Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
November 7, 2013
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Thursday, November 7, 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 and Vice Chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisors, Raymond Banach (attended meeting by speaker phone), Larry Flansburg and Robert Melvin; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present were Treasurer, Scott Myer; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Bill Schneider, Ken Zielazny, Lisa Mickles, Beth Brelje, John Dalton, Ken Adams, Donna Schutz, Tina Hess, June Kalsinsky, Attorney Lars Anderson, Robert Bostinto and approximately 22 members of the general public.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Chairman Ewbank states an Executive Session was held on November 4, 2013 for purposes of Litigation.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: Agenda approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Twila Decker suggested the Board approach Matamoras Borough about picking up leafs. Chairman Ewbank said the township has purchased a leaf vacuum.
Beth Brelje asked what the Litigation was for the executive session. Solicitor Bernathy responded Kittatinny.
Chairman Ewbank said we are going to change things up and address Number 1 under “New Business”-Letter from Planning-Conditional Use Application for Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless-Proposed cell tower on Berger Road. Attorney Lars Anderson introduced himself as representative of Verizon Wireless. A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to schedule a Conditional Use Hearing for proposed cell tower on December 3, 2013 at 7:00. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor. Solicitor Bernathy explained the procedure to Attorney Anderson. Attorney Anderson asked if the township does the advertising and Solicitor Bernathy confirmed.
MINUTES: Minutes of the workshop meeting held on September 23, 2013 were approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer. Motion carries with all in favor.
Minutes of the regular meeting held on October 1, 2013 were approved on a motion by Supervisor Banach. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer. Motion carries with all in favor.
Minutes of the budget workshop meeting held on October 7, 2013 were approved on a motion by Supervisor Melvin. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer. Supervisor Flansburg and Supervisor Banach abstained. Motion carried with three in favor and two abstentions.
Minutes of budget workshop meeting held on October 21, 2013 were tabled.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Scott Myer gave the report for October and stated that income is in line with expectations with budget. Expenses are as well. Mr. Myer said that he paid the invoice for the project for the capital roads the day of the meeting.
Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Vice Chairman Fischer read the report which was submitted by Chad Stewart. The report was for the month of October. The monthly count of offenses known to police were two assaults, three burglaries, seventeen larceny theft, two motor vehicle theft, two forgery, one fraud, five vandalism, three driving under the influence, one drunkenness, six disorderly conduct, three all other offenses for a total of forty five The monthly count of persons charged for offenses are one assault, eighteen larceny theft, one fraud, two stolen property, one driving under the influence, three disorderly conduct, one all other offenses for a total of twenty six. The miles patrolled for the month were 5,608. Year to date miles patrolled were 63,645. Motor Vehicle Accidents for the month were 17 and year to date 159. Calls for service for the month were 205 and year to date were 2100.
Supervisor Melvin moved to approve the Police Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Ken Zielazny gave the July Mill Rift Fire Department Report for October stating on October 2, 2013 they had a general fire alarm on Cummins Hill also on October 2, 2013 they had equipment maintenance on Engine 1, Engine 2, and the Tanker. They held their meeting on October 9, 2013 and on October 10, 2013 they had pumping of Engine 1 to the Tanker. He said on October 16, 2013 they checked the equipment and pumped the brush truck. October 23, 2013 they had a class on reviewing all of the equipment on Engine 1 and Engine 2. They had a pump drill at Port Jervis for Engine 1 and Engine 2. Mr. Zielazny said they were donated a five person hovercraft by the Bellmar Fire Department in New Jersey. He said it will be useful in this area if we have frozen ponds and also on the river. Supervisor Flansburg asked if there was a connection to the Bellmar Fire Department. Mr. Zielazny said that someone who knows the fire department told them that we could use a piece of equipment like that in this area. They then donated to our fire department.
Rob Llewellyn gave the Westfall Fire Department Report for October. He said there were six automatic fire alarms, three motor vehicle accidents, three structure fires, one stand-by transfer, one gas leak, three landing zone, three outside investigation, one assist police, one public service, and two brush fires with a total of twenty four calls for October. There are three hundred eighteen total calls year to date. He said the EMS calls were forty two in Westfall, seventeen to cover Squad 33, and one call to cover Squad 28. The total calls year to date is six hundred twenty six. Mr. Llewellyn said we performed fire prevention completed at Home Depot, Kmart, and Delaware Valley Elementary School. They had fourteen members attend training on propane emergencies which was provided by Combined Energy Services. One member completed fire essentials class and Engine 390 was repaired and put back into service about one and a half weeks ago.
Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the Fire Department Reports. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the report for October. He said paving was completed on Edward Court, White Birch, and Reuben Bell Drive. Pocono Spray did some crack seal on Reuben Bell Drive and Doug Miller Drive. They have been working on installing street signs in the township but more need to be done. The plows and spreaders have been being prepared for winter. Mr. Schneider said they have been doing shoulder work throughout the township along with culvert pipe and ditch cleanouts. They have been working on Heaters Hill stabilizing stream banks by installing twenty eight gabion baskets. They have been working on the lower part of Heater Hill and still have about one hundred twenty baskets to install. This may be put off until spring. He said the painting has been completed on the Highway Building. The Highway Department has been performing maintenance on the highway yard area building. Six new tires have been put on the 550 truck for winter. There has been fifty tons of salt delivered. They have one hundred seventy five ton of salt on hand and three hundred fifty tons of anti-skid on hand. Mr. Schneider continued with the report by saying they cleared a tree which was done on Rose Lane. They filled washed out areas on Fire Tower Road. He said Kuharchik Construction brought the township to compliance with signs at traffic lights as requested by PennDot. He also worked on the budget and attended a Road Task Force meeting.
Supervisor Melvin asked Mr. Schneider if the amount of salt and anti-skid we have on hand is enough to get us through a normal winter. Mr. Schneider said we should be good. Supervisor Melvin asked about using the salt as per our contact. Mr. Schneider said we should not have a problem using that amount. Supervisor Flansburg asked if the gabian baskets are along the creek on Heaters Hill. He confirmed with Mr. Schneider he is working according to the permits.
Vice Chairman Fischer moved to approve the Highway Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman reported that there were ten permits issued in October which were five building, one driveway and four zoning. Total permit fees were $10,643 with 1,000 outstanding.
Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the report. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On desk for review.
Burning Ordinance-Schedule a workshop meeting – Chairman Ewbank said we have had some issues with the wording in the ordinance. He asked the Board if we have figured it all out. Supervisor Banach asked if we have the proposed ordinance for advertisement. Solicitor Bernathy said we have asked for some time for comment on this and approve the final form so it can be advertised. He said it was ready to be advertised but the Supervisors decided they needed more time and it was continued until this meeting. He said to the Supervisors that they were each contacted individually and you each gave your concerns regarding the ordinance. He said the Supervisors need to discuss the concerns. Supervisor Melvin said the big issue is that leaves must be burned in a container outside the proposed zone. Solicitor Bernathy said the whole idea is to contain the fire. He said if you do not want containment of the fire that he does not know about regulations in general. He said even outside of the zone your goal safety wise is to contain the fire. Supervisor Flansburg said that we could have a distance from buildings in the ordinance for safety. Solicitor Bernathy said we have that and it is 25 feet. Supervisor Flansburg said that those types of things are containing the fire. Vice-chairman Fischer agreed. Solicitor Bernathy read a part of the proposed ordinance which reflects containing the fire. He said the whole idea of this section of the ordinance is to contain the fire. Supervisor Flansburg said that everything leading up to the actual container of the fire is containing the fire. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the supervisors would like to delete 1A which refers to the container. Supervisor Flansburg said for example he has 4000 cornstalks and he burns 50 a time and they don’t fit in a container. He is on 1 acre and it is not a problem. Solicitor Bernathy said if it is not in the triangle it is still regulated but you just want to delete the container. Supervisor Flansburg said that is correct. All supervisors agreed. Vice-chairman Fischer brought up the Sunday burning regulation. Solicitor Bernathy said we already took that out. Supervisor Flansburg asked if there is a permit requirement for outside of the zone. Solicitor Bernathy said yes. He said there are regulations for bonfires. Supervisor Banach said no. Vice-chairman Fischer said he does not agree with that either. He asked what the definition of a bonfire is. Solicitor Bernathy said there is a definition section and he read the definition of a bonfire. He said it would be considered generally a large fire. He said this language comes from the state. He said it you want to a bonfire regulation we can cross that out. Supervisor Flansburg asked if they bonfire will be allowed inside the zone. Solicitor Bernathy said absolutely not. Solicitor Melvin said fires in the zone are allowed for cooking only. Supervisor Banach asked how this would affect the people who have four or 5 acres right around Price Chopper. He said there was a gentleman who wanted to burn brush down there. Supervisor Melvin said there is no provision for that. Supervisor Banach said we might want to look into that. