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Delaware Renews Cable Agreement For 5 Years

Delaware Renews Cable Agreement For 5 Years
The Pike County Dispatch
Thursday, June 30, 2022
By Wayne Witkowski

INGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township supervisors unanimously approved, after a brief public hearing, an ordinance for a new five-year franchise cable agreement with Blue Ridge Communications during the regular meeting on Wednesday last week.
The ordinance agreement keeps the same terms as the expiring five-year contract in which Blue Ridge intends "to maintain, construct, operate and upgrade its cable system over, under and along the aforesaid right-of-way for use by the township's residents," according to the ordinance.
It is done by "utilizing public right-of-way and properties within the township's jurisdiction."
Fees for the cable maintenance and upgrades come from a 1.5 percent tax built into township residents' monthly bills for cable television usage.
Fees that are not used go back to the township for its general funds on a quarterly basis, which is estimated at about .5 percent of that customer tax.
The agreement, in compliance with state and federal standards,  comes after nearly two years of ongoing meetings and discussions between the supervisors and Blue Ridge and some executive sessions during Board of Supervisors workshops that preceded their regular meetings..
During the regular meeting, supervisors agreed to pay American Rescue Fund bills of $72,882.81 for three culvert replacement projects for Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer roads. The American Rescue Fund is a COVID 19 federal endowment. Supervisors also approved a motion to extend by 14 days for contractors to receive materials and complete the Log & Twig Road work. It will be done by July 3.
Also, Kevin Riker was appointed full-time assistant roadmaster at a rate o $27 per hour and a $3,000 hiring incentive bonus, including $2,000 of that incentive toward future work service.
Supervisors also approved a payment of $7,700 to Kirk Summa & Co. LLP for the audit of financial records to year end Dec. 31, 2021.
Little Wonders Learning Center again was granted use of Akenac Park for fields days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 24, July 29 and Aug. 15.
The township noise ordinance again was discussed briefly during the workshop prior to the regular meeting but was set aside until further information is gathered comparing the township's proposed ordinance to the noise restrictions of the State Liquor Control Board.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded the gathering during the Announcements segment at the end of the regular meeting that the application deadline has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2022 for the property tax/rent rebate program for older and disabled Pennsylvanians by the Department of Revenue and Aging. Applications can be filed online by visiting mypath.pa.gov. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said further questions can be directed to the office of state Rep. Rosemary Brown.

Drivers Concerned About Bridge Work Detours

Drivers Concerned About Bridge Work Detours
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - May 18, 2022

