Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
December 18, 2013
The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors held a Special Meeting on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Westfall Township Municipal Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane.
Those present were Chairman Robert Ewbank; Vice-Chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisor, Robert Melvin; Solicitor Robert Bernathy; Treasurer, Scott Myer; Secretary, Jodi Hulse; Roadmaster, William Schneider; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; John Fuller, Ray Tonkin, Twila Decker and approximately fourteen members of the general public.
Supervisors Raymond Banach and Larry Flansburg were not present.
Approval of Agenda: Chairman Ewbank asked if there were any additions or deletions to the agenda. A motion was made by Supervisor Melvin to approve the agenda. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Public Comment: Twila Decker addressed the board and stated that today she hand delivered a petition to the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors regarding the Burning Ordinance. She said she is aware the Public Hearing will not be on the agenda this evening. She said she would like to bring it up now. She said it has to do with the particular zoning in the triangle area. She stated the petition is seven pages of signatures which were obtained at random. She said it seems to be spot zoning and she believes it should be all of Westfall or none of Westfall. Chairman Ewbank said this will be taken into consideration when the public hearing for the burning ordinance takes place. He said the hearing was scheduled for tonight but it was not properly advertised so it will need to be rescheduled.
Vice Chairman Fischer said he would like to clear something up which was in the Dispatch last week regarding the proposed vacation of Pond Drive. Mr. Fischer said the article stated that he was in favor of the vacation of Pond Drive and he wants to record to reflect that he is not in favor of it. He wanted to vote since he thought it would get knocked down at the last hearing.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
A motion was made by Supervisor Melvin to approve the minutes of the October 21, 2013 Meeting. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
A motion was made by Supervisor Melvin to approve the minutes of the November 7, 2013 Meeting. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Fischer to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2013 Meeting. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
OLD BUSINESS: NONE
Reschedule Public Hearing for Burning Ordinance: Tabled until January 6, 2014 meeting.
Adoption of 2014 Budget:
A motion was made by Supervisor Melvin to approve Resolution 2013-6. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
A motion was made by Supervisor Melvin to approve Resolution 2013-7. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.
Tax Anticipation Note: Solicitor Bernathy said a hearing has been scheduled for an ordinance which has been advertised to approve a Tax Anticipation Note which will be proposed to be issued by The Dime Bank in the amount of $100,000.00 at an interest rate of 1.68%. He said the hearing will take place on December 27, 2013 at 6:00 at the Westfall Township Building. All are invited to attend for comment.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Fischer to approve the Special Meeting on December 27, 2013 at 6:00 for the Tax Anticipation Note Ordinance. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Supervisor Melvin said to clarify; the Tax Anticipation Note is not an addition to the budget. It is to fill the gap until the tax revenue comes in March. It is not in addition to any spending.
GO 24 STORE:
Chairman Ewbank said we have a letter from the Planning Commission regarding the GO 24 Store. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the representative for the GO 24 Store would come forward and give a general over view of the proposal as far as the land development is concerned. Mr. John Fuller introduced himself as a licensed civil engineer representing the applicant. He said the current owners and proprietors of GO 24, through his engineering, have presented an amended land development plan/new land development plan to provide for the expansion of the existing store as well as some site features. He said the store will double in size from its current size in the form of an addition to the existing building. Mr. Fuller said they will be adding two additional pumps which will be designed for CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). He said the site will employ an area for the equipment that supports natural gas for the pumps. Some other additional features to the property which do not currently exist will be underground storm water contention and controls for the additional impervious surface. The site has none at present. The site currently has its own septic but the proposed plan brings sewer from the existing municipal line at the exit of Price Chopper bringing it through the right of way onto the property. Mr. Fuller said those are the major features. He said he has gone through an extensive review with the Planning Commission and the Township Engineer. He said he is open to questions or comments that the board or public may have in regards to this application.
