Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
October 1, 2013
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm following a Conditional Use Hearing on Paddlers Point-Garden Apartments. 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 (present by speaker phone), Larry Flansburg and Robert Melvin; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present were Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Roadmaster, Bill Schneider, Chad Stewart, Edward Isaacson, Rob Llewellyn, Lisa Mickles, John Dalton, Landa Copertino and approximately 16 members of the general public.
Chairman Ewbank announced that an Executive Session was held on September 24, 2013 at the Westfall Municipal Authority for purposes of possible Litigation.
AGENDA: Supervisor Melvin suggested making an addition to the Agenda to have a discussion regarding sidewalks. Agenda approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Vice Chairman, Fischer and carries with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: None
MINUTES: Minutes of the September 3, 2013 regular meeting were approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin. Motion carries with all in favor.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Chairman Ewbank read the Treasurer’s Report since Scott Meyer left the meeting early. Chairman Ewbank said our third quarter payment has been made to Mr. Katz. He stated we will need a tax anticipation note in the amount of $100,000. We will need funds for this by January 2014 and this was expected and was in the budget. He asked if anyone had any questions.
Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Chad Stewart gave the report for September. The monthly count of offenses known to police were one assault, two rapes, twenty larceny theft, two fraud, one forgery, three recovery of stolen property, three vandalism, six drug possession, one offense against family and child, one driving under the influence, one drunkenness, fourteen disorderly conduct, and one all other offenses for a total of fifty. The monthly count of persons charged for offenses are one assault, three larceny theft, one forgery, two fraud, one vandalism, five drug abuse, one driving under the influence, one drunkenness, two disorderly conduct, one all other offenses for a total of seventeen. The miles patrolled for the month were 6,321. Year to date miles patrolled were 58, 037. Motor Vehicle Accidents for the month were 13 and year to date 142. Calls for service for the month were 199 and year to date were 1,895. Mr. Stewart added that this Saturday the Police Department would be at Home Depot providing fingerprinting for children from 10 AM to 2 PM. They would also be at Kmart on Sunday from 10 AM to 2 PM so anyone with children is invited to come and have fingerprinting done if they wish.
Chairman Ewbank asked Chad Stewart if you would like to elaborate on the speed enforcement evaluator forms he provided to the Supervisors. Chad Stewart stated that at the last meeting the supervisors gave three roads where there were speeding complaints being made. He said he put a radar recorder on Rose Lane, Heaters Hill Road, and Doug Miller Road. He said the information is provided on the reports. He said the count of vehicles, as well as the speeds, are on the reports. In the timeframe for this speeding is also listed on the reports so that it can be seen if there is an actual problem. He said on the front there is a speed enforcement evaluator and when someone makes a complaint a box is put out there. An evaluation is then done to see if an officer needs to be present to provide traffic control. He said unfortunately these three roads do not have any signage. He based the percentage of enforcement violations on a 25 mile per hour speed limit with a 10 mile per hour enforcement tolerance. He said the Rose Lane Report was listed as low. Heaters Hill was listed as high and Doug Miller Road was medium. This information gives an idea so that the Supervisors can decide if they want to proceed with a traffic study on these roads. He advised his officers to patrol these roads to slow some traffic down. Supervisor Melvin said the reports are very helpful. He thanked Mr. Stewart for providing the reports and doing such a good job on the reports.
A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to accept the Police Report. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Mill Rift Fire Department- Edward Isaacson gave the report. He stated that on September 4, 2013 they had a pump test. September 10th they held their monthly meeting. He said on September 11th they had a memorial service for their past Chief at the Mill Rift Cemetery and also painted the trim of the Substation that day. On September 16th they did Substation cleaning and had a false alarm for a structure fire. September 18th they had a pump test with the tanker. There was a controlled burn on September 25th at Pine Terrace. September 28th they responded to utility wires down at Kim Drive and Delaware Drive. Mr. Isaacson also stated they rose over $700 from the coin toss. He thanked all of the Township residents for their contributions and their continued support is appreciated.