DINGMANS FERRY -- Most of the 20 people who gathered for the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly workshop prior to the regular meeting last week came to hear details about the plans and to voice their concerns about the impact Pennsylvania Department of Transportation work on two township bridges will have on their commutes and emergency response.
The projects call for 30-mile detours.
Supervisors made available to the public copies of the report from PennDOT. Feedback can be forwarded to PennDOT Project Manager Richard Summa at (570) 963-4933 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
One of the scheduled repairs -- a single span, steel I-beam bridge on State Route 2001/Milford Road built in 1939, spans over Dingmans Creek. It is scheduled to begin next spring. The bridge, which recently reduced its weight limit to a posted 20 tons because of its deteriorating condition, involves reconstruction, replacing portions of the concrete wingwalls, masonry work, milling and paving the approach roadway and updating guiderails. The detour, onto state routes 2003 and 2004 for a length of 32.5 miles, will take approximately four months.
"The Dingmans Creek bridge is about fixing everything," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld.
Because of the reduced weight limit, many trucks have changed their routes onto Park Road. Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt has said in prior meetings that he has communicated with PennDOT his concerns about how the added heavy truck traffic has significantly damaged that road's surface.
The other scheduled repair -- a reinforced concrete slab bridge built in 1934 along State Route 2004 with a posted 30-ton weight limit, spans over Nichecronke Brook. It drew most of the attention in the workshop discussion.That project will involve milling the pavement for a 21/2-inch overlay on the bridge and milling and paving the approaching roadway as well as concrete deck repairs.
It will take about three weeks, tentatively through July. Traffic will be detoured for 36.5 miles onto state routes 2001 (Milford Road), 402, 739, 2004 (Silver Lake Road) and Interstate Route 84.
The detours are lengthy because PennDOT can only detour traffic onto state roads, not local ones.
Members of the public questioned why the bridge has to be closed for the repaving when traffic can alternate to one side of the road at a time like another PennDOT bridge repair in neighboring Lehman Township this summer.
Marcel Lakes resident Carl Hufnagel talked about the added mileage he will need to drive to get to his construction job in Milford for the Nichecronke bridge project this summer.
"To put this on a significant number of residents who will have an impact is extremely unreasonable for PennDOT," said Hufnagel.
Another resident talked about the added expense with the rising cost of gas for her to commute to her job as a nurse in a New Jersey hospital. "And what about our ambulances," she asked.
"Fire and ambulance have received the report and we fully expect their comments. It's worthy of lots of comments," said Neufeld of the township emergency response services.
A school bus driver said that, although school is not in regular session in the summer, there are buses serving that area for students in summer school classes and activities. "You'll have to reroute everybody," the driver said of school uses serving township residents.
One resident asked what the supervisors felt.
"It's got to be done, no doubt about that," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson. "They're doing the best they can do with the constraints they have."
But Henderson, Neufeld and fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler encouraged the gathering to forward all concerns to PennDOT. Neufeld said she will voice comments when the Pike County Road Task Force holds its next monthly meeting.
"I haven't missed a meeting in four years and I will raise my hand and say, 'You need to rethink this,' " said Neufeld.
The report also states that another bridge project in neighboring Lehman Township for a state Route 2003 bridge over Little Bushkill Creek this summer will utilize half-width construction at a time and alternate traffic to one lane with stop signs. It will take two months and involves replacing steel I-beams, the concrete deck and bridge barrier.
At the regular meeting, supervisors adopted Resolution 2022-07, which opposes the designation change of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to Delaware River National Park and/or Preserve until all proper information and a formal plan is presented. The resolution was revised after the last meeting when the supervisors heard comments from the public and agreed to suggested revisions.
It recommends a map and analysis of how this change would impact local residents.
Under New Business, the supervisors awarded the Delaware Township Comprehensive Plan Request for Proposal (RFP) to Theurkauf Design & Planning for $59,250.00. The board tabled awarding the Delaware Township Park Master Plan and Site Drawing RFP to Simone Collins Landscape Architect for $49,835 until the township Planning Commission and Recreation Committee review the plan.
Supervisors approved payment request No. 1 culvert replacement project of $112,623.51 for Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer Roads.
Len Glamann got a warm welcome back from the board of supervisors when he was approved as an interim Planning Commission member. Glamann, who served for nearly 20 years before retiring two years ago, will complete the remaining term until the end of next year that was held by Jim Andre, who resigned. from the Planning Commission. "I'm glad to come back," said Glamann to the supervisors upon his appointment.

Two other vacant seats need to be filled on the seven-member board. Bob Hunt has withdrawn his letter of interest for one of the other two vacant seats after he made a presentation to the supervisors at the previous meeting.
Also, the resignation of Robin Eldred from the township Recreation Committee was accepted and approved by the supervisors.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to waive building and zoning permit fees for the Habitat for Humanity of Pike County Inc. handicap ramp project at 111 East Shore Dr. in the private community of Birchwood Lakes.
ABS Solutions LLC proposal for a Microsoft 365 renewal for $1,632.00 was approved.
Ray’s Truck and Auto Repair estimate of $4,930 for the township's 2015 Kenworth was approved.
Among municipal hall use requests, supervisors approved Milford Valley Quilters Guild on Oct. 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a workshop.
Henderson announced that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office is now offering free car seat safety checks. Call 570-296-6459 to schedule an appointment.

Owner Seeks Rezoning Of Route739 Tract

Owner Seeks Rezoning Of Route739 Tract
By Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, May 5, 2022

DINGMANS FERRY -- The 308-acre tract of land known as Forest Glen on Route 739 across from Delaware Plaza anchored by Weis Market again came under discussion for a possible commercial usage.
"It's been proposed for a lot of things that never happened and now it's for sale again," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld during a workshop before last Wednesday's Delaware Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly meeting. She later cited one plan in 2004 to develop a combined housing and business center there.
Supervisors pointed out that tract is partially zoned rural residential and partially zoned commercial. The board had heard from the current owner who wants more of it zoned commercial for a prospective buyer. "But they did not indicate what they want to do with the property," said Neufeld, which would need to be established to pursue any conditional use request to change the zoning.

"They have to come in with a proposal," commented resident Steve McBride.
Township Solicitor Thomas Farley said the process is "very early" as more information is needed.
During the workshop that preceded the regular meeting, supervisors discussed with representatives from PA American Water and township engineer Jon Tresslar about ending the township's building moratorium at private community Marcel Lake by that would affect as many as 50 lots that are for sale in the community. The reason is that PA American Water now can meet sewerage and water capacity demands for more building.
"People there have wanted this for years," said Farley.
Representatives at the meeting from PA American Water, which took over the system two years ago from a prior company, said they are midway through a seven-step project that included repairing the facility there in its efforts to satisfy Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies' standards. A similar seven-step project at Wild Acres private community has just begun.
In ending the moratorium, supervisors said a party buying a lot to build a house must do so in a short time span that includes certifying water and sewerage for that lot.
"He (a buyer) can't buy a lot and sit on it for 10 years, or at least not build on it right away," said Neufeld. "We have insured steps to have a time frame and what certifications need to happen first."

