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Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel

Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, June 1, 2017 – pg. 5
by Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township Board of Supervisors gave conditional approval to an application for subdividing a 13.5 acre property in Silver Lake Estates owned by the Crowell family during last week’s meeting.

The board voted approval 2-0, with board Chairman Jeff Scheetz absent. It came after a nearly hour long hearing of testimony from attorney Timothy McManus of Stroudsburg, representing applicants for the subdivision, and challenging questions from Milford attorney Eric Hamill, representing neighboring homeowners who attending.

McManus was accompanied by property owner Nicholas Crowell, who resides in New Orleans with his wife, along with their daughter, who lives in New York, and engineer Sarah Bue Morris, who presented the plan blueprints.

Crowell is one of three brothers, along with Geoffrey, who lives in Philadelphia and visits a cabin on the property occasionally, and Christopher, who lives out of state. The family purchased the property as a getaway retreat during the 1970s.

“This has been a three-year process,” Crowell said after the approval. “All three of us are in our 70s. We will be gone sometime and we want to be sure this is set up as an inheritance for our family.”

The plan would divide the property into three lots, a pair of three-acre lots and one that would be 6.9 acres and include the cabin. Township requirements allow for only one home on each of the other two three-acre lots, with the cabin as the residence on the other lot.

Nearly all of the hearing centered around the condition of an approximately 800-foot stretch of Nyce Road, which is about a mile long and runs through the lakefront private community. Because it is a private road, residents maintain it, and the Crowell family needs to bring that part of the road fronting their property to township standards, mainly to accommodate emergency vehicles.

The agreement calls for lowering one side of the road and widening it before it is covered with a tar and chip surface. No other road could be built for the Crowell property.

“It’s all about the health, safety and welfare of residents,” said Delaware Township Planning Commission Chairman Len Glamann near the end of the hearing. “If something is not done about the road, it could cost somebody their life.”

To that end, the approval includes a development agreement, providing a road bond escrow for 110 percent of the actual cost that will be refunded to the Crowells at the completion of the work, a performance bond to be executed and a developer’s agreement for relocation of a 10 by 12 foot shed on the edge of one Crowell property line farther within the Crowell properties.

“We already have a contractor ready,” Crowell said of the road work.

A state Dept. of Environmental Protection study also calls for a 650 foot buffer around a bald eagle’s nest.

“We did extensive research and did not have proof of a bald eagle’s nest,” McManus said. “Removal of that (finding) involves information that takes time.”

But residents joining Hamill at the meeting were concerned about what it means for the length of road in front of their properties. One concern was answered whether the subdivision would allow for multiple housing on each lot. Supervisors clarified that issue.

“For my part of the road, will I be required to keep it up to township standards,” asked Emily McFarlane, one of the property owners represented by Hamill during the hearing.

“Not at this time,” said township Solicitor Thomas Farley of the apparent leading concern of the homeowners, but said that homeowners are responsible for the part of the private road fronting their properties.

Farley deflected questions by Hamill and alter by another resident of the implications this would hold for further development in the community.

“We’re only concerned with this application,” Mr. Farley said. “They would have to be approved and conditions would have to be met.”

It also was established at the meeting that if residents of a private community do not approve of the way a road is maintained by a neighbor or that there is inadequate snow removal in that stretch of road that they can seek legal court action with a mandatory injunction for that party to maintain the road.

IN OTHER MEETING MATTERS

The board approved road refurbishing and line painting for Chestnut Ridge Road to be advertised for bid, with a contract awarded at the June 28 meeting. The work, which would be in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation specifications, would be paid with the township’s state liquid fuels fund.

The board approved purchasing a replacement for a 6-foot sickle bar mower with hydraulic fold from Kremansky Equipment LLC for $4,000…Board members also approved $500 for the Delaware Township Library Association in response to its request for its annual subsidy. Supervisor John Henderson, board vice chairman who had chaired last week’s meeting, pointed out that the money already had been set aside in the current budget.