A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to accept the Mill Rift Fire Department Report. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Westfall Fire Department- Rob Llewellyn gave the report. He stated that for the month of September there were 2 motor vehicle accidents, 5 automatic fire alarms, 4 investigations, 1 utility wire down, 1 unattended controlled burn and 1 stand by in station. The total calls for the month of September are14 and total calls year to date are 224. He said the EMS calls for September were 45 responses in Westfall Township, 18 responses to cover Milford Ambulance, 3 responses to cover Port Jervis Ambulance and 1 response to cover Blue Ridge Rescue Squad. The total calls for the month are 67 and total calls year to date are 605. Mr. Llewellyn stated they participated in the Warrior Festival with fire prevention utilizing the county smoke house this past weekend. He said they will be doing fire prevention at Home Depot on October 5, 2013, Kmart on October 6, 2013 and DVES on October 10, 2013. He said on September 23, 2013 they held their 1st annual golf outing which had a fair attendance.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Fischer to accept the Westfall Fire Department Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for September stating they have been doing maintenance on Township property and compost area and mowing the right of way. He said they have been doing base and shoulder repair on Cummins Hill and Glass House Hill. Equipment maintenance has also been done. He said they ordered 200 tons of anti-skid and 50 tons of salt. They have also been working on the sander spreader to get it ready for winter weather. He said we are getting millings from Pennsylvania Avenue in Matamoras to use for shoulder work. The millings will also be used to make a pad for future salt shed. Mr. Schneider said that the black topping should be done by the end of next week for Glass House Hill and Reuben Drive. Millings will be put on Fire Tower Road next week also depending on the contractors. He suggested the Township send a thank you letter to Penn Dot for their tree clearing services on back road. Mr. Schneider also mentioned that we have talked about the Bushkill Creek about permitting that. It will cost about $5,200 for the culvert pipe replacement just past the steel bridge and the sooner we can do it the better. Chairman Ewbank stated it is his understanding Penn Dot is going to pave that road (Mountain Avenue) along with clearing the brush back. Bill Schneider said that was the original intent but it may be delayed.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Fischer to accept the Highway Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
Chairman Ewbank asked Jodi Hulse to send a letter to Penn Dot thanking them for removing the vegetation along Mountain Avenue. She confirmed she would do so.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman reported that there were eleven permits issued in September which were four building and seven zoning. The total permit fees were $1,667.00.
Supervisor Melvin moved to approve the report. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On desk for review.
Culvert Pipe-Cummins Hill Road: Supervisor Melvin asked Bill Schneider if he has an estimate for this project so that we can decide if we are moving forward. Mr. Schneider said it will probably cost around $10,000. Supervisor Flansburg said if it will not cost anything for engineering then we should get prices. He said Mr. Wisniewski does not want the water in his yard.
Amusement Tax: Solicitor Bernathy stated that as he indicated to the Supervisors at the Workshop Meeting, he has been in contact with the Attorney for Have a Hoot. They are asking for an exemption for the applicability for the amusement tax which was enacted by the Township. Their specific claim for an exemption has to do with their taking the position that they are a physical fitness facility. The Supervisors after having discussed this matter find that this is a family fun center that is not a family fitness center. He said there are batting cages, laser tag, an arcade, parties held there, and sale of food. The food includes hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries, etc. He said he indicated to Have a Hoot’s attorney, Mr. Schneider, as we did with the school district, if they provided us records regarding their admissions that we would accept money in lieu of the tax itself but that would have to be based on records that are provided to us. Solicitor Bernathy said we have taken the position that it is not a physical fitness center unlike the exemption that was claimed by Kittatinny Canoes. Kittatinny Canoes made the argument to the court that they were engaged in interstate commerce. The court found in their favor and against the township indicating they were in fact engaged in interstate commerce.
Solicitor Bernathy stated he will notify Berkheimer the tax needs to be paid by Have a Hoot. He said each claim for exemption in the future will be reviewed on a case to case basis.