"We need to coordinate this," said Farley.
During the regular meeting, supervisors heard and accepted the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company's first quarter report for 2022. It indicated 39 incidents that included five fires and 18 rescue and emergency medical services that involved seven motor vehicle accidents with injuries and five with no injuries. Seven incidents were false alarms or false calls due to malfunctioning alert equipment. Volunteer firefighters put in 956.94 total hours, with 746 of those hours dedicated to training.
A change in the township cellular service provider to T-Mobile from Verizon Wireless was approved. "It's about half the cost," said Neufeld when asked the reason for the move to T-Mobile.
Delaware Township Park Master Plan and Site Drawing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and township Comprehensive Plan RFPs were received and opened from consultants, elaborating on their qualifications and fees. The RFPs were then tabled, pending further review of the two RFPs received for the Master Plan and three for the Comprehensive Plan.
The Maser Plan involves Akenac Park and the Comprehensive Plan, dating back to 2006, includes evaluations and projections for quality of life details for township residents such as infrastructure and emergency services. Neufeld pointed out afterward that the township is late on renewing its Comprehensive Plan, which should be done every 10 years.
Supervisors tabled adoption of Resolution 2022-07 opposing the National Park Service's proposed designation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to the Delaware River National Park. Supervisors agreed there is a a lack of information on the plan about what it means for public lands and its impact on the community. They agreed during discussion of a point raised by resident McBride that the wording of terms of the resolution need to be clearer regarding the lack of information or other requested information that may be supplied before the township approves the plan. McBride proposed a reworded version that was accepted by Farley, who said a rewritten resolution will be prepared for consideration at an upcoming supervisors meeting.
Hiring five seasonal part-time lifeguards for the lake at Akenac Park was approved by the board.
An application by a resident to use Ball Park Pavilion on May 16 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. for a women’s empowerment night was approved.
During public comment, Neufeld pointed out that she learned from a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official that repair work for Wilson Hill Road is under way. She said she was informed that two other repairs on a damaged culvert on Silver Lake Road and a bridge repair over Dingmans Creek on Milford Road/State Route 2001 are delayed with National Park Service red tape and recommended a letter be drafted and sent on the matter to the NPS. Neufeld said she also learned that completion of the project to widen Milford Road/State Route 2001 in Delaware Township again is extended out from 2029 to 2031. It previously was designated for completion by 2027.
Bob Hunt, who submitted a letter of interest for a vacant seat on the Planning Commission, introduced himself to the supervisors during the workshop. He said he looked to continue his community involvement as he did in Charlotte, N.C. where he lived before relocating two years ago to Delaware Township. Supervisors said they would discuss the application in an upcoming executive session. The commission, which has five members, currently has two vacancies

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that the the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for May 17 is cancelled due to election day. He also reminded the gathering that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office is now offering free car seat safety checks. Call 570-296-6459 to schedule an appointment.
Henderson said a Flowering Trees and Shrubs Walk through historic Milford takes place 2-4 p.m. on May 14 at a $10 cost. Register online or call 877-345-0691.

Delaware Tweaks Plaza Plan, Voices Concern About Exit

Delaware Tweaks Plaza Plan, Voices Concern About Exit
Pike County Dispatch
March 31, 2022
By Wayne Witkowski