It also approved use of municipal ballfield for American Legion home games on seven dates in late May through June…It tabled approval to show a “Power Rangers” movie free to the public at Akenac Park on July 15 when Henderson questioned the $453 fee to rent it. Township Administrator Krista Predmore said the cost is for copyright to show it at a public park. The board would examine other possible movies.

During the workshop before the meeting, the supervisors discussed the Akenac Park playground’s Gravity Rail that has been taken out of service as a safety precaution because of problems with children riding it.

The rail, with a chair attached, is supposed to move young rides forward by momentum but it was pointed out that parents have to help push it along and may not want to do that. Henderson asked if the township can ask for a refund for that item and Predmore said her inquiry with the company has not been answered on that matter. “They told us they can fix it but we were not told what it is, so we’re in limbo,” said Farley.

Supervisors also discussed Akenac Park policies with a handout to the public, which includes a suggested $6 admission per person to Pennsylvania residents beyond Pike County and that out-of-state residents must be a guest of a Pike resident to be admitted. Henderson asked whether the fee should be lowered from $6 to $5 to make it manageable for the gatekeeper. He also questioned whether individual fees should be charged for use of certain amenities, such as a playground fee. Fees of $2 or $5 per resident were discussed.

Some residents said that there is enough burden with taxes and other expenses to ask residents to pay repeatedly during return visits to the park.

Henderson pointed out that the park may add other amenities in the future such as tennis courts that would need funding to help maintain them.

Delaware Township Considers Financial Incentive For Firefighters

Delaware Township Considers Financial Incentive For Firefighters
By Dakota Hendricks

Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, May 4, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – The Board of Supervisors are looking to potentially create a program to assist volunteer firefighters in some capacity.

At this time there is no definitive course of action the township wishes to take; however, they are considering a property tax break or some small monetary incentive. The Supervisors have some concerns about the implementation of such a plan and how it would function. They expressed concerns that proposing a fixed monetary amount could be misinterpreted as disrespectful towards the volunteers.

Township officials said that over time, responding to calls has become difficult as the scope of the fire department has expanded. The amount of time required to train for different situations has also increased dramatically to approximately 160 hours for full certification. George Boedeker, a prominent volunteer fireman and President of the Delaware Volunteer Fire Company, spoke to the supervisors not in an official capacity but as a volunteer with 42 years’ experience. He stated that he did not think firefighters would consider monetary assistance insulting but that there might be other avenues the township could explore. He went on to explain that if the township wanted to gain volunteers then a monetary incentive might not motivate people to join and that motivating volunteers is the kind of issue a Fire Commission could explore.

Delaware township is looking for a college student majoring in emergency service, engineering or public administration to participate in a part-time emergency management and planning internship for the summer. The position involves working with the Township Emergency Management Coordinator or Township Administrator, assisting the development of hazard mitigation plans and emergency preparations in the township and administrative support.

The internship will run from June 5 through Aug.11 and consist of a flexible schedule is 12 hours a week at $10 an hour. Submit a letter of interest, resume and three professional refences to the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at 116 Wilson Hill Road, Dingmans Ferry PA 18328 by May 10, marked Attention (Attn:) Emergency Management.

Rich Koehler has been appointed as auditor for the remainder of Cody Smith’s term after Smith’s departure. Koehler plans on running for the position after the end of this term. The Board is working on the Akenac Park Rec Hall rental agreement but has not settled on definitive terms that could include variable fees dependent on usage and supervision of on-site equipment.

Twelve boys from Boy Scout Troop 174, led by Scoutmaster Bill Enrico and Asst. Scoutmaster Don Hayes, attended the township meeting to complete a portion of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. The merit badge encourages Scouts to interact with the local levels of government and understand some of the responsibilities of being a resident.