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the supervisors want to make an exception for a permitting process for the people in the triangle. Supervisor Flansburg asked if that was the reason Mr. Adams was present. Mr. Adams said he does not have that many acres and he does not burn often. Supervisor Flansburg said he thought that Mr. Adams had some things he wanted to burn. Mr. Adams said he burned some of the brush but now it is no longer on his property. The property has been sold. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Adams it he lives in the triangle. He responded yes. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Adams if this ordinance is objectionable to him. Mr. Adams said there’s not much burning going on in this area except for the one person that lives out in front of him and sometimes that person burns insulation and wires which can become a nuisance. He said he lives in Westfall Township not in New York City. He said he has to expect a little bit of smoke from leaves being burned. There is not a lot of burning going on in a part of Westfall Township. He said he does not burn any leaves and he has a lot of leaves. He asked what the Township is going to do when there is someone that lives outside the triangle and they are burning and the smoke is agitating the neighbor. What will be done for that person? Solicitor Bernathy said unless they are in violation of the ordinance there’s not much that the Township can do health wise. Mr. Adams said that is discrimination. Solicitor Bernathy said it is not discrimination since the ordinance is applicable to everyone that lives in the area. He said if it is uniformly applied and it reads well it is not in any way ambiguous. He said outside the ordinance you cannot burn household rubbish, rags, metal, rubber, plastics, tires, carpets, furniture, tin cans, masonry and other similar items. If someone is burning something they should not burn the ordinance is applicable to them and they will be cited. Chairman Ewbank said like your neighbor that burns his plastics off the wire. Mr. Adams said that he was notified on several occasions that he is not supposed to do it but he still does. Solicitor Bernathy read more of the ordinance regarding what is not permitted to be burned. Supervisor Banach asked about if there were a sporting event in the triangle. He said there should be a permitting process for that area. Solicitor Bernathy said he will add an exception that someone can apply for a permit within the triangle. Supervisor Melvin asked who would approve the permit. Supervisor Flansburg said the board would. Supervisor Banach said it would be similar to what we do with fireworks and we would ask the fire department to approve it. Supervisor Flansburg said to Mr. Adams that before there was no way to enforce this and we are working on a plan to enforce it now. Mr. Adams said very rarely does the smoke come toward his house but it blows towards Price Chopper and is probably a nuisance for those people. Beth Brelje asked if inside the zone you could have a chiminea. Supervisor Melvin asked if she would be cooking a marshmallow in it. Michelle Wilkins asked if as long as we cooked hotdogs we would be allowed. Ms.Brelje asked if there was not cooking then the fire would not be allowed. Solicitor Bernathy said you are allowed to grill and barbeque. Ms. Brelje asked if she could still have the fire and sit around with a bunch of friends and chat around the fire. She asked if people could sit around a campfire in their back yard. Solicitor Bernathy said if it is in the triangle the answer is no. He said no fires in the triangle. He said it labels it as such that it is dense and is adjacent to another municipality that prohibits fires. Ms. Brelje questioned again the proposed ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy said she could have a copy of the ordinance to refer to. Supervisor Melvin said that we are trying to prevent the problem of smoke laying in the valley and the town. He said it is a nuisance to Matamoras and a nuisance to the residents of our Township. He said he feels that it is a good neighbor policy. Solicitor Bernathy said that smoke is not coming from a barbecue grilling marshmallows. Chairman Ewbank said they do not burn in Matamoras and if you drive through Matamoras the smoke is coming from Westfall right into Matamoras. Twila Decker asked about the burning of personal documents. Solicitor Bernathy said you cannot do that. There is no burning allowed in the triangle. Donna Schutz addressed the board. She said she does not understand why the burning is not unhealthy for everyone in Westfall and only in the zone. She said there are parts of the Township that will be allowed to burn