Vacation of Road Ordinance-Pond Drive: Solicitor Bernathy said to the Board they have his letter dated August 13, 2013. He said at our last workshop meeting Attorney Stieh who is a resident of the township presented some opposition to the proposed vacation of Pond Drive. We have correspondence from Mr. Stieh dated September 16, 2013. He said to the Supervisors that it is within their discretion pursuant to the second class township code the Township may vacate by ordinance any road or portion thereof located within the Township. There is a procedure that must be followed before doing so. Solicitor Bernathy stated the Supervisors have asked for the Public Hearing to be advertised and scheduled for November but since then there has been additional information for your review. He asked the Supervisors how they would like to proceed. Supervisor Banach said he wants to proceed with the vacation of the road since it is a dirt road. Vice Chairman Fischer said he is not sure whether we should proceed. Chairman Ewbank said he thinks we should have our Solicitor look into the some of the details of Mr. Stieh’s letter. He does not want to see the Township in litigation over this. There was additional discussion regarding the vacation of the road. Solicitor Bernathy said that at the workshop meeting someone from the Fire Department said the road was closed due to winter weather. Bill Schneider said it was closed in the spring because the road was to muddy for travel of emergency vehicles. Solicitor Bernathy said that one of the positions of Mr. Stieh was that the vacation of the road will create two dead ends and that is one less access. He said that what is happening out there in the field is that it is not accessible at times already. Theoretically when it gets wet there are two dead ends. Bill Schneider suggested having a weight limit. Solicitor Bernathy said that would be restricting the travel of emergency vehicles. Supervisor Banach said it is still a dirt road. He said if Mr. Stieh is worried about dead end roads, most township roads are dead end roads. He said it is a dirt road and it is a liability. It is a private development which was taken by previous Supervisors a long time ago and to keep proceeding forward with the abandonment of the road. Supervisor Flansburg said he thinks the road is a liability to the township. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not believe at first glance that there is any claim for damages against the township if the road is vacated because the Supervisors would be enabling legislation which he has read. The Second Class Township Code gives you the discretion to vacate any road. He said they would just need to go through the procedure to do so. Solicitor Bernathy asked the Supervisors if they would like to have him prepare an opinion letter regarding damages and table this to the next meeting. Supervisor Banach asked Solicitor Bernathy if Mr. Stieh and the Association have conveyed to us they are going to sue the Township. Solicitor Bernathy said he inferred that at the workshop meeting. He indicated there may be some damage claim in that the residents of the community somehow detrimentally relied on the Supervisors opening that road to begin with. He said he does not understand, with all respect to Mr. Dalton, how they can incur damages from closing a road that was at one time closed to begin with and only opened as indicated by the Supervisors. He said his preliminary opinion is he would not have a damage claim but that does not mean that legal proceeding are not going to be instituted against the township, of course that is not what that means. If someone wants to bring a lawsuit they can and whether or not there is any merit to them is up to the court. Chairman Bernathy read a part of Mr. Stieh’s letter.
Solicitor Bernathy addressed the board stating they need to make a motion to withdraw the request for the Hearing based upon receipt of opinion from Counsel. Supervisor Banach asked if the meeting has been advertised. Solicitor Bernathy stated that it has not yet been advertised. We were waiting for this evening to confirm moving forward. Supervisor Banach said he is opposed to not proceeding forward.
A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to proceed with moving forward to vacate Pond Drive. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin. Supervisor Flansburg was in favor. Chairman Ewbank and Vice Chairman Fisher were opposed. Motion carries with three in favor and two opposed.
Solicitor Bernathy said he is still concerned about the timing since he delayed the surveyor and he feels the Public Hearing will need to be continued to the December Meeting.
A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to continue the hearing for the vacation of Pond Drive to December 3, 2013. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach. Chairman Ewbank and Supervisor Melvin were in favor. Vice Chairman Fischer was opposed. Motion carries with four in favor and one opposed.
Bill Schneider said we have been maintaining the road with Liquid Fuels Funds. He said it is just difficult to plow since it is a dirt road and salt cannot be applied because it pulls the moisture up on the dirt surface. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Schneider if there are any other township roads in similar condition. Mr. Schneider said no. We have no other dirt roads other than Fire Tower Road and we do not plow it. Lisa Mickles asked how many residents are on the road. Solicitor Bernathy said five or six. He explained this portion of the road has no homes on it. John Dalton explained the situation at one time when the power lines were down.
