL LLC in approximate 5 days. Mr. Fregoni said commercial plants no longer have to be sent to L & I saving significant time. They have three residential plan reviews that came in yesterday. Solicitor Bernathy stated as far as references are concerned his firm representsDingman Township,DelawareTownship, and Lehman that BIU is providing services to. Mr. Van Etten and questioned who is providing inspection services as of today? The supervisors answered BIU.
Supervisor Melvin moved to eliminate the towns building inspector position as cost cutting measure effective immediately. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor. Solicitor Bernathy asked if that was unanimous. Chairman Ewbank said it is unanimous.
Supervisor Melvin asked to make an additional motion to hire BIU as a third-party inspector for theTownshipofWestfallsubject to our attorneys review of the contract and the fee schedule; with the specific provision that our current code enforcement officer Mike Rendleman does not do any code inspections for BIU within theTownshipofWestfall. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion carries with all in favor.
Westfall Senior Apartment Project: Representatives: Nate Oiler R.K.R. Hess Assoc. Jonah Mandelbaum Warwick Properties Inc., Lara Dodsworth, Esquire.
Nate Oiler Stated they talked about the affordable senior housing project at the last meeting. Solicitor Bernathy stated as he had indicated that the previous meeting the supervisors are not bound by any representations nor should the representatives rely on them for purposes of any review and they should understand that. Mr. Oiler said it is understood. They presented a typical floor plan. Mr. Mandelbaum said he had asked the residents what they thought they should do in a new building because they live there and they encompassed a few of their ideas. Everything is going to be indoors. All the floors are identical, all apartments are identical, the tenants will all have the same apartment. It does not matter how much money they make. Mr. Mandelbaum said as long as they get zoning in place, go to the planning board, go through the process, get approvals and get funding from the state. Then they will get the building permit and pay the fees and move on to build the building. Solicitor Bernathy asked how big the parcel was parcel is. It is 5 acres. Mr. Oiler said there are some zoning issues and they are asking for some direction because it is not a use that is addressed in the zoning ordinance it could be considered a conditional use. Solicitor Bernathy questioned what in their opinion distinguishes this from what the zoning ordinance currently provides for which is age restricted housing. Mr. Oiler said the size of the apartment and the size of the unit which impacts sewer and water, and that significantly lessens the impact of the property Mr. Mandelbaum said this would be a total affordable apartment stating it would only be one bedroom all the units would be identical it would significantly lessen the impact. It would only be half a parking space per unit because not everyone has a car. They would also have to be 55 years old without children. There would be an on-site live-in manager. Solicitor Bernathy asked what the impervious coverage was. Mr. Oiler answered less than 50%. Building coverage to be less than some of the other categories. Discussion was held about the current properties that Mr. Mandelbaum owns with regard to their community parking. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the buildings would have sprinklers. Mr. Mandelbaum answered that they will. The sleeping quarters will have sprinklers. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the fire chief had any issues. The chief asked for fire hydrants. He does not have any issues as long as the building is sprinklered and they have hydrants. Solicitor Bernathy asked about security. Mr. Mandelbaum said the parking lot is always lighted. The whole perimeter of the building has cameras. They are on 24 hours a day seven days a week. The front door is open at 6 AM and locks at 8 PM magnetically you need it key to get in after that. Mr. Mandelbaum said they’ve never had an issue with security. The super is there for all issues. Supervisor Melvin questioned what emergency services would be given. Mr. Mandelbaum said emergency services would have a Knox box they would buy the box and install it and the emergency services would have the key and the master key would open every door in the building. Chief Koferl questioned if each apartment would be tied into the alarm system. Mr. Mandelbaum answered only the common areas. The mailroom was discussed. Garbage was discussed. Solicitor Bernathy asked if there were any impact on any adjacent properties. Mr. Mandelbaum answered there’ve been no complaints regarding noise. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if there are deed restrictions regarding the age. Mr. Mandelbaum answered there could be a deed restriction. Discussion was held on the age requirements. Head of household must be 55 years old. There could be two occupants in the apartment, with no live-in children. Solicitor Bernathy questioned what if they are disabled. Mr. Mandelbaum answered it would be up to the state. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Regulates that. Supervisor Flansburg questioned what is it you need from me today. Solicitor Bernathy answered that’s why he is asking this of them today because this does not fit in our ordinance. They are giving us a breakdown of comparing and contrasting what it is they are in proposing compared to what we have in our ordinance. Supervisor Flansburg said is it us that’s determining what it is they can have and we will be deciding if they can do their project. Solicitor Bernathy answered he is waiting for a decision from the state on this. This is either going to be a use that’s not provided for and if it doesn’t fit they will need to come before the Board of Supervisors and get a conditional use approval through a public hearing; or it is provided for as Age Restricted Housing and they require a lot more acreage and they would have to challenge the validity of the ordinance by a change. Solicitor Bernathy said because this is something we haven’t addressed as Affordable Senior Housing in our ordinance it is a conditional use and the board can set any conditions on the project based on health, safety and welfare upon the project. Otherwise it would be Age Restricted Housing and you’re going to have to challenge our ordinance or come in with an amendment to our ordinance. Mr. Oiler said they would be comfortable with the conditional use application. Supervisor Fischer said they already have Heritage Point solicitor Bernathy questioned if we’re ready have records on heritage point. Mrs. Green will have records on Heritage Point to the Solicitor tomorrow. Discussion was held about Heritage Point. Supervisor Banach said Attorney John Stieh prepared an amendment to the zoning ordinance for Heritage Point. Solicitor Bernathy stated that our zoning ordinance was adopted in 2005. Further stating that this project is so much less impactful. Mr. Mandelbaum invited this any of the supervisors to see the building. The board asked for pictures of the building either by e-mail or to bring them with him to the meeting. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Oiler to talk to him about State and County’s soil and erosion and storm water. Mr. Oiler said they reserved a large area for storm water and sanitation. They’ll have to meet’s all the new NPDES regulations. Mr. Mandelbaum was advised that the areas in the floodplain. He was aware of that. He’s had other projects that were in the floodplain and built the area up. His project never flooded. He said he guarantees he will raise it’s far above where the water will ever be. Egress lighting was discussed. They will be at the meeting on May 1, 2012.
Act 167 Discussion: Supervisor Flansburg said it’s been called to his attention that the 2012 Hazard Mitigation has some back door things in it that would allow them to institute things into our ordinances that we were not aware of, and if you read this paper they called into question Act 167. Supervisor Flansburg has been reading through the hazard mitigation plan which is 280 pages and said he’s been highlighting the things he doesn’t like and it does look like if we don’t implement things within two years they’re going to come in and do them without us. Supervisor Flansburg said he wants the board to be aware of that because he thinks we signed it without reading the whole thing.MilfordTownship rejected it wholeheartedly. Supervisor Flansburg has been working withMilfordTownship. Supervisor Melvin questioned ifMilfordTownship adopted it first and then said no. Supervisor Flansburg said no they rejected it from the beginning. Chairman Ewbank said he spoke to Mike Mrozinski today and then he spoke to Susan Beecher’s office and then he got a call from Karl Wagner’s office. Further stating just because we approved the Hazard Mitigation plan does not mean we approved Act 167. Solicitor Bernathy said that was his understanding. Commissioner Wagner is going to send a letter to that effect, which he will also send to Shohola. If we don’t remain in the Hazard Mitigation Plan and we have a major disaster we will not get any funding. Chairman Ewbank said a lot of people have misinterpreted what it has said; the Act 167 plan has been 4 years in the planning. It has been put out in a draft, reviewed by the municipalities and rejected by most of them. It is back on the drawing board again and is not something that’s going to be forced down anyone’s throat. It is probably two or three years down the road. Supervisor Flansburg said his worry is the last paragraph said if we didn’t implement it within two years they would implement things for us and he felt that this would be binding legally. Chairman Ewbank and Solicitor Bernathy both said they did not believe that to be true. Supervisor Flansburg said there are things in the plan that made him question that like the paying and clearing ofMashipacongIsland. Supervisor Banach said we already do that and added that when we get the letter from Commissioner Wagner he would like to see it. Chairman Ewbank said signing the Hazard Mitigation Plan does not approve the Act 167 plan. But if we take ourselves out of the Hazard Mitigation Plan we give up the right to funding if a disaster occurs. Supervisor Melvin said he needs to look back on his notes but there’s some OEM certification that all of the supervisors need. Chairman Ewbank said its NIMS training and they need 100, 700, and it wouldn’t hurt to take 200, and 800. It’s on the FEMA website. Chief Koferl explained where the classes can be found online. Chairman Ewbank said they are supposed to be running a 300 and 400 class inGoshen the summer.
