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Wilson Hill Repairs to Affect Commuters

Wilson Hill Repairs to Affect Commuters
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hundreds of southern Pike County residents who rely on Wilson Hill Road in Delaware Township for their work commute and for shopping trips will be detoured onto a different route when Penn Dot repairs 152 feet of the road in 2018.

Although motorists should be able to get to the township municipal building farther west on the roadway during the construction, part of the road, which is state Route 2002, would be shut down for work on a “slide remediation”. The project calls for restoring the roadway and building retaining walls ranging from 5 to 20 feet high to head off any steep slope runoff that eroded the roadbed.

It means the material under the roadway is moving very slowly toward the downhill side of the slope, which has led to cracking in the roadway pavement and necessitating additional asphalt paving to maintain the roadway surface and constructing the repairs proposed under this project. Daniel R. Giles, a highway manager for HDR Engineering in Mechanicsburg, discussed the project during a presentation at a Delaware Township Board of Supervisors workshop last week. He included two white board engineering conceptual designs for the design build project.

Giles said his company’s designs cover 50 percent of the project. The contractor who get the job will complete the design work.

Giles anticipates the project will go out to bid by PennDot next year and construction will begin sometime in 2018. He said the work is expected to take four to six months to complete. Traffic during the time will be detoured onto Silver Lake Road, an inconvenience that Board of Supervisors Jeff Scheetz said should add only five minutes to the drive. Supervisors said residents can also take other adjacent roads, including take Mary Stuart Road to Johnny Bee Road or Chestnut Ridge Road, both connecting Route 2001 to Route 209.

“You’re aware a lot commuters take this road,” resident Jane Neufeld said emphatically.

Residents asked if Giles was noting comments made by residents during the 45-minute session and he said they were and he welcomed any emailed comments sent to him.

The work involves a 152-foot stretch of roadway located 4/10 of a mile west of Route 209 and 2 ½ miles below Milford Road/State Route 2001 in the lower downhill section. The roadway in that area shows signs of buckling and some damaged roadside metal barriers. The work could extend to 165 feet.

Giles said the eastbound side of that stretch of roadway would need to be rebuilt in some areas and the westbound side would need milling off and putting an inch and half of pavement on the other side of the road “so it will have a cleaner design when it’s done.”

Giles said his office and PennDot had a “positive meeting” with officials of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as the 33-foot right of way – 16 ½ fee on either side – extends onto the National Park Service parkland in that area. Giles pointed out that there are no environmental features that involve studies for the NPS. He said there also are no utility lines in that area.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” Giles said of the project. “They’ll have to work out an agreement (on the right of way). It will not significantly change the National Park Service property and usage of that road.”

George Beodeker, township fire company chief and Pike County Emergency Management assistant coordinator, asked what efforts might be undertaken to ensure stabilizing the road.

“I know from the readings we took, no (further) movement (of earth) is showing up from that slide,” Giles answered.

Ed Hammond, township assistant road master, asked if a weight limit for vehicles would need to be enforced when work is complete, but Giles said he was not aware that the National Park Service or PennDot feels a need for it.

One resident asked if the project would allow for shoulders on either side, but Giles said that was doubtful. Road master Charley Kroener said afterward that it would not be wise to install a shoulder there because the rest of the roadway does not have one and it could pose a problem for anyone who may skid off the repaired part of the road onto the shoulder during bad weather conditions and continue to the older part of the road that does not have shoulder.

“I think it would’ve been better if a PennDot representative was also sent,” Kroener said of the presentation.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Kroener also said that delivery was scheduled for Monday this week for the new playground materials for Akenac Park, which should take four to five weeks to build. Scheetz also spoke about residents’ concern over what appeared to be stalled progress of the Route 739 retail project.

“You know what we know. It’s moving along slowly,” Scheetz said.

“We’re working very diligently to get it going and we’re trying to get it to move along,” said township Solicitor Thomas Farley.

Scheetz read an email communication that township administrator Krista Predmore had with developer Joe Hudak on the subject. In the September 19 email, Hudak responded that the project had been delayed for three months awaiting Dingman Township’s resolution for a traffic light, rather than the originally proposed turnabout, for Route 739 and Log Tavern Road to ease anticipated traffic issues for that area tied in with the retail project. Hudak also said he is expecting to receive permit approvals “over the next two or three months. I would think there will be some activity following that.” He said he expects a Highway Occupancy Permit approval being reviewed by PennDot “in two weeks.”

Hudak said he also is waiting for response from the state department of environmental protection on the Part II Water Quality Permit for the sewage. “The design of the domestic water supply system is about 95 % complete,” Hudak wrote.