Burning Ordinance: There was a discussion regarding the scheduling of the Public Hearing for the Proposed Burning Ordinance and adding it to the agenda for the September 23, 2013 Workshop Meeting. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the scheduling of the Public Hearing for the Burning Ordinance on November 7, 2013. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Tractor Supply: Solicitor Bernathy said the Supervisors addressed this at the Workshop Meeting. He said Luhrs is proposing to sell their parcel which had their business on it for many years to a Corporation which is proposing to occupy the current space of the building. The building will not be increased in size. There will be an additional use added to the building which will be the Dollar General. So the public is aware Luhrs will be basically swapped out for Tractor Supply. The other two existing uses the Fireplace Shop and Malamy Vestment will remain. This will all remain in the same footprint. No land development generally is being proposed. As a result the supervisors have decided that they can proceed by applying for a conditional zoning permit and a conditional building permit rather than going through a land development process. They are adding an impervious surface adjacent to the building. It is a poured concrete pad which is non-occupiable space. They will need to apply for storm water permits to make sure they are managing whatever storm water is created by that poured pad which will be approximately 15,000 ft.². They are also adding additional parking to address the Township’s concern. There are 76 current parking spaces and he will be adding additional spaces to make the total 104 spaces. Construction of those additional parking spots will be a condition of the zoning and building permits. They are proceeding under a section that provides for multi-use in this district which is a commercial zone. If there were any sewage permits they would have to be issued. A part of this property is located in Milford Township. He said the predominant development of the property is in Westfall. The law requires that the Township that has the predominant portion of the development issue the permits and approvals so we will put our friends in Milford Township on notice that this is proceeding as a permit process rather than a land development process. We are distinguishing this from any future land development applicants in the sense that this is non-occupiable space and that it is a pre-existing use. Everyone knows that Luhrs has been there for a very long time.
Proposals for Painting at Highway Building/Repair to Municipal Building: Chairman Ewbank read all estimates. Supervisor Flansburg stated the only estimate that had emulsifier for painting was Don Rosencrance’s estimate.
A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to accept the bid for painting the Highway building from Don Rosencrance in the amount of $1275 and the bid for the Township building entrance repair from Tom Lamb in the amount of $1700. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Burning Ordinance: Solicitor Bernathy stated as a follow up from our workshop regarding the ordinance. He said we are in a similar situation with that as we were with the vacation of Pond Drive. He asked the supervisors if they want to move forward and have the hearing in November. He said there are comments made by Supervisor Banach. He has written them on a copy of the proposed ordinance. He said the supervisors need to decide on the changes they have discussed to the ordinance. There was some discussion on who will enforce the ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy thinks there needs to be more discussion on who will enforce the ordinance. Chairman Ewbank said we need to have the enforcement in place before the public hearing in November. Vice-Chairman Fischer agreed. Chairman Ewbank said the only options we have for enforcement are either the police or a code enforcement officer. Supervisor Banach asked if the supervisors could designate a person and a backup person as of January 1. Solicitor Bernathy said they would have to have a title, job description and qualifications to fulfill that position. He said the supervisors can create a position to enforce the ordinance. It is a matter of creating the position and funding the position. He said some municipalities have the fire company issue the notice. He said he can see our fire department is not interested in getting involved. Solicitor Bernathy stated he thinks the person should have some background in code enforcement with some training or experience. Chairman Ewbank said that he and Supervisor Banach had a discussion earlier today. He said we would hire someone for the position and pay them $15 per hour and mileage and they would be more or less on call. Vice-Chairman Fischer added he did not think we would be able to get a trained experienced person for that little money. Supervisor Flansburg stated that he has had experience in the Fire Department and asked if the code enforcement officer could be him. Solicitor Bernathy said it could be as long as there is no other conflict. There was additional conversation regarding the code enforcement officer requirements.