Two More Appointed To Expanded Planning Commission

Two More Appointed To Expanded Planning Commission
By Wayne Witkowski

Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, March 30, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY- LoriAnn Hines and Robyn Eldred were appointed in unanimous votes taken by Delaware Township supervisors to four-year terms for the township’s planning Commission during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The decision not only expanded the commission from five to seven members but also saved the township money.

Township supervisors at a recent workshop and board meeting directed township Solicitor Thomas Farley to research the township ordinances to find out whether the Planning Commission was mandated for seven members or the five that had served in recent years. The positions are voluntary with no pay involved. Farley found that township Ordinance 601 calls for a seven-person Planning Commission and, if the township were to stay with five members, it would need to amend the ordinance.

That would require a public hearing with the recording costs for a court stenographer and the expense of advertising for the hearing in advance in local media, said supervisor John Henderson during the workshop that took place before the meeting.

 The discussion began at the previous meeting when two vacant seats on the five-seat commission were filled by William Errico for one year and Tom Ryan for a tow year term. Ryan retired as supervisor in early January but had expressed interest in continuing to serve the township in a different role.

The supervisors pointed out that in October a vacant position on the commission was advertised. It got no response at that time, but when Ryan sent in a letter of interest that was reported, four other residents at last week’s meeting asked why the board could not be expanded to two more members as stated in the ordinance.

“If citizens want to serve, why turn your back on them.” Said Steve McBride during the workshop discussion. Jane Neufeld said she felt it’s a good time to raise the membership to wider representation.

Ron Hough, who has been serving as vice chairman on the Planning Commission and was appointed interim supervisor for Ryan’s seat, spoke firmly in favor of five members, saying that number is sufficient.

Hines voiced her position for a seven-member commission and serving a four-year term.

“I’m not going anywhere. You’re saying you don’t want my time,” said Hines, owner of the Forklift Café, as Eldred was seated next to her. “You’re going to need more people as time goes on, if one person passes away or one person moves. I want to see this area grow as needed and a-seven-member commission is needed for that.

 “If doing nothing is an option with seven, what’s the down side?”

The discussion was concluded as it ran into the start of the regularly scheduled meeting.

At the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of township Auditor Cody Smith, who is moving to another state. Letters of interest are being accepted.

It unanimously accepted the fiscal year 2016 audit performed by William Owens, CPA, and agreed to publish and advertise the township’s Concise Financial Statement prepared on the modified cash basis by Owens for fiscal year 2016.

He board tabled a decision on the updated Delaware Township Employee manual on recommendation by Henderson. The update includes more specific background checks for anyone driving trucks for municipal purposes.

The supervisors also discussed at the workshop the Traffic Control Development Agreement for a traffic light for the proposed retail center on Route 739. Dingman Township also is installing a light on the part of the hub that is within its boundaries. The board said it is the final step to breaking ground for final step to breaking ground for the center. “We’re very close now.” Said Farley.

LITTLE LEAGUE EXPENSES DISCUSSED

Also at the workshop, officers from the Dingmans-Delaware Little Leagues using the four fields at the municipal complex met with the supervisors to discuss the Little League’s need for support from the other leagues as well as the township.

Mile Masucci, vice president of the Matthew Oehlmann Memorial Softball League that plays in the spring and summer, said his league would supply bases. Maria Dickerson, president of the Fall Co-Ed Softball League, and Sharon Stevens, present of the Women’s Softball League that plays in June through August, also offered their support.

Salvatore Penetta, president of the Little League, who was joined by his wife, Amy, the league treasurer, and Darla McAuliffe, the secretary and player agent, said the league has to be compliant with stringent standards set by sponsorships, player registrations and concession sales.

Panetta was joined by the other league asking the township to help by paying for the clay used in the infields required under Little League standards.

Because the fields are covered by snow, Penetta said he did not know how much clay is needed to refurbish the infields for this season, which begins tentatively on April 15, but it could call for three tri-axle sump truck loads at a cost of $3,300. Two tri-axles, of about 30 tons, were needed last year, he said.      