Solicitor Bernathy stated that the Planning Commission of Westfall Township has recommended approval of this Land Development which is subject to a number of conditions which he will go through. He said the conditions are set forth in correspondence from Kiley Associates dated November 11, 2013 which is followed up with additional comments as set forth in correspondence dated December 17, 2013 from Kiley Associates. Solicitor Bernathy stated we have also received a letter from Pike County Community Planning dated December 17, 2013. He read the letter. He then recited some of the major conditions which are outstanding. A letter of adequacy from the Pike County Conservation District for Erosion and Sedimentation control in needed which is required to be provided before any earth disturbance on the site. We are still in need of approval of the Sanitary Sewer System design which is required. We are also still in need of confirmation from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that the connection from the underground infiltration basin and the piping within the Penn DOT right of way complies with their requirements. Solicitor Bernathy said we are also in need of a copy of the Highway Occupancy Permit from PennDOT once the permit has been issued. In addition, there was some concern raised regarding the compressor for the CNG fuel. He said there is specific concern as to the decibel levels which will be generated by the compressor. He said pursuant to the research conducted by Kiley Associates, that research indicates that the noise level for the compressor varies according to its size but on an average would be approximately between fifty and eighty decibels within ten feet of the compressor. The compressor should be enclosed in a steel housing which can reduce the noise level by ten to fifteen decibels in order for the compressor to be in compliance with the Township Ordinances. The area for the fuel compressor should be twelve feet from the east property line and fifteen feet from the south property line. He said according to the Official Zoning Map of Westfall Township the subject property and all of the abutting properties located in a C1 Zoning District according to Ordinance 505 the maximum sound level is 70 dba at any lot line not for residential use and not in a residential district given the potential for 80 dba at ten feet from the compressor. The compressor is recommended to be in a steel housing to reduce the noise level by approximately ten to fifteen decibels. He said the Supervisors may also wish to reserve the right to have the applicant provide a noise study after the facility is constructed to verify compliance with the aforementioned section of the Zoning Ordinance as well as requiring mitigation if the facility is not in compliance in addition to any Zoning issues which may be raised as indicated by the ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy said these are the major conditions and the other conditions are set forth in the two letters which he referenced earlier. He asked if there are any questions or comments regarding the subject plan.
Tina Hess asked if there have been any traffic studies done in that area. She said is it very congested in the area already. Solicitor Bernathy said no, it has not been required. Mrs. Hess said she realizes the area is not much of a residential area anymore but it is still a residential area to her. She said she does not want to hear any type of noise all night long. She said it is not fair what is being done to us with this township. They are allowing everyone to do what they want to do and they are forgetting about the residents in that neighborhood. Solicitor Bernathy said he can assure Mrs. Hess, on behalf of the Township, we are not allowing anybody to do whatever they want to do. He said we are going to make sure they are in compliance with the requirements of the ordinance. He confirmed this is one of the reasons he just went through the decibel requirements. He said this applicant will be held to the requirements as any other applicant would. There are standards that are applicable to these applications and we are going to make sure that they are adhered to. Solicitor Bernathy said we are not allowing anyone to do whatever they want. Mrs. Hess said the Township allowed the new entrance at the cigarette store across from her property. She said why that happened, she has no idea. She said it has been a sore subject with her after that happened. Solicitor Bernathy said he can appreciate that but that is not relevant to these proceedings. Mrs. Hess said she understands it is not relevant but she said Solicitor Bernathy brought up the Township doing everything right and she does not believe it. She said it is bad enough there is gasoline there. Do we really need more things put there. She asked if they are they trying to drive us out of the neighborhood. She said apparently they are. Solicitor Bernathy said he cannot speak for the applicants. He said he is here to make sure there is compliance with the Township Ordinances. Mrs. Hess said the applicant does not live there and she lives there. Solicitor Bernathy said we know and you have been very vocal at all of our meetings. Mrs. Hess said she will continue to be. Solicitor Bernathy said she is entitled and we like to hear from her.
