Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
March 5, 2013
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, Robert Ewbank; Vice-chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisors, Raymond Banach, Larry Flansburg, Robert Melvin; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Treasurer, Scott Myer; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Bill Schneider, Chad Stewart, Tom Lamb, Luis Bocaletti, Rob Llewellyn, Beth Brelje, Lisa Mickles, and approximately 12 members of the general public.
AGENDA: The agenda was amended to add an executive session as well as adding a possible letter to the Matamoras Borough Council and a letter to El Paso Pipeline Company regarding using our roads to turn trucks around. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the agenda. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: None
MINUTES: Minutes of the February 5, 2013 regular meeting were approved on a motion by Supervisor Banach. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
TREASURER’s REPORT: Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report stating that January-February has been a slow month as far as income. Income today is $44,000. We have received our first real estate tax distribution. Expenses for the month were $167,000. We have $118,000 in the bank so we will make it through the low point. Vice-chairman Fischer moved to approve report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Police Chief, Chad Stewart gave the report for February. There have been 151 calls for service and 5,537 miles patrolled for the month. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if the sex offense charge was something that was pending. Chief Stewart said it was listed as offenses known to police previously and was charged this month. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the police report. Motion seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Tom Lamb gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for February stating that on 2/3 they put the new truck in service and transferred equipment, on 2/6 they had truck maintenance on Engine 2, on 2/7 they had the drill with Matamoras, on 2/11 there was a structure fire in Westfall, on 2/12 they had their monthly meeting, on 2/ 13 they have hazmat training for eight members, on 2/20 they had Engine 2 training, on 2/22 driver training on Engine 2, on 2/24 standby in Westfall, and on 2/27 a pump drill on Engine 2; for a total of 198 man-hours and 14 1/2 equipment hours for the month. Supervisor Flansburg asked about the truck going to Huguenot. Mr. Lamb said they let them take the truck and Huguenot has insured it and submitted a letter to the Department stating the Mill Rift Fire Department is not liable in any way. They will get the Truck back sometime in May.
Rob Llewellyn gave the Westfall Township Fire Department Report for February reporting 6 Motor Vehicle Accidents, 4 Commercial Alarms, 1 Residential Flooding, 3 Structure Fire, and 1 Mutual Aid Structure Fires, 1 Smoke investigation, 1 Mutual aid traffic control, and 1 Mutual aid car fire. Total calls YTD 38, total man hours 204.83. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for February stating that they continue with equipment maintenance. They worked on road shoulders, repaired drainage problems for heavy rains, trimmed trees and brushes out of right of way for sight improvement on Blue Stone Blvd and Cummins Hill Road. Mr. Schneider attended the Road Task Force meeting. The crew replaced stop signs on Rose Lane and Reuben Bell Drive. Repaired sander at Bonhams, ordered 113 ton of anti-skid and had 100 ton of salt delivered, checked roads for black ice. Cleared pipes and ditches for possible heavy rains. Mr. Schneider met with Tim Balch on January 18, 2013 regarding the right of way sight distance to be cleared on Cummins Hill Road and the issue of road repair along the streams. Spoke to Pioneer regarding the foot of Heaters Hill about bank stabilization. Set up an appointment with the Conservation District about road projects in and along streams. Will coordinate with Tim Balch representative of DCNR. There were 6 snow storms that required maintenance and 1 ice storm. Mr. Schneider stated he was in contact with Aileen Sullivan from Orange & Rockland regarding the poles in right of ways and they are not a high priority at this point. He will be speaking with her again when she returns from vacation. Mr. Schneider also took a road tour with Supervisor Flansburg. Supervisor Banach moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman stated he did not have a report for February however there was limited activity. Supervisor Banach said there was one zoning permit issued with fees of $200.
CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.
Reappointment of Doug Jacobs: Supervisor Banach moved to reappoint Doug Jacobs as Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board. Supervisor Banach stated that at the re-organization meeting Mr. Jacobs was appointed temporarily because he had previously represented individual clients before the Zoning Hearing Board and it was felt that Mr. Jacobs should only represent Westfall Township. He agreed to do that in the future and therefore he is being reappointed. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Jack Wertz – Paddlers Point: Jack Wertz, Developer of Paddlers Point introduced himself to the board. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed that Mr. Wertz is here in an informal manner without filing a formal application to the township or paying any fees, and that Mr. Wertz is here to test the waters. He is not to rely on anything that is said here this evening nor will the Township be bound by it. Mr. Wertz said approximately 5 years ago he received approval to build a 44 unit townhome development behind Kmart, however with the turn in the market the project as approved is not viable. Mr. Wertz is here tonight to pitch an idea that he feels would benefit both him and the Township and that would be to create garden apartments on the site. His broker seems to feel this type of project would work, and his engineer feels that the burden to the school district would be reduced as compared to the approval he has now. Mr. Wertz said this is very preliminary, he does not have all the details yet but he would like to have his Attorney get in touch the Township Solicitor and have his engineer send a more detailed plan to the zoning officer to see if anything can be resolved. Supervisor Banach questioned if Mr. Wertz had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Rendleman. He did and there were things that Mr. Rendleman pointed out. Supervisor Banach questioned what type of problems they ran up against. Mr. Rendleman said there were several issues with the zoning ordinance. Mr. Wertz is looking to put in several multi-story apartment buildings however the limitation in the ordinance is for eight units in each building and they are proposing nine buildings to hold 135 units. He also does not have enough acreage to provide 30% of the area as open space, and unless it’s a senior apartment he needs a 100 x 200′ grassy area as a play area within that 30%. Mr. Rendleman is not sure that can be satisfied. He does not believe the height restriction is a requirement; however the parking does not meet the ordinance. The ordinance also requires 15,000 ft.² of land area for each unit which would be approximately 48 acres and there is only 10.5 acres available. Supervisor Banach said then it would be an extreme high density use for what we have. Mr. Wertz said that is correct.