“I assume we’ll need at least one tri-axle for this year,” he said.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore recommended that the parties submit to the township a letter of expenses for the fields and what help is needed from the township.

“We’re be happy to accept that,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Scheetz, who said the matter would be put on the agenda for the next meeting on April 5. “The issue for me right now is a strong sense (among the parties using the fields) for cooperation. I’m hearing here a great willingness for the adult leagues to help out.”

“I’m disappointed there was no decision from the township today but I hope they do follow through to benefit all of the leagues,” said Dickerson afterward.“If we all pitch in, we could make the fields as good as they can be,” Stevens said.The board also approved at its meeting usage of the township hall by the Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society (6-11 p.m. third Thursday of March through November), Delaware Township Republican Club (7p.m. April 28), C. Weber for a baby shower 910 A.M. TO 5 P.M., May 6) and Old Marcel Lakes private community for its annual meeting (8a.m. to 1 p.m., July 8).

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled at Akenac Park 10a.m. to noon on April 8. Dingmans Ferry Lions club will serve pancakes and sausages and breakfast beverages for free.Township’s Volunteer Ambulance Corps will hold its annual Easter Plant & Bake Sale from noon to 7p.m. on April 14 and 10 a.m. to 4p.m. the following day.The Dingmans Ferry Lions Club Fish Fry takes place 5:30-7;30 p.m. on Friday for $13 each to eat in or take out. Children ages 7 to 12 pay half price.

Scouts Thank Township

Members of Boy Scout Troop174 of Dingmans Ferry presented a certificate of appreciation to the Delaware Township supervisors who allowed them to use Akenac Park for a Klondike Derby on Feb. 4 and 5. The derby gives scouts the experience of camping outdoors in the winter. The scouts also offered to put down a new coat of polyurethane on the wooden floor of the main hall at the park in appreciation as part of their community service. From left are supervisor John Henderson, scout Jason Budd, 16, and Matt Budd, 15, and supervisors Jeff Scheetz and Ron Hough. Jason,16, is a junior, and Matt,15, is a freshman at Delaware Valley High School.

              

Planning Board Up to Full Strength, Might Get Even Bigger

Planning Board Up to Full Strength, Might Get Even Bigger
By Chris Jones

Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, March 16, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township Supervisors filled two vacancies on the Planning Commission last Wednesday, bringing it up to full strength at five members, but there was some discussion about whether the Commission should have just five ore even seven members.

Meanwhile the supervisors appointed William Errico to fill out a one-year term on the Planning Commission and former Supervisor Tom Ryan to fill the vacant two-year term.

Supervisors Jeff Scheetz, John Henderson and Ron Hough all voted for Errico, but Scheetz and Hough voted to appoint Ryan while Henderson voted “no.”

Alluding to Ryan’s having a second in Florida, Henderson said he had been on the Planning commission long enough to know that a member couldn’t follow land plots when he needs to attend a meeting by telephone.

“You need to look at the information in front of you,” Henderson said before casting his vote.

Later during public comment, Dawn Bukaj, herself a former Planning Commission member, asked Hough and Scheetz why they voted for Ryan when there were other candidates for the seat.

“The chairman of the Planning Commission stood up at this meeting and said he [Ryan] was not a good candidate because he can’t be at all the meeting,” Bukaj said.

She then asked why Scheetz and Hough voted for Ryan.

“Because of his experience on the Board of Supervisors and thus with the Planning Commission and his 45 years’ experience in this particular field,” Scheetz said. Ryan is a building trades contractor.

Township Solicitor Tom Farley said there was a provision for removing a Planning commission member: missing four consecutive meeting without cause.

Farley later explained that there was a conflict between the Planning Commission bylaws and the township ordinance governing the Commission, with the bylaws calling for five members and the ordinance for seven.

The township had drafted an ordinance to reduce the number to give members from seven, but here was some discussion that seven might be better because other candidates had expressed interest and seven would provide more “bodies.”

