Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
April 2, 2013
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were 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, Ed Isaacson, Luis Bocaletti, Lisa Mickles, Steve and Bobbie Height, Twila Decker, and approximately 16 members of the general public. Chairman, Robert Ewbank was not present.
AGENDA: The agenda was approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: None
MINUTES: Minutes of the March 5, 2013 regular meeting were approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
TREASURER’s REPORT: Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report stating that $118,000 of real estate tax has come in for March. The first quarterly Katz payment was made and our expenditures are under budget. Supervisor Banach thanked the Secretary, Roadmaster, and everyone else involved with keeping expenditures under budget. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the treasurer’s report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Police Chief, Chad Stewart gave the report for March. There were 173 calls for service and 6,409 miles patrolled for the month. Vice-chairman Fischer said one thing that came up at the last police meeting was to take another look at the loitering ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy asked Chief Stewart for his thoughts on this. Chief Stewart said that the main issue is during the Delaware Valley football season. There are a lot of complaints from Wal Mart, the Milford Landing area and the Staples Plaza where there are a lot of retail thefts, vehicle damage, multiple fights, and vandalism. This is happening when the kids are supposed to be watching the football game but go off school property instead. Chief Stewart said if he had the loitering ordinance with some teeth in it, it would help in moving kids along. Solicitor Bernathy asked if these areas were all private property and whether or not Wal Mart posted the property, further questioning if Chief Stewart knew if Wal Mart partnered with municipalities in these situations. Chief Stewart said he expected they would. Supervisor Banach said that we are now asking for ordinance to control private property by asking for our Police Department to push people along on private property. Solicitor Bernathy said this is his initial point. Chief Stewart said it is not Wal Mart calling the police for this situation its people calling from the parking lot to say that a shopping cart was just flipped over onto their car. Discussion followed with Chief Stewart saying that if there’s no law behind it it’s hard to move people along who have been lingering around for two hours. Supervisor Banach asked if we have the loitering ordinance would he move along the pipeline people who are protesting up on Cummins Hill road. Chief Stewart said no, they would not, they would use discretion. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if there was something other than loitering they could look at. Chief Stewart said he is not aware of anything. Solicitor Bernathy questioned a nuisance ordinance. Further commenting that there needs to be an area of self-policing by these private property owners in which they can put the signs up and enforce it with the use of their loss prevention officers. Supervisor Melvin said part of the issue is that Davita Drive and Milford Landing Drive have kids hanging out on those roads and laying down in the medians. Supervisor Banach stated that the Kmart Plaza pays for private security and that Wal Mart should do the same. Supervisor Flansburg questioned whether the kids were Westfall residents or out-of-towners. Chief Stewart said most of them are from out of town. Supervisor Flansburg suggested putting pressure on the Delaware Valley School District, if they are high school kids causing the problem. Further discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy said if you’re going to talk to Wal Mart you should also discuss the retail theft and have them police their own stores. Discussion was held regarding the area by Davita Drive. The supervisors suggested sending a letter to the manager of Wal Mart and the School District to set a meeting. Supervisor Flansburg questioned whether it was true that kids are parking at Wal Mart and walking to school because they’re not allowed to park in the schools lot. Chief Stewart said he believes some are but he doesn’t know how much. Vice-chairman Fischer said if he remembers correctly that was an issue a while ago when Wal Mart would move them along. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the police report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Ed Isaacson gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for March stating that on 3/6 they had a pump drill at Port Jervis training center, on 3/12 they had their monthly meeting, on 3/21 they had the drill in Port Jervis at the training center, 3/24 there were wires down on Delaware drive, and on 3/27 they had a work night at the main fire station. Supervisor Banach questioned whether or not they were able to submit the audit reports that were requested last
month. Mr. Isaacson said the books are still tied up in the criminal case.
