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Delaware Twp. Restricts Speed, Parking on Residential Roads

Delaware Twp Restricts Speed, Parking on Residential Roads
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, October 20, 2016



DINGMANS FERRY – Motorists in Delaware Township will have to drive 35 miles an hour along Doolan Road and they also will no longer be allowed to park on the roadsides of Park Road and Log & Twig Road.

Those changes came about the township supervisors unanimously approved two ordinances after public hearings for each at last week’s bi-monthly board meeting.

Ordinance 401A, which had no public comment during the hearing, bans roadside parking at the aforementioned streets under penalty of fine and removal of the vehicle.

Ordinance 401B sets a uniform speed limit along the 1.7 mile stretch of Doolan Road. Signs will be posted along those three roads pertaining to those changes, the supervisors said.

A $2,800 study authorized by the Township conducted by engineering company Boucher & James Inc. determined the “most appropriate safe, legal speed limit” in data provided to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to allow the township to lower its 44 mph default speed on that road. The two-lane road is a direct route between state Route 739 and Silver Lake Road running east-west through residential neighborhoods.

“A major portion of the highway was sufficient stopping sight distance,” the report reads, which it says has led to 15 motor vehicle accidents reported over the last five years, eight of them hitting fixed objects. In those accidents, 11 people sustained minor injuries and one person suffered a moderate injury. There were no fatalities but the report reflects “the number of accidents suggests motorists were traveling at unsafe speeds for road conditions.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman, Jeffrey Scheetz affirmed one resident’s question during the hearing whether state police will enforce the speed limit.

“Does the township plan any change for Park Road and other roads,” said resident Susan Reser. Scheetz said there were no other roads being considered, but Reser said afterward that Park Road, where she lives, is or curved. “There are many who drive very fast on that road,” she said.

The Supervisors said the ordinance came in response to some residents’ complaints, and resident Jane Neufeld praised passage of the ordinance, saying that township resident Gail Wershing was a leading voice for the change who would be glad to hear the news. Wershing was out of state the night of the meeting.

Also at the meeting, supervisors appointed Shawn Bolles to the township Zoning Hearing Board.

They also decided to advertise for an ordinance amendment regarding setbacks between structures as recommended by the township Planning Commission at its Oct. 4 meeting.

During public comment period, the supervisors were asked about the progress of Akenac Park Playground, which received construction supplies recently. “We’re making good progress,” said township roadmaster Charley Kroener.

“I was there yesterday and when completed, it will be spectacular,” Scheetz said. Township planner Krista Predmore said the playground should be ready “by the first week of November.”

Also during public comment period, Reser said that Columbia Pipeline Group, which has a gas line running through her property and the wetlands area there, had Columbia construction equipment there to build a zinc barrier to keep the pipeline from rusting. She said she was not notified ahead of time that they were planning to do it and neither were the supervisors and neither were the supervisors aware when she asked them at the meeting. She said Columbia representatives were meeting with her at her home on Tuesday this week to discuss the work.

Supervisors voted after discussion from Predmore to move $51,773.04 Building Block Certificate of Deposit due to renewal from Wayne Bank to Dime Bank where it offers a higher 1 percent interest rate for a 36-month term with one opportunity to bump up the interest when it rises.

Supervisors said they would hold an agreed payment of $169,003.56 to E.R. Linde Construction Corp from the Liquid Fuels account when the Park Road paving project is completed. Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company’s worker’s compensation was renewed with the State Workers Insurance Fund for $21,626. Supervisors also released $12,613.27 third quarter payment to the fire company.

During the workshop held before the meeting, Barbie Brader, newly installed president of the Delaware Township Akenac library, introduced herself. She said the library, which has operated 35 years independently through donations and fundraising, needs more volunteers as it looks to add hours to its schedule on 1 to 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The library has 5,000 books and she said donated books less than five years old are welcome. Any resident can be a patron for a $5 entry fee, with all services free.

Marylou Corbett asked the supervisors ways the township ambulance corps can be helped with an ambulance drive from the township workforce if one is needed. She said it might become difficult to get a driver for a second response call at the same time but the township supervisors said liability issues would need to be examined as well as training drivers for an emergency vehicle operating license and to administer CPR. They said township workers are covered by worker’s compensation.

Discussion continued where the township should agree to the request to turn over to Camp Speers a 3,380 foot stretch of Nichecronk Road that begins off state Route 739 and runs through part of the camp to the turnaround at the main office. The township services the road for snow removal and for renewing the dirt and gravel modified surface yearly, but the camp has asked that the township pave the road if it turns it over to the camp, which has been a sore point with the township. Repaving that stretch of rroad would cost about $20,000 according to assistant roadmaster Ed Hammond. Attorney Thomas Farley followed the supervisors’ lead to send a “friendly reminder” to the camp authorities discussing the issue.

“If the township says take the road, they’re crazy for not doing it. If there’s no interest in keeping it, why plow it? You’re doing them a favor by plowing it,” said township resident Stephen McBride.

Also at the meeting the supervisors announced that the Dingmans-Ferry Delaware Township Historical Society will make a presentation 7pm on October 20th on the history of the Dingmans Ferry United Methodist Church and how it survived the Tocks Island Dam Project, with free refreshments for the public. The Township’s Trunk or Treat takes place 11am to 2pm October 22 at Akenac Park. A township budget workshop is scheduled for 7 to 0opm on October 25th at the municipal building. An Emergency Management Open House is set for 7 to 9om on October 28th, also at the municipal building.

A state Department of Health free drive-thru flu clinic is scheduled at the Westfall Fire Department 10am to 2pm on October 29th.

Supervisor Tom Ryan questioned why one for residents was not scheduled in the township. “The population is here,” Ryan said.

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.

 

 

 

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