Any change to the ordinance would have to go to a public hearing at a later date.

IN OTHER MATTERS

Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker announced that the Township EMA would begin recruiting volunteers next month. As many as 15 to 20 volunteers are needed, he said. In May and June they will provide two introductory level training programs required by FEMA of all individuals with emergency or disaster response responsibilities.

Beodeker, who also is president of the Delaware Township Fire Department, said that the DTVFD had signed a contract for spring 2018 delivery of a new tanker-pumper costing $282,300. Through township and department funding the cost has been paid upfront and nothing will be owed on the fire engine, he said.

Little League President Salvatore Panetta said the League pays thousands to keep up the ballfield at the township complex on Wilson Hill Road but other leagues play on the same field but they don’t pay much for it.

“Everyone benefits but we pay the bills,” Panetta said.

Supervisors asked for a meeting with the Little League and softball leagues to determine who uses the field and how much is paid for what maintenance.

There was also discussion about the feasibility of a wheelchair wing at the new playground in Akenac Park. Such a swing could cost as much as $25,000 and would require a full-time supervisor.

The playground cost $20,000 less than what was budgeted so there is a balance for other improvements.

Jane Neufeld suggested that since it is a brand new playground about to enter its first season of use, people should wait and see what other needs develop such as providing shade over the playground area, fencing and matting under the swings.

Delaware Township To Post New 35 MPH Speed Limit On Child Park Road

Delaware Township To Post New 35 MPH Speed Limit On Child Park Road

Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, March 2, 2017

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY - Motorists pushing the pedal on Childs Park Road will be warned to slow down as the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved an ordinance dropping the speed limit to 35 mph.

The road, also known as Park Road, had no posted speed limit until this approval, which followed a brief public hearing that had no question or challenge from the gathering. The new speed limit was determined after an engineering and traffic study conducted by Boucher & James Inc. on Jan. 10. The report stated the road is 20 to 24 feet wide with no shoulders and has some sharp bends with limited visibility.

The board afterward approved $1,600 to buy speed limit signs and materials from Garden State Highway Products Inc., the low bidder from among five companies the township reviewed for the project. The road’s old speed limit had defaulted to the state standard of 55 mph.

It is the second road in the township to mandate a lower speed limit, with an ordinance approved in mid-October dropping the speed to 35 mph on Doolan Road after a traffic study by Boucher & James.

Board Chairman Jeff Scheetz said no other roads are being considered for a lower speed limit.

               Resident Rich Hutchison asked about state police enforcement against speeding on Park Road, a question that also had been raise last fall by other residents when Doolan Road’s lower speed limit was passed.

               “Can I call the state police to sit in my driveway?” Hutchison asked. He was told that police might not be able to be stationed at residences, and police have other spots set aside.

               “Before the “racetrack’ turns, can we have the signs that have the orange diamonds at the top of the sign like you see on some speed limit signs on other roads, notifying drivers of the speed limit,” Hutchinson asked. “I was hit almost four times pulling out of my driveway.”

               Scheetz was open to the suggestion. “It’s just amazing there haven’t been more accidents,” he said.

               Residents also asked if Ordinance 401A banning roadside parking on Park Road-which was passed when the Doolan Road speed limit was set last fall- would be enforced by towing away violating vehicles. Residents said that with Childs Park’s lot full when weather is favorable like it has been lately that some motorists park their cars on the roadside and walk into the park. Scheetz assured the ordinance would be enforced.

               Also, the board tabled the appointment of Tom Ryan to the township’s Planning Commition on request of Supervisor John Henderson, who wanted further discussion. Henderson was absent from the previous meeting and workshop where receipt of Ryan’s letter of interest was discussed.

               Ryan had resigned as a member of the Board of Supervisors in early January so he could pursue retirement plans for himself and his wife, Debbie. Ron Hough also is a member of the Planning Commission.