Mr. Hess asked what the fine would be for the first offense. Supervisor Melvin said it would be $50 for the first offense $100 for the second offense and 200 for the third offense.
Solicitor Bernathy said there are copies of the ordinance if anyone from the public would like to review it. He read a part of the ordinance which states prohibited items to be burned. He confirmed with Supervisor Melvin that residents within the triangle can have campfires for cooking purposes. Supervisor Banach confirmed with Solicitor Bernathy that there would be an agriculture exemption in the ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy read the part of the ordinance to Supervisor Banach pertaining to agriculture exemption.
Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with the supervisors that the burning ordinance public hearing would be November 7, 2013.
Discuss details for advertising for Zoning Officer: Supervisor Ewbank stated we need to discuss details for advertising for a new zoning officer since Mike Rendleman has resigned from BIU. He said Mr. Rendleman has agreed to work for the Township as our zoning officer until we find someone else to take his place. Supervisor Flansburg asked Mr. Rendleman if he could come up with a job description so that we could advertise. Mr. Rendleman agreed he could do that for the supervisors.
Westfall Senior Apartments-Map Signing: Jodi Hulse stated that the maps are not present since the bond still needs to be reviewed and approve by Solicitor Bernathy. Solicitor Bernathy stated the supervisors can sign the maps at any time since they already approved them.
Sidewalks: Supervisor Melvin wanted to bring up a discussion regarding sidewalks. He said lots of times we do bonds a lieu of sidewalks and the sidewalks never materialize. He thinks when things pick up in our area and we want to have sidewalks we should change that policy with supervisors so that developers come through and put the sidewalks in. Supervisor Banach said he thinks we should contact the owners who we are holding money for and tell them they need to put the sidewalks in. Vice-Chairman Fischer agreed. John Dalton had a comment regarding the sidewalk in front of Phantom Fireworks. He said that he has seen several times people with their groceries trying to walk back towards Matamoras. Supervisor Melvin said we really need to start thinking about an ordinance for sidewalks.
Schedule “Meet the Candidates” Night: Supervisor Flansburg asked permission of the other Supervisors to host a “Meet the Candidates” Night to be held at the Township Building one evening. This will give a chance for residents to meet and talk with the candidates who are running for Supervisor. He said that Mr. Dotey was present. Supervisor Flansburg said he will purchase the coffee and donuts and send letters out to the candidates. Chairman Ewbank said Mr. Bostinto is running as well. Mr. Bostinto said he is running as a write in. Supervisor Flansburg said he would certainly include Mr. Bostinto. Solicitor Bernathy stated to Supervisor Flansburg to make sure there is a format for the meeting and that the structure of the meeting is uniform and all of the candidates are aware. The meeting was scheduled for October 14, 2013 at 7:00 at the Westfall Township Municipal Building.
Supervisor Flansburg said he noticed Mr. and Mrs. Meyer are present. He stated their issue with the water runoff with the fire department is not on the agenda that evening since he has not gotten a chance to all of the parties involved and have engineer review of the plans. He said it is not on the back burner and we are working on it. Supervisor Flansburg is planning to have more information together and to put the issue on our next meeting agenda. He stated he felt bad that it was not able to be on the agenda that evening. He confirmed with Mike Rendleman that the dumpster cannot be put where the fire department installed the pad.
Letter of Interest-Tina Hess-Planning Board Position: Chairman Ewbank stated read a letter of interest from Tina Hess dated September 27, 2013. He stated the Board will be taking applications and holding interviews for the vacancy positions. Supervisor Flansburg asked the Board if they would like to schedule the interviews. The interviews were scheduled for October 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm at the Westfall Township Municipal Building.
Landa Copertino had a question regarding the flea market behind Wells Fargo Bank. She asked if there has been a permit issued. Chairman Ewbank stated a permit has been issued. She asked how long the permit is for. Mike Rendleman said it does not expire. Edward Isaacson asked about the portable containers. Solicitor Bernathy said they cannot be there.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW and ACTION: None
EXECUTIVE SESSION: None
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 9:18 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.