Landa Coppertino addressed the board. She said when the tanker trucks pull into the site they go in Stella and turn right. This blocks the first two pumps and she has seen them ask the customers getting gas to move so they can pull their truck in. Meanwhile the back end of the tanker is blocking Stella Street so cars cannot go in or out. She asked if that would still be the same entrance. Mr. Fuller said this was discussed at the review of the Planning Commission. Mr. Hudak asked to demonstrate that the tanker could come in off of Route 6 & 209 and sit and fill up the existing underground tanks without sitting out on the roadway. He said, yes it is part of the application. Ms. Coppertino said the truck drivers can do that but will they do it is the question. She asked if the delivery truck drivers would be notified of the traffic pattern. Solicitor Bernathy said as far as compliance is concerned the applicant will be aware of the conditions of approval and if the Supervisor approve this tonight, which is up to them, as far as enforcement is concerned they will be placed on notice of the conditions and if the applicant is not being compliant the issue needs to be brought to the Township’s attention. The Zoning Officer will issue a notice accordingly for violation. Ms. Coppertino said thank you to Solicitor Bernathy. Mr. Hess asked if the road is blocked after 6:00 pm who can be called. Solicitor Bernathy said to take a picture or a video on a cell phone and call the township the very next day to inform the enforcement officer. There will be an enforcement notice issued. He asked that the person who took the pictures to testify in case a hearing needs to take place. Mrs. Hess asked why we should be doing the township’s job. Solicitor Bernathy said he is trying to answer the questions. He does not believe there is any municipality that has a zoning officer that works 24/7. He said just like enforcement of the law is concerned; if someone were to violate a criminal statute, at times prosecutors and police need the help of witnesses in the prosecution of a particular charge. Solicitor Bernathy said we cannot afford to pay someone to sit on a twenty four hour basis to look for violations.
Edward Isaacson asked if the Township could enforce time limitations on the use of the CNG pumps so residents do not have to hear the compressor. Solicitor Bernathy said as far as the noise is concerned the applicant needs to address it. He said we are doing everything we can so that this does not become a nuisance. Mr. Fuller said the noise will be equivalent to the noise of a vacuum cleaner which is about 50 to 70 decibels about ten feet from the compressor. He said we will put it in some type of container to help muffle the sound. They are also open to a post construction study. Mr. Fuller confirmed with Solicitor Bernathy he agrees to that as a condition. Mrs. Hess asked if the noise will be similar to the station compressor at the service station next door to her. She said she can hear that compressor when it is being used. Mr. Fuller said the pumps that are already there will remain. The site is not set up to accommodate large vehicles. He said the site is set up only to handle small passenger cars and standard pick up trucks. He explained the way the compressor works which is similar to an air compressor for power tools. He said the compressor would only run at night if someone is stopping to fill up overnight. He said the equipment will be fed from natural gas which is at the street which will be supplied by the local utility company. Mr. Fuller added there is no tanker trucks involved with the component of the site design. Mrs. Hess said she sits outside in the summer and she will be hearing the noise. She feels it is not fair that they cannot enjoy the outdoors. She said it is going to create a problem. Mr. Fuller said they will comply with the township ordinance for sound decibels. Mrs. Hess said it will take forever for any studies to be done. Mr. Fuller said it can be a condition for a Certificate of Occupancy for the post construction study to comply with the ordinance for noise. Mrs. Hess brought up the question of fire trucks being switched over to run on CNG. She said they are a much bigger vehicle than a passenger car and a pick up truck. Mr. Fuller said the site is designed for passenger vehicles only. Mrs. Hess said she has seen big trucks such as garbage trucks and electric company trucks going in and out of the site.
Ray Tonkin asked Mr. Fuller how he is defining “large”. Mr. Fuller said the site currently the site only has unleaded gas and no diesel. He said it will remain that way. He stated the Planning Commission did not put a condition of the approval as to the size of the vehicle. He believed passenger vehicles will be the ones who will come and use the facility. Mr. Tonkin said Mr. Fuller has not answered his question as to his definition of a large vehicle. He asked if he is using the actual size of the vehicle or weight rating. Mr. Fuller said he has not defined it in the plans. He said he is using the term large loosely to mean over the road eighteen wheelers and large dump trucks. He said there is no reference to the exact size of the vehicles in the plan but the site has always been designed for only unleaded gas and we are proposing to add a CNG component to that with the hope for the demand of passenger vehicles looking for CNG fill up.