Luis Bocaletti gave the Westfall Township Fire Department Report for March reporting two automatic fire alarms, two motor vehicle accidents, one traffic control, one carbon monoxide alarm, and two vehicle fires for a total of eight calls and 36.19 man-hours for the month. They also had training on March 7, 14, 21 and 28. Total man-hours for training were 126. For EMS there were 35 calls for Westfall, 11 covering squad 33 and two covering squad 19 for a total of 48 calls. Mr. Bocaletti said they also have a raffle this month for two season passes at Bethel Woods. Cost of the ticket is $10. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for March stating that they continue with equipment maintenance on Truck Spreaders. He attended the Road Task Force meeting. They continued to repair drainage problems and stabilized the bank on Heaters Hill Road with rip rap. Filled pot holes throughout the township. Had four winter storms to treat and maintain. Met with the Conservation District on various projects and permitting throughout the township. Went to flagger training class as required by Penn DOT. Mr. Schneider, Robert Howard and Dick Mai were all certified. Met with Michael Lennon from Tennessee Gas on Road Maintenance agreement. Michels Construction will be doing the work. Worked on the compost area, and worked with Nelson Tree Service removing trees from problem areas in the township. They put material down on Firetower Road, however it’s going to need a fair amount of work Mr. Schneider said the back side of Pond Drive is closed because of the frost season. In Mr. Schneider’s opinion if the fire truck went down there it would get stuck. They put some material down but will need more. Supervisor Flansburg asked if the state is going to leave a machine on Firetower Road and have us put material down. Mr. Schneider said we are on our own with Firetower Road for now, however when PennDOT works on Route 6 we may be able to get millings for use on the road. Supervisor Banach questioned if we’re getting enough Liquid Fuels money to maintain the road. Or is it better to give PennDOT the road. Mr. Schneider said its 3 miles of road, and does not get maintained during the winter months, however that road was not taken on the tour with the supervisors and if they wish to see it he will show it to them. Supervisor Melvin said at the last meeting there were two jobs they were looking to do if the second one came under $5,000 and questioned how we made out on that. Mr. Schneider said we are good to go on the one project as far as the contractor goes, however the issue down below is waiting for permitting and to see what is required. Supervisor Flansburg moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman said there were eight permits issued for the month. One building, three electrical, one sign, and three zoning. There was also one planning submission. Total fees were just over $8,000 with the balance of $229 outstanding. Motion to approve the building and zoning report made by Supervisor Banach. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.
Letter to County Commissioners regarding Sales Tax: Supervisor Banach said he had the opportunity to speak to Lisa Baker and Matt Osterburg regarding the sales tax and he believes there is misunderstanding over the issue. Milford Borough and Shohola Township sent a response back stating they would not support it.
Supervisor Banach said that the County ultimately would make that decision and that they have the manpower to research the subject. Supervisor Melvin said he believes that Pike County generated several million dollars per year in retail sales. Further commenting that he believes a sit down meeting should be held. Supervisor Banach moved to send the letter. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
CAAC – Signs at Tunnel: Mrs. Green said Lisa Babcock was invited to the meeting to speak on this issue. Twila Decker said that Ms. Babcock could not make it tonight and that she is here in her place. Ms. Decker said from what she understands the signs are here and someone from PennDOT has given approval for them to be put up. Mrs. Green said that the gentleman by the name of Charlie Kingston called from District 4-0 and stated that PennDOT has given approval for the signs to be installed. Solicitor Bernathy said as the Supervisors know we have an agreement with the state and part of that agreement is for the Township to assume responsibility for maintenance and repair of items that are affixed to the tunnel; and the agreement specifically identifies lighting as an example of something that the Township takes ownership of and assumes the costs of maintaining. That agreement does not address signs or surveillance as the case may be, and Solicitor Bernathy has some initial concerns over ownership, maintenance, and repair of any type of surveillance equipment. Questioning what happens if there is damage. Who is responsible for that? Further stating it is not as simple as PennDOT giving the authority for the signs to be placed. Solicitor Bernathy questioned what the sign said. Ms. Decker answered that they say “Attention under Video Surveillance” and that they are white with red lettering. Also commenting that since the Township is responsible for maintenance of the tunnel that it is filthy with graffiti and needs to be painted. Mr. Schneider said they still had paint that was given to them from Home Depot, but