The board approved Lori McCrory as a part-time permit assistant. The board approved the resignation of Francine Byrne from the township Planning Commission and advertising for the open seat.

Beodeker, in his report, said an informal emergency management open house would be held 7-9pm on October 28th. He said the fire department had a successful Comedy Night recently and thanked the public’s support.

Supervisors approved usage of Akenac Park on Oct. 5 from 9am to 4pm for the Pike County Combat Vet Center group. It also approved usage of the municipal building by the Delaware Football League for an end of season recognition ceremony 2-8pm on November 5th and for usage of Akenac Park by the Dingman-Delaware Middle School’s fishing club on Thursdays from 3 to 5pm September 29th through October 27th.

New Ordinance Regulates Street Signs, House Numbers

NEW ORDINANCE REGULATES STREET SIGNS, HOUSE NUMBERS
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, September 22, 2016
By Wayne Witikowski

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township residents and business owners are not required to post their building address numbers, according to the board of supervisors at their meeting last week.

Supervisors unanimously passed Township Ordinance 111 after a public hearing that took place midway through the meeting. Notifications were expected to go out starting this week informing residents of the requirement. Supervisor Jeff Scheetz reinforced the ordinance statement that it ensures the public safety and security of the community ensuring better emergency response time.

Property owners can get their street numbers, established by the Pike County 911 Emergency Call System, by called 570-296-1911 and then purchase the number sign from either the Delaware Township Ambulance Corps or the Dingmans Fire Company with their building number imprinted for an $18 fee.

The ordinance says the sign for a home, which must be four to 12 inches in height, can be any color, although many of them already shown are in blue and must be posted securely between two and eight feet off the ground. The number must be in bright, reflective material to contrast with the background in three-inch-high upper case lettering. The sign must be visible for at least 50 feet and all shrubs or snow that may block it must be cleared from the front of it at all times. The sign also can be posted on the house as long as it is within 50 feet from the edge of the street.

Anyone who does not comply is subject to a $1,000 fine which if unpaid could lead to a jail sentence of up to 30 days. There is no deadline for when the signage must be completed, but the supervisors said that could be further amended into the ordinance.

Street signs, meanwhile, must be visible for at least 250 feet from the intersection in all directions on a public road and 150 feet on a private road. The ordinance reads “All public and private streets, driveways and access roads in the Township which serve two or more principal structures shall be named and posted with the street sign name in accordance with this section.”

Township Administrator Krista Predmore pointed out afterward that private communities are responsible for posting their own road signs, if needed. Supervisor Tom Ryan said cutting of brush that may be obstructing road signs is the community’s responsibility.

Resident Mary Lou Corbett praised the ordinance during the hearing, saying, “It’s a waste of time (of responders) finding the house that does not have the blue sign. It’s mainly about finding the house, not finding the streets.”

Ron Hough, a member of the township Planning Board, said, “Gated communities do not always abide by the Township.”

When asked how much the street signs help emergency response, township fire chief and Pike County Emergency Management Assistant Coordinator George Beodeker said, “we’ve come to learn the route” but endorsed the ordinance for locating homes when needed.

But Beodeker repeatedly called for consistent enforcement of the ordinance and establishing standards and deadlines.

“Can this be accomplished with what the zoning officer has on his plate, and what is the timeline?” he said. “We need to make a less cumbersome, effective mechanism of what can be done to make this happen and I do not see it here.

“We have not had consistent enforcement of an ordinance in this township in a long time.” He said.

One resident asked about the overgrown brush around her home and other properties that is as much as four feet high and may block the line of vision for her sign. Scheetz said PennDot is responsible during the Route 2011 widening project and needs to be contacted.

CODE RED ALERT SYSTEM

During the regularly scheduling meeting, Pike County Emergency Management Director Timothy Knapp explained the changeover to the residential Code Red Alert System that had a soft launch in August. The system can send weather and road closure alerts specific to that area to voice, text, email and social media channels to mobile phones with access on an app. IT takes five minutes to register for it. Knapp said a brief road closure might not be posted. County officials now have access to the national Integrated Public Alert and Warning System that includes AMBER alerts of abducted children.

“It has a lot more emergency technology,” Knapp said and later added. “It’s a very advanced system that seems to work well.”

The supervisors said they would advertise for a public hearing for an ordinance prohibiting parking on Park Road and Log & Twig Road with subsequent penalties and removal of violating vehicles.

During public comment at the end of the meeting, Jane Neufeld pointed out a legal ad in the Pike County Dispatch about PennDot conducting a public presentation at the township building 5:30pm on September 28th on the Wilson Hill Road project. It would take place during what is normally a workshop session before the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting and might extend into the regularly scheduled meeting that begins at 6:30pm.