Mr. Tonkin asked what the applicant’s position is on the expansion of the use and how it fits within the Westfall Township Zoning Ordinance. Solicitor Bernathy said that is one of the conditions and a zoning permit will need to be obtained from the Zoning Officer. No zoning permit has been issued at this time. He said any approvals will be granted upon zoning approval if required. Mr. Fuller said the use is compliant with the zoning. Mr. Tonkin said there are certain uses within the ordinance and asked Mr. Fuller what use he is defining this. Mr. Fuller said the retail component and the gas distribution are permitted used within the C-1 zone. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not want to get too far into the zoning issue since it is not within the Supervisor’s jurisdiction. He said as far as his limited comment, if it is a convenience store with gas pumps, it is a permitted use within a C-1 zone. If it is an auto service station then that is not a permitted use in a C-1 zone. That may raise a requirement which may require a Special Exception hearing by the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Tonkin said his concern is that Mr. Fuller seems to believe the zoning issues have been addressed as part of the Planning Commission review which is inaccurate. Solicitor Bernathy said he has made it crystal clear that this is out of our jurisdiction and there are obvious zoning issues which need to be addressed by our zoning officer and the Zoning Hearing Board. He said we do not have the authority to make zoning decisions. We do have the authority to make it one of the conditions of the site being developed. Mr. Tonkin asked Mr. Bernathy if the questions are being limited only to land development. Solicitor Bernathy said that is correct. Mr. Tonkin asked if the sound issue is a zoning issue. Mr. Bernathy said he would defer that to the engineer. He said he has asked the engineer to address that since the adjacent residents have raised that as an issue. He is doing that for their benefit even though they may not think so. Mr. Tonkin questioned again the issue of asking zoning questions. Solicitor Bernathy said he can ask whatever he would like but he wants to make it clear that the zoning issue remains outstanding. He also confirmed with the applicant that the zoning issue is still outstanding and it is a condition moving forward. Mr. Tonkin questioned the term mitigation regarding the sound issue. Mr. Fuller said the engineer did refer to the enclosed unit as mitigating the sound. Solicitor Bernathy said we have asked they do a subsequent study in case of the sound being over the decibel limits. Mr. Tonkin said he is concerned with the term mitigated. Solicitor Bernathy said he is making it clear that it needs to be compliant and not mitigated.
Mrs. Hess asked if they will be entering and exiting on Stella Street. Mr. Fuller said both entrances on Stella Street will remain. Both entrances will be in and out. Solicitor Bernathy said the Planning Commission requested the entrance/exits be widened. Mrs. Hess said there is an issue with lights, if you look back in your minutes. So this is another issue for her. Solicitor Bernathy said we have discussed this issue at the Planning level and we are very sensitive regarding the impact this has as a pre-existing use regarding the shining of headlights. Mrs. Hess said when you open something up there is more light brought in. Mr. Fuller said all of the fences that currently exist will remain to mitigate the light that Mrs. Hess is referring to. He said widening of the entrance is to mainly facilitate the inflow and outflow of traffic. Mr. Fuller said it will be widened by just several feet and should not affect the lighting. Mrs. Hess disagreed. Mr. Fuller said this is why the fencing will remain. Mrs. Hess said they will not be remaining the same if it will be changing. Mr. Fuller said the entrances will be about five feet wider to allow for progression of traffic. They will be losing one entrance and the other will be a right turn only due to the PennDOT requirement. PennDot has agreed due to the history of the property to allow one right turn only off of the main highway otherwise both entrances would be off of the township road. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Fuller to explain the difference on the plan to show where the vehicles will be coming out as to where they come out now. Mr. Fuller said the entrance will remain in the same spot but will just be a bit wider to improve the turning radius for vehicles going in and out. Mrs. Hess said she understands this but it is not staying the same if it is being made bigger. Mr. Sigretto explains the issue to Mrs. Hess. Mrs. Hess said the space is being made bigger so there will be more lights shining on her house. Solicitor Bernathy said we understand. Mrs. Hess said she does not think he understands.
Mr. Tonkin asked if there has been any research done regarding the previous plan being expanded and any conditions for that expansion which may affect this proposal. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not aware of any conditions but if Mr. Tonkin is aware of any to please bring them to the Supervisors attention. Mr. Tonkin asked if there has been any research to see if there were any conditions. Solicitor Bernathy said not to his knowledge. Mr. Tonkin asked that it be a condition of this approval. Solicitor Bernathy said absolutely as long as that is not in conflict with this application.