they need to wait for warm weather in order to paint it again. Ms. Decker said the areas where the signs are posted on private property have less graffiti than other areas. Supervisor Banach asked if they had video cameras now. Ms. Decker said they do have cameras on private property and that the tapes are available to the police anytime they need to see them. Mr. Schneider said they have purchased the signs and are asking the Township to put them up. Solicitor Bernathy said now that the cameras are on private property and not affixed to the tunnel there is a difference. Ms. Decker said the cameras will be privately maintained. Supervisor Banach questioned whether or not the Township could be liable if people see the signs posted and think they may be safer going through the tunnel now that there are cameras and something happens to them. Solicitor Bernathy said that we certainly need more information from the state as it relates to that issue and the assumption of liability, as well as whether that’s going to be part of the agreement and are they assuming liability as it relates to maintenance of the signs and the placement of those signs. Supervisor Melvin said he and his wife walked through the tunnel today and said that it’s bad that he has seen a lot worse. Discussion followed. Ms. Decker said she had something stolen from her property 10 days ago and feels it was someone from the tunnel. Supervisor Banach said maybe it’s time to tell the state were going to put the gates up on the tunnel. Vice-chairman Fischer said there were even issues concerning the gate. The township will request more information from the State.
Upper Delaware Council – Letter of Support: Mrs. Green said we received a letter from the Upper Delaware Counsel today stating that they would send a letter in support of the town’s position regarding the DEP proposed guidance policy. Mrs. Green suggested that the Township foreword to the Upper Delaware Counsel the letter the supervisors submitted to DEP informing them of the town’s position. Supervisor Flansburg made the same suggestion. Supervisor Flansburg moved to direct the secretary to forward the letter. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor. Ms. Mickles questioned the board on their position. Supervisor Banach said the Township is opposed to the guidance policy and suggested that everyone submit a comment letter to DEP because this will have a great impact on the ability to build a home.
Steve Height – Impound Yard: Steve height is questioning what this is about. Supervisor Flansburg said what he knows about it is that the Heights have a nonconforming use for a garage but not for impound yard. Mr. Height said it is a storage facility, further stating that when he received his nonconforming use permit he was approved for a storage facility as well, commenting that there was a joke that he was not going to have fifty cars there. Solicitor Bernathy said we have the minutes from November 20, 2000 meeting indicating that Supervisor Hess spoke to Mr. Bolles and that he indicated that the garage had been used for several years prior to the zoning ordinance; however there was nothing in writing on the record. The Solicitor at that time said the Supervisors may authorize the zoning officer to do an investigation and decide if it is a nonconforming use and register it as such. Subsequently there were documents regarding a certificate of occupancy for an auto repair shop, a sign for an auto repair shop, and the zoning application for the auto repair. Solicitor Bernathy questioned Mr. Height as to what he was using it for and if it was something in addition to auto repair. Mr. Height answered he is storing cars that he is working on as well as those that he has impounded. However now he is using it are his own vehicles. Solicitor Bernathy said the nonconforming use is for an auto repair shop and if he is storing cars that he is impounding that is a separate use. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if he has been operating there ever since he received the permit since 2000. Mr. Height said yes. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if he had an auto repair shop in Matamoras and whether he discontinued the garage in Mill Rift for any period of time. Mr. Height said he operated in both locations all along and has just recently closed his business in Matamoras. Solicitor Bernathy said Mr. Height does not have approval for a storage yard and if he is storing things there that is a change to the nonconforming use. Mr. Height questioned why all of a sudden this is coming up since he’s been doing it for so many years, commenting that he had a permit for a fence for his storage yard. Mr. Height said since he has been doing this for the past nine years and questioned what he needs to do to satisfy everyone. Solicitor Bernathy said he needs to come before the zoning hearing board for a special exception. Discussion was held. Solicitor Bernathy said Mr. Height can continue to operate as an auto repair shop but he needs a special exception to get approval for a storage facility. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Rendleman for his comments. Mr. Rendleman said that an auto repair garage allows storage of vehicles on the property. Solicitor Bernathy said if it’s commensurate with auto repair. However if he is storing vehicles in addition to the auto repair it is an R-1 zone and it is a change of use.