that the smoke will go over to Port Jervis and they are not allowed to burn. She said she thinks if we are going to have this ordinance should be for the Township and not just one small area. She said that Supervisor Flansburg as corn stalks he likes to burn. She said she has cornstalks she would like to burn also and she has 4 acres. She won’t burn them and that is fine. But she questioned how that is fair. He questioned the fee for a permit. Supervisor Flansburg said he is not sure that we will be charging a fee for the permit and that we just want to know that the fire will be going on. Ms. Schutz said she understands that the smoke bothers a lot of people but why is it only bad for one certain area and not the whole Township. He thinks it should not just benefit a few people. Supervisor Flansburg said he understands Ms. Schutz’s point. He said he thinks the intent is to complement what Matamoras is doing. Chairman Ewbank said it is aimed at that area because it’s a continuation of Matamoras. He said it is a congested area compared to the rest of the Township. Supervisor Flansburg said intent was not to slight anyone. Supervisor Flansburg said that Supervisor Banach has about 60 or 70 acres and there are times that he clears and burns and no one can even see the fire. It does not seem like it should apply to everyone. He said that once we have the ordinance in place and it turns out that out farther there is a problem we can incorporate that area into the ordinance. But we do not want to affect everyone if we don’t have to. Vice-chairman Fischer said the topography needs to be taken into consideration. Ms. Schutz said it is really only two weekends out of the year that there is a problem with burning. Supervisor Flansburg said there are quite a few people using 55 gallon drums to burn trash and those are the types of things that are agitating throughout the year. Ms.Brelje asked how many supervisors live in the zone. Chairman Ewbank said that he lives in the zone. Supervisor Melvin said that he lives in Milford Landing and there is no burning allowed they are either. June Kalsinsky said she has lived in Westfall Township for 54 years and there has never been a problem with burning of any kind. She said she burns kitchen garbage which is paper towels, paper plates, and boxes. She has been doing this for 54 years and now she will not be able to and that is not right. She said she has a lot of pine needles and leaves and she will not be able to burn them. She asked what she is supposed to do with them now. She said this is because a couple of people have allergies and those people should take care of their allergies. She does not have allergies and she is a taxpayer and she does not expect to have to pay for anyone’s allergies. She said she does not burn raw garbage. She said she is now not sure what she will do with her papers since this has not happened in 54 years. All of a sudden now just because a couple of people have allergies we are not allowed to do anything. She said that she had an allergy she would take care of it and she does not expect Westfall Township to take care of her. The board responded with point taken.
Chairman Ewbank asked if there was any more discussion. There was no response. He asked if we would be scheduling a public hearing. Supervisor Banach asked if we would see the draft ordinance beforehand. Solicitor Bernathy said yes. There was conversation regarding when to schedule the Public Hearing. Ms. Schutz asked what she should do with her leaves this year. Supervisor Flansburg said the ordinance will not start until next season. Bill Schneider said the equipment is not ready this year for leaf pick up.
Motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to schedule Public Hearing for Burning Ordinance for December 18, 2013 at 7:15. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Vacation of Pond Drive-A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to schedule the Public Hearing for Vacation of Pond Drive for December 3, 2013 at 6:00. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Mike Rendleman-Temporary Zoning Officer-Discuss details for advertisement for Zoning Officer position-Chairman Ewbank asked if Mr. Rendleman has provided a description for the board to review. Ms. Hulse said it is in the Supervisor folders. There was discussion regarding the job description. Solicitor Bernathy the person should have experience.
Motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to advertise for Zoning Officer Position for Westfall Township. Motion was seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Supervisor Melvin asked Mr. Rendleman to check on the stop signs at Walmart that are missing. He thinks the SALDO plans require stop signs at those locations. He said the one by Dunkin Donuts is also knocked down. Chairman Ewbank said that he has had a woman him on a couple of occasions regarding the numbered lanes at Walmart. She thinks Kmart should have the same. Solicitor Bernathy said it may be in the land development plan. Mr. Rendleman said he does not think so but he will look into it. Chairman Ewbank said that the woman wants it for safety purposes.