Peter Sigretto asked if they will be tapping into the natural gas line which is already there. He confirmed with Mr. Fuller there will be no deliveries due to this. He said there will not be any trucks sticking out in the middle of the road so there will not be any more congestion which is already created. He said Mr. Tonkin raised the issue of the size of the vehicles. Mr. Sigretto said he is on the Matamoras Borough Council and if this goes through they are looking into purchasing a natural gas garbage truck since the diesel fuel is much more expensive than CNG. He said it is about 1/3 of the cost and there are grants available now. Solicitor Bernathy asked the size, weight and height of the truck. Mr. Sigretto said he does not know. Mr. Fuller said the truck would fit on the site and under the canopy. Mr. Sigretto said this will be helpful to Matamoras and Milford Borough. He said he has been to a couple of seminars with Matt Osterberg. He said there is enough natural gas in Marcellus Shale to supply the world with about five hundred years with natural gas. This country is the only one still using gas and diesel. The price of natural gas at Coburn Oil in Susquehanna County is ninety nine cents per gallon. He said their whole fleet runs on natural gas. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Fuller if a standard sized garbage truck could get in and out of the site. Mr. Fuller said that a standard size garbage truck will be able to drive in and out of the site. Mr. Bernathy asked Mr. Sigretto what the alternative will be if the garbage truck cannot maneuver on the site. Mr. Sigretto said what we do depends on what you do. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Fuller if there is any way we could accommodate this. Mr. Fuller said it could be set up to where the garbage trucks would be able to go to a specific pump. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Fuller if we could agree to some type of schedule for the truck. Mr. Fuller said absolutely. Solicitor Bernathy said to Mr. Sigretto that there will be a schedule or a time that the attendants would put out cones to block the pump so that the garbage truck can be accommodated. Solicitor Bernathy asked if Mr. Losee would like to add any comment. Mr. Losee said he would like to echo Mr. Sigretto’s thoughts. He said the county would like to change their entire fleet to natural gas. Mr. Sigretto said the state of Pennsylvania is giving away free money right now for this changeover. Bruce Selneck said it is not free. We are all taxed for it and it is not free. Mr. Sigretto said it is coming out of his tax dollars too.
Chairman Ewbank asked how much space is on the plan between the store and the pumps. Mr. Fuller said there is about twenty five feet. He confirmed there would be enough room to get a garbage truck in and out. Mr. Fuller added that they have eliminated much of the parking on the site to allow for better traffic flow in front of the store.
Mrs. Hess said there is talk about Matamoras and Milford using the site. She asked if anyone realized the amount of traffic this will create on Stella Street going in and out. She said it is going to be horrendous and there has not been a traffic study. Solicitor Bernathy said a traffic study was not required. He said the volumes of the driveways will be regulated by PennDOT which is a condition of approval. Mr. Tonkin asked if the volumes of traffic on Stella Street will be regulated. Solicitor Bernathy said only on the State Highway. Mrs. Hess asked who would do the study on Stella Street. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not know if we can regulate that. Mrs. Hess said she is concerned only about what is going up and down Stella Street and not so much what is going up and down Route 6 & 209. Solicitor Bernathy said he just does not know if this will take off. Mrs. Hess asked Solicitor Bernathy to confirm there will be no traffic study required. He said there is no traffic study required by the ordinance. He said the reason you are asking to have this done is based on speculation that this site will generate volume as it relates to the alternative fuel source and he does not know that is the case.
Chairman Ewbank said he thinks we need to take into consideration the statements of Mr. Sigretto. He feels that if this takes off all of the cigarette stores will be selling CNG as well. He said they will not only be going to this facility. They will be going all up and down the road.
Mr. Selneck brought up the point that if one hundred cars are pulling in per week to get CNG then that means there will be one hundred cars that are not filling up with unleaded. He said except for the initial rush, it will not be that much difference in volume. He feels the volume will even out eventually.
Nancy Buchanan addressed the Board. She said if they are concerned about the environment, odors and emissions, that CNG is very clean. Mr. Sigretto commented. He referred to three major cities converting all of their buses to natural gas. He said this will cut down on smog by 85%. Natural gas burns very clean. He feels it is the wave of the future.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Fischer to approve the Land Development application with all of the conditions that have been enumerated and also the conditions that have been specifically in the correspondences which have been incorporated by Solicitor Bernathy and stated for the record. The motion was seconded by Chairman Ewbank and carried two in favor and one abstention. Supervisor Melvin abstained due to the fact he is employed by Pike County Light and Power who sells CNG in the Borough of Matamoras and Westfall Township.
SUBDIVISION AND REVIEW: Chairman Ewbank we have nothing to discuss.
Supervisor Melvin stated this is Chairman Ewbank and Vice Chairman Fischer’s last meeting and we have cake and coffee and all are invited to stay.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm on a motion made by Supervisor Melvin. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Fischer and carried with all in favor.