               Scheetz pointed out there are two vacant positions on the five-member Planning Commission. One position was advertised for letters of interest in October and got no response. Scheetz said that since an article ran in the Pike County Dispatch about Ryan’s letter of interest for one position, there have been five applicants for the positions.

               The board also approved in a 2-1 vote with Henderson dissenting the purchase of paint and materials for the EMA building for $1,058.95 from Home Depot. Henderson said there should be price quotes from other stores before deciding. Township Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Ed Hammond said that purchases under the township’s Home Depot credit card accrue toward future discounts. Township Administrator Krista Predmore said the township has a $200 credit.

               The board unanimously approved Pike County Generator’s $615 estimate to install an Itron second stage regulator that will more evenly feed fuel into the township generator as it is needed.

               Scout Project Proclamation - Also, Cody Daily of Delaware Township Scout Troop 1005 received a proclamation from the supervisors for completion of a project last June 25-26 at Akenac Park in which he laid new mulch along a half-acre of a trail and built a 14-by-18-foot boundary made from railroad ties for a recreation workout area. Dailey said it allows for installation of things like a sit-up bar and a pull-up bar, for example. He also installed three benches. Daily said he was helped by 30 volunteers the first day and 20 the second day.

               His project ended up under his $418 cost estimate and he donated those surplus funds he raised toward township park projects. Dailey was accompanied by his dad, Brad Dailey, and Troop 1005 Eagle Scout Advisor Nicole Herman at the meeting.

               Wesley Witherel, another member of Troop 1005, spoke about his upcoming Eagle Scout Project that includes installing four benches and three bear-proof garage canisters at Akenac Park.

               The board also discussed again at its workshop before the meeting about whether and how it might spend $20,000 surplus of funds budgeted for the Akenac Park playground project after contractor Liberty Parks & Playgrounds Inc. informed the township that it overestimated the cost for the poured-in-place surfacing.

               The discussion focused on a wheelchair apparatus that would include a swing costing $1,225. Predmore said the vast majority of the 30 responders to a township Facebook survey that included 28 from the township and two others from Pike County said they wanted a wheelchair swing. Predmore said, based on the playground design, the wheelchair swing would replace two of the eight existing swings.

               Hough spoke against that idea because he said there already are two handicapped swings.

Predmore said the wheelchair swing could replace the small children swings and said those children can play on the generation swings that can accommodate different ages. She said rubber matting could be placed in that area instead of mulch that could be kicked away and it can be purchased under that surplus.

               “No other park here has that. I like the idea of purchasing something special for our park.” Resident Jane Neufeld said as some other residents shared support of the idea.

               But Scheetz cited Predmore’s report during the discussion that the Delaware School District accommodates only four wheelchair students.

               “I have some doubts it will get much use,” Scheetz said.

               Scheetz also dismissed, after discussion, Predmore’s presentation of a Dr. Pepper/Keep America Beautiful Recycling bin Grant that would supply a dozen bins for Akenac Park.

               The grant would call for pickup of recyclables and Predmore said she had gotten a $50 monthly price quote from one hauler. It also calls for tracking the volume of discarded recyclables.

               Predmore said cans could be set aside and cashed in for money toward a community project. Predmore said, when asked, that there is no contract and that it is a two-year agreement.

               “Who is going to keep track of this and how are we going to monitor this? Some people throw (regular) garage in those cans,” resident Len Glamann said.

               “I don’t sense a groundswell of enthusiasm for this,” Scheetz said.

               Henderson, during the meeting’s public comment period, pointed to a section in the January issue of Pennsylvania Township News that focuses on the theme of public trust and complying with the state Ethics Act.

               He said he learned that an ethics complaint could be filed up to six years after an alleged violation occurred. “The most important thing a supervisor can give to the community is integrity and ethics,” Henderson said.

               The board during its meeting announced spring Electronic Recycling Day takes place 8a.m. to 4 p.pm. on April 1 at the township Bulk Waste Area at 145 Wilson Hill Road at the cost of $10 per car.

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