Mrs. Green said Mike Gable, Mr. Wertz’ Engineer was in today and suggested a friendly curative amendment however she does not have the details. Supervisor Flansburg questioned what the difference was that they’re going to get the senior apartments on that property. Mr. Rendleman said there is no difference they received a conditional use for that project. Chairman Ewbank said Mr. Wertz would like to put up the same number of buildings just a different use. Supervisor Banach asked for an impact study on the school district commenting that with 135 apartment units as opposed to 44 townhomes the impact could be significant. Mr. Wertz said his engineer did preliminary details and felt that the impact on the school district would be less.
Solicitor Bernathy they said this is not a conditional use approval process, this is a change to our ordinance. Further commenting that a curative amendment is adversarial and we don’t want to be adversarial. They’re going to need to change our ordinance by amendment, rather than saying the ordinance is unconstitutional. Solicitor Bernathy questioned who Mr. Wertz’ Attorney is. It is Jason Ohliger. Solicitor Bernathy said he knows Mr. Ohliger and can reach out to him.
Supervisor Flansburg asked if it has to be 135 units or if it’s possible if he can reduce the number. Mr. Wertz said in order to make this a viable project he would need 135 units. Mr. Wertz explained the plan to the Board and Solicitor. Discussion followed regarding ingress and egress, school district impact, fire department satisfaction, and sewage availability. Discussion was held on the acreage. Mr. Wertz said he owns the whole parcel and he is in contract with Mr. Mandelbaum to sell five acres. Solicitor Bernathy felt that Mr. Mandelbaum had Stormwater detention and a picnic pavilion that could possibly be on part of the property that Mr. Wertz is speaking of. There were no further questions or comments for Mr. Wertz. He will have his Attorney reach out to Solicitor Bernathy.
Mill Rift Fire Department Audit: Supervisor Banach said this was tabled from last month’s meeting and he believes this is a time to request an audit of the Mill Rift Fire Department for the past five years. Solicitor Bernathy questioned at whose expense stating that this would be very expensive and if they are requesting a forensic audit that would be even more expensive. Supervisor Banach said it should be at the expense of the fire Department. Scott Myer confirmed that the cost would be approximately $3-$4000 per year and a forensic audit could double that. Mr. Myer also stated five years is a long time to do an audit on. Supervisor Melvin questioned if the District Attorney’s office performed an audit. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not want to comment on what the District Attorney may or may not have done. Commenting that he is just concerned with the expense. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if this is the right time or if we should wait for the District Attorney. Solicitor Bernathy said this is prudent but he goes back to who is paying for it. Supervisor Banach said if the township pays for it then it would come out of the portion of contribution that we give them. Mr. Myer said nonprofits do not have to be audited. Tom Lamb said they are audited annually and he can give the supervisors the information. Supervisor Banach questioned who is doing the audit. Mr. Lamb could not remember his name. Supervisor Flansburg requested copies of the past few years as well as a copy of the current year once they get the records back from the DA. Supervisor Melvin said he agrees that something needs to be done. Mr. Lamb questioned if this is for all fire departments or just Mill Rift. Supervisor Flansburg said it is just Mill Rift due to the recent problem that they had and questioned whether or not Westfall Fire Department is audited. They are not; they do however have financial statements prepared.
Letter from Pike County Commissioners regarding Pike County’s 200th Anniversary: Chairman Ewbank read the letter that was received from the Pike County Commissioners regarding their 200th Anniversary to be held in 2014. The supervisors suggested forwarding this letter to the Matamoras Westfall Historical Society to see if they could prepare something for both municipalities. Mrs. Green will send them a letter making that request.
PEMA-DAP-2 (Designation of Agent Resolution): Chairman Ewbank said this is a form from PEMA designating an agent to act on behalf of Westfall Township for Hurricane Sandy relief. Supervisor Banach moved to approve Resolution 2013–1. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor. Chairman Ewbank relayed to the board that all of our information as in and done and we will be receiving approximately $12,000 from the state for relief.
Memo from Chris Wood regarding DEP Regulations: Chairman Ewbank said we have a memo from Chris Wood dated February 12, 2013 regarding some of the requirements of new DEP regulations. Supervisor Banach said that he attended a meeting at the Conservation District on February 28, 2013 and Chris did a wonderful job explaining the new regulations further stating that this is really going to limit people that are trying to build on existing lots. Supervisor Banach further stated that DEP did this by executive order rather than going through the proper channels and that he feels that Mr. Wood should get together with the Mrs. Green to write a letter to DEP signed by the supervisors.
