24-Hour Fitness Gym on Route 739 Wins Approval
By Wayne Witkowski
The Pike County Dispatch
DINGMANS FERRY -- With the New Year only weeks old, Delaware Township Supervisors John Henderson and Rick Koehler hit the ground running at the first workshop and regular meeting of the year.
- They voted, in a tone of regret, to accept the unexpected resignation of fellow Supervisor Jane Neufeld, effective on New Year's Eve. They will appoint an interim supervisor for the duration of Neufeld's term, which expires at the end of the year, at the Feb. 8 meeting in compliance with state Class 2 township codes. Henderson explained, when asked, that townships must fill a supervisor vacancy within 30 days of a resignation. No letters of interest will be considered. If they can not decide on a replacement, the task goes to the vacancy board, which is Steve McBride, for a recommendation.
- A proposal for a 24-hour fitness gym to be built on the property next to Dollar General beyond Akenac Park on Route 739 was approved with a hefty list of conditions after a joint public hearing with the township Planning Commission and the supervisors. Project manager Lou Cozza of Niclaus Engineering in Stroudsburg presented the blueprints as he and fitness center owner Chris Colella, joined by co-owner and wife Veronica, discussed the 7,000-square-foot project. The Colellas wish to relocate Iron Body Strength and Fitness center from its current location that opened in 2021 farther along Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry, which has 4,800 square-feet split in the two-floor building. Chris Colella said the public popularity with memberships is "outgrowing" the current location, which "has been working out pretty well and gotten established."
- At the end of the meeting, Henderson announced a proposed Shawnee-Walker Transmission Line Public Information Session that will take place at the township municipal building 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 18) this week. Henderson expressed expectation that it will draw a larger public gathering than usual, much like a September meeting when residents came to express their concerns about health risks from exposure to electromagnetic waves from the high voltage wires. Residents also briefly discussed the project at the previous meeting on Dec. 7. The line, which would serve as an alternate power supply during outages, would run through rights of way next to homes in the township's residential zone and through Akenac Park. It also would run through neighboring Lehman Township through its state gameland areas but not run through residential neighborhoods.
- The township also took its first steps toward posting mph speed limit signs at curves in the township by approving the $760.80 purchase of a ball bank indicator. The device measures in a vehicle the centrifugal force as it takes a curve in the road to tabulate the preferred speed. "We have no sped limit signs on our roads (for curves) right now," said township Administrator Krista Predmore.
The public hearing for the fitness center drew the most attention, taking a half hour before motions for land development, conditional use and the planning module for the .9 acres of property for the building were approved afterward during the regular meeting. Chris Colella said groundbreaking was anticipated to begin in April. Cozza said the startup plans were not final but township Engineer Jon Tresslar said he cited only "minor things" in his letter critiquing the initial plans.
Chris Colella afterward expressed confidence in meeting the conditions, saying the public hearing and approvals "went well, better than we thought."
A posting on his website forecasted this move. It read, "We would like to thank everyone for helping our business grow this past year. We are excited to see that we were able to help everyone achieve their goals. We will keep striving to make the best gym for this area. BIG THINGS TO COME IN THE FUTURE FOR IRON BODY STRENGTH AND FITNESS."
Much discussion of the conditions focused on stormwater management facilities in the buffer area in which a variance would be obtained while the township ordinance would be amended in 60 days to suit the project.
Cozza said the center would have 37 parking spaces. The entrance to the parking area would be shared with Dollar General. Cozza said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation expressed no concern about any increase in traffic that would need modifications to that part of Route 739. Parking lot lights would be pointed downward so as not to intrude on nearby residential areas. "You will see Dollar General lights more than these," said Cozza.
Cozza said a "minimal amount of trees would be eliminated where necessary." "We're not doing a lot of earth work but working with what is necessary," Cozza told the supervisors.
George Beodeker, president of the township volunteer fire company's Board of Directors, questioned whether drive lanes through the parking lot would enable fire company access to the back of the building if needed and Cozza showed in the plans that it would be an adequate 25 feet wide.
Also approved during the regular meeting was advertising to fill two vacancies on the township Zoning Hearing Board and two on the Recreation Committee.
Supervisors approved the 2023 proposal for lake management at Akenac Park by Aquatic Environment Consultants Inc. for $3,675.00. It will treat filamentous algae, watershield and other negative elements at the lake at Akenac Park.
They also renewed service with Ehrlich Pest Control for pest control maintenance at the park for $840 and exterior insect maintenance at the park for $2,156. Also renewed was TruGreen service for township athletic fields for $7,100.15.
A retroactive motion to pay John Bonham Road Supplies' invoice of $5,857.62 was approved.
Municipal hall use request was approved for the Milford Valley Quilters Guild for a community service project 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday in 2023 as well as the Wild Acres Property Owners Association on the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Board of Directors meetings and for June 3 for the annual board meeting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the workshop, Henderson said the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps is asking for $107,500 from the township for its current quarterly subsidy. Also during the workshop, Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company Chief Michael Cairns gave a December report that he said "is no different than any other month," including 21 members working 251 hours. "You guys do wonderful things," commented Henderson afterward. Supervisors approved the $1,170.79 fourth quarter fire taxes distribution during the regular meeting.