Tax Collector Salary: Supervisor Banach said this is something we need to take action on because of next year’s election. We are paying an extra $15,750 to the tax collector because of the Katz tax. Supervisor Melvin asked when Katz was done and official. The tax took effect the year 2010. Supervisor Melvin questions if this was discussed during the budget process and suggested looking at what the rate of pay was at that time and adding a 3% increase. Supervisor Melvin then questioned how much time we had to get this done. Chairman Ewbank stated in need to be finished by February of the upcoming year stating it should be done by the end of December. Solicitor Bernathy stated there is a 30 day review period after that. Discussion was held. The supervisors will act on this to reduce the percentage prior to the required timeframe. Supervisor Melvin added that reducing the percentage from 5% to 4% would drop the salary down to approximately $48,000.
File Cabinet Municipal Office: Mrs. Green said she received a quote from ATD American for $245 but their shipping was $99. So Mrs. Green went on the Quill website and found a cabinet for $249.99 with free shipping. Supervisor Banach moved to purchase the file cabinet at a price of $249.99. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Digital Recorder: Mrs. Green said Mr. John Dalton suggested that we buy a digital recorder to record the meetings and at the time she was not in favor of that. However, her tape recorder began eating the meeting tape of April 3, 2012. So she had called several board members to get approval for the purchase of the digital recorder. Supervisor Flansburg commented that Mrs. Green even received a good deal on the purchase. Mrs. Green said that Supervisor Melvin was here at the time of the purchase and that she did save $25 on the deal through the coupon that she had with Staples. The cost of the digital recorder $124.99. Supervisor Banach said that Mr. Dotey supplied the Township with Dragon software. Mrs. Green said that he did however it is not compatible with the digital voice recorder and we need the Premier edition which we were able to purchase from Nuance at a cost of $79.99. Staples was selling it for $129.99 so we got a good buy. Supervisor Flansburg asked if the old recorder ate the whole tape of last month’s meeting or if it’s still usable Mrs. Green answered that some parts are still usable it is just the April 3, 2012 minutes. Supervisor Flansburg asked if you can retrieve information off the tape. Solicitor Bernathy asked how the minutes were done. Through the tape and notes. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mrs. Green to preserve whatever she could from the tape. Motion to ratify the purchase of the digital voice recorder made by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
Temporary Burning Ban: Supervisors and Fire chief agree that it is not necessary.
Loitering Ordinance: Supervisor Flansburg said he did not want us to forget that the police had asked us about a loitering ordinance. Supervisor Banach questioned if the chief provide us what he was looking for. Supervisor Melvin said he thinks what he was looking for was something like what Matamoras has. Solicitor Bernathy said he will find some loitering ordinances that the state has and bring them to our next meeting. Discussion was held about the loitering ordinance relating to Milford Landing and being a security force for the box stores.
Pedestrian Underpass: Supervisor Flansburg said the police have done us a huge favor by stopping there and it seems to have stemmed the problem for now, but we should look into it to see if we can amend the contract or not, because the problem will be coming back.
Resolution 2012 – 2 / List of records to be disposed of: Tabled to May 1, 2012
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider stated Nielsen Tree Service is in town taking down old trees, and the bridge commission has a broom in town and will be back tomorrow. Supervisor Banach said to send them a thank you letter.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION: None
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called at 8:50 PM for Banach Litigation.
Back in session at 9:05 PM.
ADJOURNMENT: Motion to adjourn made by Supervisor Melvin, seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green, Secretary