Predmore pointed out afterward that the presentation will be part of the workshop period and that the board had been notified of that. Neufeld cautioned whether the road would be closed that would significantly affect many residents commuting to work as well anyone trying to reach the township building on that road.

Also, the Board approved a $169,003.56 lowest bid by E.R. Linde for paving and painting double yellow lines on Park Road.

In his quarterly fire department report, Beodeker said there were 38 calls – 22 in the daytime – and one structure on fire that was saved. He said a motorcyclist was fatally struck on Route 739 and there was discussion about the lengthy road closure. He said Fire Police membership is growing back but said there is a need to stir interest for volunteer firefighters, who have to put in 168 hours of training, which is difficult for some people’s schedules. He said he’ll attend an Emergency Preparedness and HazMat Conference in Pittsburgh Nov. 1-4.

Supervisors approved the township hall for a Hunters Safety Course 9am to 3pm on September 25th. It will be conducted by township assistant roadmaster/supervisor of building and grounds/constable Ed Hammond, with John Sivo and the sponsoring state game commission. “The class can take 30 to 40 people and we already have 25 signed up,” Hammond said. Guns are prohibited at the session.

During the workshop held beforehand, supervisors released results on an engineering and traffic study of Doolan Road conducted by engineering firm Boucher & James, Inc. advising existing speed limited to be lowered.

Supervisors also discussed at the workshop the request by Camp Speers for the township to turn over to the camp ownership of the 3,380 feet of unpaved entry road. The supervisors said the township is unwilling to resurface the road as requested by the camp before turning it over and Hammond said putting blacktop on it would cost $25,000 to $50,000. Township Supervisor John Henderson said there is a need for more information.

Co-Pay in Auditor Litigation Costs Township $3500

Co-Pay in Auditor Litigation Costs Township $3500
By Bessy Gurian

Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, August 4, 2016

DINGMAS FERRY – Delaware Township Supervisors voted to compensate IRM $3,500 as a combined copay in defense of the Township in the auditor litigation involving pensions as well as for the defense of former supervisors Ileana Hernandez and Ted Parsell.


Township Supervisor and Chair Jeffrey Scheetz spoke to the Dispatch in a phone interview regarding the outcome of the motion, “As far as we are concerned, this should end the whole matter.  The current auditors have chosen not to appeal…Now we just, as we knew we would, have to pay the legal fees, in effect for, suing ourselves.”What Scheetz refers to is a lawsuit filed against the township be elected Auditors Dennis Lee, Michael Dickerson and Jane Neufeld back in 2006 accusing Hernandez and Parsell of illegally compensating themselves through lucrative pensions.  Ileana Hernadez and Ted Parsell were employees of Delaware Township and served as elected supervisors.  Parsell was the township roadmaster and Hernandez was secretary-treasurer.  According to the Second Class Township Code, which covers Delaware Township, when elected supervisors are also township employees, elected auditors set the amount of compensation for them, including pension plans.


Supervisors also approved a motion to have Boucher & James carry out a Road Traffic Study on Doolan Road in order to submit findings to PennDOT.  The study, which will cost the township $2,800, would provide PennDOT the data necessary to allow the township to reduce the current default speed of 44 mph to something safer for all those who use the thoroughfare.Boucher & James has also been commissioned to carry out a Load Analysis study of the Recreation Building at Akenac Park, a study that Scheetz comments has not been received in final form.


“We have not seen the final document from Boucher & James yet…but ther is no danger of the Rec Hall collapsing or anything like that.  It’s been up in existence for years and years…but we want an official report presenting any work that needs to be done to guarantee it’s going to hold up for the next, however many years.  We’re pretty safe now and we need to keep it that way to protect all the people who might be using it.”The township also announced a Free Movie Night at Akenac Park on Saturday, August 13 featuring “Zootopia.”  For more information on this and other township news, visit the township Website at www.delawaretownshippa.gov or call (570) 828-2347.

Delaware Engineers to Test Rec Building’s Floor

       Delaware Engineers to Test Rec Building’s Floor
By: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, July 21, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY-During their July 13 meeting, The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors voted to have Boucher & James carry out a load study on the Recreation Building located in Akenac Park.

                 The study would allow the township’s consulting engineering firm to perform a “structural analysis of the floor system along with recommendations for repairs to any piers in need,” as stated in a letter from B&J addressed to Supervisor and Chair, Jeffrey Scheetz.

                 The study, which will cost the township an estimated $4,000, will include two site visits, preparation of the plan, performance of structural calculations and a report presentation.