Mashipacong Island: Supervisor Banach said he would like the board to give authorization to Solicitor Bernathy to review the 1992 Agreement to see if there’s any way we can get out of it. Discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy will review the agreement.
Letter to Matamoras Borough Council & Police Commission: Renegotiation of agreement & Notification of 2014 Budget allocation: Supervisor Banach said at the last meeting a gentleman spoke about the Regionalization Agreement being only good for three years, and he believes it’s time to get the ball rolling on how much money is going to be allocated for 2014 and possibly renegotiate the split to 50-50. Further stating we need to get together with them right now rather than wait until August. Supervisor Banach feels that we should have a meeting with Matamoras and the Police Commission. Supervisor Melvin questioned if we knew right now how much we could afford and 2014. Solicitor Bernathy commented that he thought that was the purpose of getting together in August in order to get a jump on the budget. Supervisor Banach said he feels the time is now to get together and not wait until August further commenting that every time he reads the paper it seems that Matamoras is short $6,000. Further commenting that the roads need to be maintained and we have cut the road department and the office and we seem to be cutting everywhere to fund one department of the township. Chairman Ewbank said following the last meeting Mayor Clark suggested we meet quarterly. Further discussion was held. Supervisor Flansburg asked Solicitor Bernathy if he was in agreement that the 2008 regionalization agreement was only good for three years. Solicitor Bernathy said he would need to look into that. The supervisors decided to send a letter to Matamoras Borough suggesting either April 18th or the 25th at 7:00 PM. Mr. Myer said part of the financial problem was due to the Dombrosky settlement so in 2014 will be losing $130,000 in expense.
Heaters Hill: Bill Schneider said he discussed the repair of Heaters Hill Road with a few contractors and he believes it could be done for under $5000 and should be done right away. The Conservation District has been down there but Mr. Schneider is not sure what permitting will be required. Supervisor Banach said he believes we should authorize Mr. Schneider to go ahead and get this fixed as long as the amount does not exceed $5000. This will shore up the wall. Supervisor Flansburg asked Mr. Schneider about the lower spot on Heaters Hill as to whether both projects can be done at the same time. Mr. Schneider said the lower spot is stable but he would get costs on both. Discussion was held on what is needed for each project. Supervisor Melvin moved to authorize $5000 to be spent to fix the problem on Heaters Hill Road and Sign Ware Court. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
Public Gatherings – Discussion on Possible Ordinance: Supervisor Banach said this came up because of the people protesting the pipeline. Supervisor Banach stated that we live in America and people have every right to protest and voice their opinion, however we don’t want people parked in the road and standing in the road and he has witnessed people standing in the road and jumping in front of people’s cars with signs; questioning if there’s something the Township can do to save the township from liability. Supervisor Melvin questioned if this was a state road. It is. Chief Stewart said under the vehicle code they are allowed to stand in the road. Further stating that it is dangerous and it’s an awful road to be protesting on but they have every right under the vehicle code. Solicitor Bernathy said you have to be careful regarding the Constitution and peaceable assembly. Also stating that he notices there’s a sample ordinance in the board’s folders, however it notes “…please keep in mind that PSATS cannot guarantee that a model ordinance, job description, or personnel regulation has or will withstand a court challenge.” Solicitor Bernathy said he will look at the ordinance but we have to be careful about the constitutional implications. Supervisor Banach said they’re jumping in front of cars and it is not safe. Debra Banach said just this morning there was a woman standing in the road and you had to drive and opposite lane. Solicitor Bernathy said that she is a witness to the woman violating the law. Mrs. Banach questioned if they should be required to have traffic control. Discussion was held. Supervisor Melvin suggested a permit even if they don’t pay a fee they would be required to follows certain conditions.
Beth Brelje questioned if they step off the road onto the forested area are they then trespassing. Chief Stewart said they would be in the right of way. Supervisor Banach said he just doesn’t want to see the township getting sued for an accident. Chief Stewart said if there is an accident and they are involved they would be charged. Solicitor Bernathy will review the ordinance.
Letter to Matamoras regarding Leaf Pickup: Supervisor Banach said he and Chairman Ewbank were talking and the time will be coming that people will start burning again. Matamoras Borough had given us a proposal before and what the township will propose is that our truck can pull their leaf machine for equal delegation of rights. If any fees are due to Matamoras Borough the township would like to offer in-kind contributions instead. Chairman Ewbank will reach out to the Borough Council.
Possible Letter to Pipeline Company regarding Road Maintenance Agreement: Supervisor Banach said the person that came before us for this has since passed away so we will need to either send a letter or send Mr. Schneider to the pipeline company to get a bond in place or maintenance agreement prior to the trucks damaging our roads. Mr. Schneider will meet with them personally.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION:
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called at 8:06 for Kittatinny and Indian Head Canoe Litigation as well as Open Records Request by the Pocono Record.
Back in session at 8:26 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Banach. Motion seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green, Secretary