Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
September 26, 2012
TheWestfall Township Board of Supervisors held a Special meeting on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 7:05 PM. The meeting was held at the TownshipBuilding on Delaware Drive and La Barr Lane, WestfallTownship.
Those present were Chairman, Robert Ewbank; Vice-Chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisors Raymond Banach, Larry Flansburg, and Robert Melvin; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Bill Schneider, Michael Rendleman, Scott Myer, Carl LaStella, Jason Ohliger, Donna Schutz, Corey Puopolo, William Clark, Michael Barth, and six members of the general public.
AGENDA: Motion to approve the agenda was made by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: None.
Burning Ban: Chairman Ewbank stated we are going to revisit the burning ban, try to formulate an ordinance and present it at our next meeting to advertise for public hearing in November. Chairman Ewbank said he had discussions with the people from Matamoras and feels the questions that were brought up in the past have been answered.
Zoning Amendment – Tattoo Establishments: Jason Ohliger addressed the board stating he was here on behalf of Carl LaStella, the owner of Controlled Abrasions, a tattoo shop formerly in Sussex County. Mr. LaStella is hoping to open a new business in Westfall Township. Mr. Ohliger said he prepared a proposal to make tattoo establishments a permitted use in the C-2 and C-1 zones. They would be happy to pay for the advertising costs to advertise this ordinance for the next meeting. Discussion followed concerning an available meeting date. Supervisor Melvin had concerns about holding a public hearing on the same night of the budget meeting on October 17th . Solicitor Bernathy asked the supervisors that this is something that they wish to do, further stating that the board has allowed for this use in the C-3 zone and now they are requesting it to be permitted in all commercial zones. Supervisor Flansburg had concerns regarding if the business was going to be out of control and unsightly. Mr. LaStella stated his tattoo shop was voted the number one tattoo shop in SussexCounty four years running and that he tattoos people from the FBI, state police, attorneys, doctors, lawyers, and that he is licensed and has medical malpractice insurance. Solicitor Bernathy asked about the state requirements regarding tattoo establishments. Mr. LaStella said the state has no licensing requirements. Supervisor Melvin said the property he is renting has been vacant for years and he sees that he is trying to improve it; questioning what the parking was like there. Mr. LaStella said there are 4 to 5 spots straight on and there is parking in the back where the employees would park. Solicitor Bernathy questioned how many employees they would have. There will be 2 to 3. Hours of operation were discussed which could go until the early morning hours. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if there was going to be 30 motorcycles out there with people drinking beer. Commenting that he welcomes his business But he does not want to make a decision that we are going to be sorry about. Mr. LaStella said he is very careful about his business, he does not tattoo gangs or honor colors. Also stating that he would not be in favor of loitering because that would take away from parking for his customers which would affect money coming into the business. Vice-Chairman Fischer questioned if he made any headway with his landlord. Mr. LaStella answered no, stating Mr. Bary started taking his deposit money as rent. Solicitor Bernathy said the amendment has been prepared and the board is considering it for approval, stating there is a pending ordinance doctrine that would allow for a temporary permit to be issued that would help him to open up sooner. Chairman Ewbank asked our zoning officer Michael Rendleman if he had any input on this. Mr. Rendleman stated his only concern would be parking because there used to be holding tank in the back of the building. The requirement is one spot per 200 ft.² so he would have to know the square footage of the area accessible to customers. Discussion followed regarding the parking. There appears to be a need for seven spots. A permit must be applied for in the parking will be checked. Solicitor Bernathy said the supervisors have to understand that this impacts the whole C-2 and C-1 area, that this is not specific to this property. Solicitor Bernathy asked if this could be made at conditional use in that zone. Mr. Ohliger proposed that it be made a permitted use in a C-2 general commercial and made it a conditional use in the C-1 neighborhood commercial zone. Supervisor Flansburg said that sounded good to him to make it a permitted use in a C-2 and conditional in C-1. The board agreed to this new proposal. Mr. Ohliger is going to work on the proposed advertisement. Supervisor Flansburg moved to advertise this amendment for public hearing on October 17, 2012 at 7 PM. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor. Supervisor Flansburg moved to allow Zoning Officer, Mike Rendleman to issue a temporary permit for Mr. LaStella to open his business under the pending ordinance doctrine. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor. Mr. Rendleman said the permit application needs to be filed and the parking requirements need to be met.