Supervisor Flansburg asked Mr. Rendleman a few details of the job for advertisement purposes.
Schedule Workshop Meeting for Paddlers Point-Garden Apts – Solicitor Bernathy said that we had our last proceeding on October 1, 2013 and you have 45 days from that date to make a decision. He has contacted counsel for Paddlers Point and he has no objection to extending the period of time for the supervisors to make a decision.
Chairman Ewbank said he thought we made a decision. Solicitor Bernathy said you did make a decision and he is letting you know that they want to meet with you, as a result of that decision. Is it your intention to extend the period of time or move forward with the decision and have them come through all over again? Supervisor Flansburg asked Supervisor Banach his take on it. He said we needed decision but if they want to talk about it that’s fine. He said if they want to present something new is more than open. Solicitor Bernathy suggested the secretary put this on the agenda for the January 6, 2014 meeting and to call Attorney Ohliger and let him know.
Appointment of Planning Board Members – Chairman Ewbank said the board interviewed three people before our budget meeting. He said we need to appoint two people to the board. Supervisor Flansburg said that we have three people and two positions open. In the past we have taken applicants as they have come in order and we appoint them in order. He said he does not believe changing the policy in mainstream is good for the Township.
A motion was made by Supervisor Flansburg to appoint Jolie DeFeis and Marge Tonkin as Planning Commission Board Members with the stipulation that Jolie DeFeis gives up her position on the Zoning Hearing Board. The motion was seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Supervisor Flansburg asked Tina Hess if she would be interested in the Zoning Hearing Board opening and she declined.
Discussion: Letter to Matamoras regarding split for EPRPD – Supervisor Banach said we sent a letter and he never got back to us so he asked if we should send another letter. Supervisor Flansburg said there’s been some information found that there may have been an agreement and we are still looking into the agreement that supposedly we made that no one seems to know about. Chairman Ewbank said we will table this. Ms. Brelje asked when the initial letter was sent. Chairman Ewbank said October 16, 2013. Solicitor Bernathy that he talked to the solicitor for the Matamoras Borough and there are some issues that you may have in common may be a good cause for you to reach out and meet with Matamoras on a couple of different issues including cable, franchise and transaction tax and composting.
Health Insurance for Township Employees – Ms. Hulse said she just received the new insurance information today. Supervisor Melvin said that we just received notification due to recent changes at the federal government that the health insurance we currently have is being dropped as of December 31, 2013 so we now need to obtain different health insurance for employees. We were just notified of this yesterday and Mr. Myer has not had a chance to review it. He said there are several plans to choose from which could cost the Township $3000-$6000 more. We are not sure yet until we look at the numbers. We had a budget workshop before this meeting and we discussed that we could probably absorb the cost. Chairman Ewbank said we will table this until the December meeting.
Ms. Brelje asked how many employees are provided health insurance. Chairman Ewbank said four. Supervisor Flansburg said that Matamoras Borough is having the same problem. Ms. Mickles said all of the townships are having this problem.
Key for Township Building Front Door for Zoning Hearing Board Chairman – Chairman Ewbank said we have decided to give the key to the zoning hearing Board Chairman since there were a few instances this year with the zoning hearing board not being able to get into the building. Solicitor Bernathy said we thank Bill Schneider for being available on those evenings and letting us in.
Supervisor Melvin made a motion to give a key to exterior door only of the Township Building to the Zoning Hearing Board Chairman. The Motion was seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Discussion regarding renewal of NEPA Membership – Supervisor Banach asked if we get any value out of the money being spent on this membership. We have been a member for the past couple of years. Supervisor Flansburg asked the amount of the membership. Ms. Hulse replied it is $275 per year. Supervisor Melvin asked if we have a representative who attends meetings. Ms. Hulse asked Bill Schneider his opinion. Mr. Schneider said he does not use it. Mr. Bostinto asked if we could table this and he would look into this. Chairman Ewbank agreed to table it. Mr. Bostinto said in respect to the cable franchise fees and the cell tower, he will obtain information for the Supervisors. There was conversation regarding cable franchise tax.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW and ACTION: None
EXECUTIVE SESSION: None
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 8:02 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion seconded by Vice-chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.