                 Supervisors also approved a motion to pay the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company the amount of $115,459.11 for 2016 second quarter fire taxes, the purchase of six partitions for the Akenac Park Bath House totaling over $5,000, and to pay the PSATS Pension Trust in the amount of $49,177 for the 2016 Pension Minimum Municipal Obligations.

                 The Board voted to advertise the position of Alternate Zoning Officer and to take forceful action on 105 Pocono Circle.  Said property is in violation of township ordinances and according to Township Solicitor Thomas Farley, “a mortgage company owns it and is not responding…the property is a mess.  I’ve been instructed to take legal action to force the mortgage company and or the squatter/owner.”

                 During the workshop portion of the meeting Supervisors informed the public that Doolan Road does not qualify as an urban area and would require a traffic study to establish a speed limit.  Supervisors agreed to reach out to Boucher & James to inquire about the cost of a traffic study.

                 The workshop agenda also included the topic of the Akenac Park playground.

                 Scheetz explained to the audience that they had made a decision with regards to the company they were going to use for the construction of the new playground.  The company would work with the township in terms of budget, design and phasing.

                 Supervisor John Henderson expressed his concern over the decision. “I wasn’t involved personally, in any of this…Where, I’m going with this is that, when we commit to spending a lot of money all three supervisors need to be involved in the decision.”  Supervisors agreed to place the subject on the workshop agenda to allow for further discussion.

                 Supervisors also announced a free Movie Night at Akenac Park, Saturday, Aug. 13 featuring “Zootopia” and reminded the public that the Pike County Sheriff’s Drug Take Back Program is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 12pm and 12:30pm to 4:15pm.  All pills should be placed in Ziploc bags.  No bottles are accepted.

 

 

 

Spending Approval For Recreation Hall Wasn’t Unanimous

 Spending Approval For Recreation Hall Wasn’t Unanimous

 By: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, July 7, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY- The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors voted yes on several motions regarding Akenac Park during the June 22 meeting, although not all supervisors were in agreement with the spending.

                 Supervisors voted to pay for Singer equipment installed in the Recreation Hall at Akenac Park in the amount of $15,683.05 from the Monroe LSA account with Supervisor John Henderson adding, “I’m going to vote yes on this thing even though I disagree with a lot of stuff that is going in the Rec Hall simply because the equipment’s there, the people did their job and we need to pay them for what they did.”

                 Supervisors also voted to purchase building materials for the bathhouse totaling $6,822.87 plus labor, which totaled $7,717.00.  Henderson commented, “I am going to vote no on this motion.  We are going to shortly authorize, I hope, a stress analysis or whatever you want to call it for the Rec Hall and I’d like to hold off on spending until we find out what the results of that are and how much it’s going to cost to remediate anything down there, should that be necessary.”

                 Supervisor Tom Ryan added a motion to add $2,000 for pier remediation per Boucher & James’s recommendation.  Both motions were approved by Ryan and Supervisor Chairman Jeff Scheetz.

                 In other business, Resolution 2016-05 for the plan review of the Sewage Facilities Planning Module for Marcel Lakes Estates was approved as well as upgrades to the Township Website by Niki Jones Agency since the Website had suffered hacker attacks in the last few weeks and was in need of an archive module to keep the site clean.

                 During the public comment section of the agenda, Supervisors heard a multiple-page statement made by Rebecca Gray-Kochovos, member of two previous Recreation Boards for the township; one under the old ordinance and one under the new ordinance.  G-K claimed along with another former member of the Recreation Board that during their terms in office in 2012, the Board of Supervisors failed to inform them of their duties, terms, bylaws and ordinance.

                 “In December 2012 we held our first meeting, we were not informed of any new ordinance; we were not given bylaws, or agenda of what our responsibilities were.  We were not told that we needed to be five members, or how long our terms were.” G-K asked the Supervisors for an apology.

                 Other public participation included comments from Jane Neufeld.  She asked the township to consider safety and liability with regards to the foundation of the Recreation Hall and Bath House at Akenac Park.  Neufeld urged the Supervisors to consider putting off spending on matters not urgent to the buildings, such as the kitchen, but to rather spend time and resources on the foundations of these buildings.  Ryan explained to Neufeld that the kitchen was a priority in the Master Plan and that the board was following the plan.

                 Scheetz announced that the Delaware Township Public Library would have Summer Story Hours Friday at 1:30pm and the Mommy and Me Coloring Club from 1-2:20 pm the first Wednesday of every month.  In addition, Akenac Park would host Free Movie Night Saturday July 9 featuring “Pan.”  Other events include Free Pond Exploration at Akenac Park provided by the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Sunday, July 10th from 1-3pm and the Pike County Sheriff’s Drug Take Back Program, Monday through Friday 8:30 to noon and 12:30 to 4:15.

 

 

 

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