Cory Puopolo – Pumpkin Patch: Donna Schutz, mother of Cory Puopolo stated Cory was still in school and would not be here until approximately eight o’clock. Mrs. Schutz stated they are hoping that they would be allowed to sell pumpkins that they have grown on their property located on Tenth St. in WestfallTownship. Solicitor Bernathy said he has done some research and found provisions that provide for protection of agricultural operations. There is an encouragement for municipalities to develop agricultural operations within their jurisdictions as long as they don’t constitute a nuisance or adversely affect the health safety and welfare of the municipality. There are some conditions. At least 50% of the pumpkins being sold must be grown on their property, and we would need some documentation. Mr. Rendleman asked if this included the other uses they wish to have on their property, such as hayrides. Mrs. Schutz said they are not charging for hayrides it’s just a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. Solicitor Bernathy said it is his understanding that at least 50% of the product must be grown on the property and questions what other uses they wanted to have on their property. There would be the hayride and the sale of cornstalks. The insurance would be a condition with regard to the issuance of the zoning permit. Supervisor Flansburg asked if he knew what the fee would cost. Mr. Rendleman said there is no fee for an agricultural permit. Solicitor Bernathy explained to Mr. Rendleman that he needed to issue the permit pursuant to the direction of the supervisors recognizing the sale of agricultural commodities subject to Purdens 3 PS § 9.5.3. Supervisor Banach questioned if the fee could be waived. Discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy explained to Mrs. Schutz that they needed to keep track of the sales to make sure that 50% of the sales were for commodities grown on their property. Vice-Chairman Fischer moves to direct the zoning officer to issue a permit under the above stated condition of the law, conditioned upon annual documentation to the zoning officer that they’re compliant with selling at least 50% of their commodities which were grown on the property; and subject to the insurance requirement. This fee for this permit will be waived. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
1005 Pennsylvania Ave LLC: Attorney Ohliger said he has been working on the settlement agreement with Solicitor Bernathy and feels that they have addressed all of the Townships concerns. Mr. Ohliger also said that he has a map showing where the fence was going to go to fence in the automobiles. It is attached as an exhibit to the settlement agreement. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if the language regarding the office building in the September 20, 2012 correspondence was deleted and was there a mechanism in place to show that the automobiles in the fenced in area did not remain over 30 days. Discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy asked if they wished to have the 30 day provision applied to those vehicles outside the fenced in area not inside. Supervisor Flansburg asked how high the fence would be. Mr. Ohliger said the fence is to be opaque, will be 6 foot tall and the area of would be subject to the zoning officer’s inspection. Mr. Ohliger said the fence is to prevent the area from becoming an eyesore. Solicitor Bernathy said the boards position is that they don’t want to see the area become the junkyard. Supervisor Flansburg said they would like to do them a favor as they did for the other people they just want them to know where the board is coming from. Settlement agreement will be attached and becomes part of this record. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the settlement agreement. Motion is seconded by supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Lease for Matamoras-Westfall Historical Society: Solicitor Bernathy said the board has the lease and front of them it just needs to be approved. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the lease with the Matamoras Westfall historical society. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Salt Shed: Bill Schneider said that ShoholaTownship is preparing a grant application for four townships, Westfall included and they are requesting a letter of support in favor of the salt shed. Mr. Schneider went over the dimensions of the shed and where was going to go behind the Hwy., building. Supervisor Flansburg questioned what the typical salt order was and if this was a grant with Matamoras. Mr. Schneider said right now we store 100 ton and with this we’ll be able to store 200 ton, further stating that this is not with Matamoras, that grant fell through. Supervisor Banach asked if there was a grant for this. Mr. Schneider said yes this is a grant and we are proposing an in kind contribution to prepare the land in the amount of $3410. Discussion followed. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to have the Secretary write a letter of support. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Monroe Optical – Amended Land Development Plan: Solicitor Bernathy said we have an amended land development plan for Monroe Optical because the first approval included the construction of the one-story facility. After the approvals were granted there was a two-story structure constructed and the second story has been represented as non-occupiable space; so this is not included in any parking calculations. However it did affect the water flow calculations for fire protection. They’ve come to ask that the amended plan be approved to include the second story which is non-occupiable space. Also last evening the planning commission recommended approval of the amended land development plan conditioned upon the fire chief reviewing the flows and calculations. The fire chief indicated last evening that there would be two fire hydrants on site and 1100 gallons permitted from each hydrant. 2200 gallons in total. This is acceptable to the chief. Supervisor Banach said there should be an additional building permit fee for the additional space. Mrs. Green stated they paid for the building permit of 5940 ft.² and that they did pay planning fees for land development as far as the Township fee and escrow fees. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the amended land development plan. The motion was seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Michael Barth commented that he had come in late and questioned what happened with the burning ban. Supervisor Flansburg said that would be revisited at the next meeting.
Budget: The supervisors convened a workshop for the 2013 budget preparation. Discussion followed regarding the proposed police budget prepared by Police Chief Chad Stewart. Supervisor Melvin explained that he requested a scenario to be presented to the supervisors as far as what the department would not be able to do if a reduction by Westfall took place and stated what was presented is what they felt they needed to run the department efficiently.