Supervisor Flansburg said one of the reasons the Township got involved is because Mr. Height made some structural changes to his garage without getting a permit. Mr. Height was not aware that he needed a permit. Solicitor Bernathy explained that it’s not that he cannot do it he just needs to get the proper permitting done. Supervisor Banach suggested they come down and meet with our building inspector to see whether or not they need a permit. Supervisor Flansburg said people are complaining and until they come down to get the permit done people will continue to complain. Mr. Height said everything he’s done to that property has been to beautify it and to clean it up. Mrs. Height said people should have complained about their property years ago when it was much worse.
Supervisor Flansburg said he has seen Mr. Height working out of that garage and questioned when repairs are done how are they billed? Commenting that if they are not being billed from the Mill Rift location that would suggest that the nonconforming use has expired. Mrs. Height said they are billed separately from the Matamoras garage. Solicitor Bernathy said the zoning ordinance also speaks to abandonment of a nonconforming use and this is why Mr. Height was asked if he has continued with the repair garage for the last several years. Proof of that needs to be documented, as well as obtaining the building permit for the structural change, and approval of the special exception for the use of the storage facility.
Supervisor Flansburg asked Mrs. Height if the electricity bill for the garage is a separate bill or if it goes to the house. Further saying they just need to come in and obtain the proper permits so that the Township can let those who are complaining know those permits were acquired. Supervisor Melvin said they just need to clean up the paperwork. Further discussion followed. Mrs. Height said that they were using their property as an impound yard for the past 11 years towing and storing vehicles up there. Questioning why people are complaining now when they have been doing it for that amount of time. Supervisor Banach said they may want to talk to the State and see if they have an occupancy permit for their business off of a State Road.
Supervisor Flansburg said they have to look into complaints and gave the example of the complaints that were received about the Billboard sign of the woman in the bathing suit. The Township had to look into that and found out there was nothing that they could do and that’s what the public was told.
Schedule Workshop for Taxes and Employee Policy Manual: Mrs. Green said this meeting was for the transaction tax and stated that Brian Shaub of Keystone fireworks called today with a few dates that he would be unavailable. Mrs. Green further stated that the Supervisors had set aside the dates of April 18th or the 25th to meet with Matamoras borough however they have not gotten back to us. Supervisor Banach moved to set a workshop meeting for April 18th at 7:00 pm. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Tax Abatement – Keith & Jeanette Hughes: Vice-Chairman Fischer said we have a tax abatement for Keith & Jeanette Hughes in the amount of $290. Supervisor Flansburg moved to accept the tax abatement. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor. Discussion followed regarding the procedure for the tax abatement and notification to the Township.
Renting of Meeting Room to Professionals: Supervisor Banach said that this came about because PennDOT recently had a meeting here with New York State and other professionals at no cost to themselves. Further stating that we should receive a fee for the use of the room because if they went to Best Western they would have to pay a few hundred dollars. Discussion was held. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the use of the meeting room for a fee of $50.00 up to three hours, as well as a certificate naming the township as an additional insured. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
Westfall Township Road Agreement – Michels Pipeline: Supervisor Flansburg questioned if we have our own Road Use Maintenance Agreement suggesting that we use that. Mrs. Green said we did send them ours and they sent this one instead. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the maintenance agreement on the townships form. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor. Mrs. Green questioned if someone will accompany the pipeline representatives when they videotape the road. Supervisor Banach said if he’s available that he will attend.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION:
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called at 8:25 for Kittatinny and Indian Head Canoe Litigation.
Back in session at 8:50 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green, Secretary