Scott Myer presented a proposed draft of the 2013 budget along with several worksheets. Mr. Myer explained the overview of the budget that he presented stating that general fund has 15.7 Mills, liquid fuels money needs to be spent on roads, the Katz tax is just that and remains the same, and everything else is basic. Mr. Myer said the general fund budget worksheet shows actual numbers from January through December of 2011, January through September of 2012, also showing the actual budget for 2012 and the proposed budget for 2013. Mr. Myer said there’s a ton of detail here and suggest that the board spent some time between now on the next meeting looking over it and talk at the next meeting about adjusting numbers. Supervisor Melvin questioned the code enforcement line item. Discussion followed. Mrs. green said she and Mr. Myer discussed today how BIU was paid. Mr. Myer explained the income and expense side of the building line item saying it’s hard to determine how much money building permits will bring in. Further discussion followed regarding the residential and commercial fees as well as the expenses paid to third party plan review which we will not have this year. Mr. Myer explained that he prepared a profit and loss for the last four years. Supervisor Flansburg said the last time he and supervisor Melvin met with Mr. Myer he explained something that may make his job easier regarding the liquid fuels. Mr. Myer explained that other townships use the liquid fuels money for projects whereas WestfallTownship uses it to reimburse the general fund for expenditures paid on road projects such as salaries, salt & calcium. Supervisor Banach said that we are just shuffling money. Mr. Myer said that is correct. Supervisor Banach questioned if there was anything we could shift to reduce the general fund millage to 14 Mills so that we did not have to go to court and pay Solicitor Bernathy to request a tax increase to the 15.7 Mills. Mr. Myer said he did not know what that could be done to reduce the rate. Discussion followed regarding the tax collector salary which Mrs. Green said she and Solicitor Bernathy discussed today. Solicitor Bernathy said they encourage you to prepare an ordinance and it needs to be done by February 15th of the election-year. This item is on Solicitor Bernathy’s list of things to do and he is working on it. Discussion followed regarding the highway budget and the reasons for the increase to his budget. Supervisor Banach asked Mr. Schneider how many drivers they have in total now. There are four CDL drivers and eight in total. Mrs. Green said at the next meeting there are two men on the agenda to be hired as part time drivers. Discussion was held regarding checking drivers licenses. Mr. Schneider explained the highway budget to the board. He is requesting a 4% increase for Robert Howard because he is very knowledgeable and deserving of the increase. Mr. Schneider would also like to add the third man, Dick Mai full-time. Stating the roads are deteriorating and they get a lot more done with three-men. There are a few extras in the budget such as a backup generator for Reuben Bell Drive, guide rails for Heaters Hill Road, and a broom rental. Supervisor Melvin commented that he felt a third full timer is needed. Supervisor Banach and Flansburg stated that the roads are mandated by law to be maintained. Discussion followed regarding River Road and Mill Rift. Supervisor Banach said we are required to maintain the roads so we’re going to have to look at the police department and other areas to be cut. Supervisor Banach continued to say every year we’re cutting the Rd., Department and we have to take a look at what we can do to keep the roads safe and keep the people working on the roads safe and up and running. Supervisor Melvin said that if the fire department needs to be cut and the roads are being cut then the Police Department needs to be cut as well and he’s suggesting that although they’re requesting a budget of $390,000 that maybe they can work with $365,000. Supervisor Flansburg said we have to see if the amusement taxes are going to work. Supervisor Banach was explaining that we do not have the buffer if a truck goes down where we need another piece of equipment and that maybe we need to work on putting something aside for that. Mr. Schneider said he’s proposed setting aside $5000 a year for future equipment purchase. Mr. Myer said he did not balance the proposed budget, it is off by $13,000, explaining that the public works budget on profit and loss report is off because it doesn’t include the liquid fuels money and further stated that the supervisors can budget shortfall. There is some money in the budget but we will need to take the tax anticipation note in January. Mr. Myer said this is going to be the toughest year that they’re budgeting for because the Dombrosky payment will drop $140,000 in 2014. Supervisor Banach said we need to start putting money aside for people that are going to be retiring for their sick time. Mrs. Green said we used to put $577 away each year for the highway and administration. Mr. Myer asked if this was for sick time and vacation time. Mrs. Green said we were paying for both but vacation time is not our policy manual. Sick time gets paid up to 36 days. Supervisor Melvin said we should start putting like $750-$1000 aside so that even if we took an $8000 hit at least we would have some money set aside. The board agreed to study the budget and meet again in two weeks on October 17, 2012 at 7 PM. Chairman Ewbank said it will be nice to have the 2012 police budget to compare to the 2013 budget. Discussion followed regarding the police budget, whether or not they are union and what contract they are under. The board is requesting an actual breakdown of their 2012 budget to see budget versus actuals. Supervisor Banach questioned the secretary’s and whether we still need two. Chairman Ewbank said that Mrs. Green has stated there is not much work left for the second secretary and that the township has not been very busy. Discussion followed regarding the building department and the need to close out the outstanding building permits. Mrs. Green said we are working on that. Supervisor Banach said as a board we should be putting more work on the Secretary and less work on Solicitor Bernathy to save legal fees. The next budget meeting will be held October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm.
ADJOURNMENT: The special meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm on a motion by Supervisor Banach. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green, Secretary