DINGMANS FERRY -- What started as a procedural public hearing for a modification of the final Delaware Plaza plan that would reconfigure a bluerprint for a bank on the front of the plaza evolved into a discussion of concerns about public safety by two Delaware Township supervisors.
The plan was heard by a joint session of members of the Planning Commission and the Delaware Township supervisors during their regular meeting, an arrangement that has been used in the past that was considered "unique" by township Solicitor Thomas Farley to have both boards present at the hearing.
Project Engineer Joe Hudak presented the blueprint that enlarges the proposed bank from 2,000 to 2,500-square feet. The three drive-through lanes originally proposed would change to two drive-through lanes and a passing lane.
The chanrge was requested by a prospective bank during negotiations with the developer, according to Hudak, who said he did not know the name of the bank. Weis Market is the anchor store for the plaza.
"I know they (the bank) need space and wanted to eliminate the extra drive-through (lane)," said Hudak.
Roadmaster Vince Flatt asked if the change would affect the impervious surface and stormwater runoff and Hudak answered, "It will actually reduce it."
Members of the Planning Commission approved the modified plan during the hearing and the supervisors later unanimously approved the change on a motion after they reconvened their regular meeting.
But late during the public hearing, Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson firmly posed his concerns about the safety of motorists exiting the plaza onto Route 739. Although the contour exit lane is designed for right-hand turns only, with signage, some drivers turn left into speeding traffic coming from both directions.
"There are drivers speeding fast up the hill (before the plaza on Route 739) and these (exiting) drivers are not supposed to be turning left," said Henderson as he and fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler commented, "Somebody is going to get killed."
Supervisors discussed alternatives. Farley cautioned that the hearing was scheduled to discuss only the bank property modifications but Hudak addressed the issue of what he called an "illegal turn."
"There is sufficient sight distance but it should be a right turn only," said Hudak. "We have signs and have spoken to the state police about it. I'll speak to them again.".
Also at the meeting, the supervisors approved unanimously a subsidy of $81,536.98 to the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps for electronic stretchers and maintenance of the three ambulances. Half of the funding would come from the township and the other half from the Pike County commissioners under their Emergency Medical Services funding supplied by the federal American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief. Delaware Township can apply for a maximum $215,664 fro emergency medical purposes.
The subsidy was discussed during the workshop prior to the regular meeting by the supervisors with DTVAC captain Kyle Wright and DTVAC Board of Directors President Carl Will. They had requested $106,537 as the supervisors disagreed.
DTVAC recently received a quarterly payment of $37,500 from the township for personnel expenditures during the first quarter of 2022.
Wright said DTVAC response to emergency calls has increased of late despite its limited schedule. Will said the ambulance transports emergencies that need hospitalization to four possible hospitals: Newton Memorial, Bon Secours Care Center in Milford, Lehigh Valley in Stroudsburg and St. Luke's, also in Stroudsburg.
"We have to follow EMS protocols to the closes and most appropriate facility," said Will.
Will said DTVAC still is restructuring and filling seats for its Board of Directors. He said afterward there are five members "but we're hoping for seven to nine" as they go through letters of interest.
Will said the organization is looking to purchase a new ambulance next year as it is getting more costly to maintain its current, aging fleet.
Both Wright and Will agreed that the upkeep of equipment is becoming more difficult. "We only have another year of service from some of this equipment before it no longer can be useful," said Wright.
Resident Ron Hough objected to residents having to pay for two ambulance companies' services for an emergency call if two ambulances show up at the same time. "Those residents shouldn't have to pay for both," said Hough.
"That is a valid point," said Wright. "But this is a federal issue, not a state issue when it involves Medicare and Medicaid. There is nothing that local municipalities can do."
Henderson said the supervisors have been receiving in recent months more financial data covering recent years from the ambulance corps, but the board imposed an April 20 deadline to receive 2021 balance sheets and personnel costs in order for the township to be encouraged to continue funding the service.
"The township needs to have a perfect picture of the (DTVAC's) financial situation to give the money that's needed," said resident Steve McBride.
On recommendation from Supervisor Jane Neufeld, the supervisors approved the subsidy, bypassing receiving the 2021 balance sheet and personnel costs scheduled by April 20 in order to meet the deadline for the county matching fund that has a quarterly deadline at the end of March.
Supervisors approved, in a 2-1 vote, the request for proposal for a planner related to update the Delaware Township Comprehensive Plan as well as the Delaware Township Akenac Park Master Plan. Henderson cast the dissenting vote after arguing during discussion before the vote that the designers of the plans should be local people rather than outside agencies. Henderson said those people would have a deeper understanding of the plans and also would charge less.
Supervisors opened road bids for Spencer Road and for Log & Twig Road -- seven each -- and tabled the selection of the construction company for each job pending engineer review and recommendations. Low bidders were Wayco for Spencer Road and Hanson Aggregates for Log & Twig Road.
Also approved was the $5,325.00 steel plate purchase from R.S. Phillips Steel to cover the Akenac Park bridge until the culvert can be replaced.
Supervisors approved advertising for part-time seasonal lifeguards and a part-time seasonal park supervisor for the Akenac Park lake.
They approved request for the use of fields 1 and 3 by the Matthew Oehlman Men’s Softball League for games on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning April 17 through Sept. 11.
Henderson announced that a Working Pike Job Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 5 at the Best Western Inn at Hunt’s Landing. For questions call 570-296-2909. He also said a Zoning Hearing Board meeting will be held 6 p.m. on April 9.

Luhrs Hardware Expansion Wins Approval

Luhrs Hardware Expansion Wins Approval
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Commercial growth continues along the Route 739 corridor as Delaware Township Board of Supervisors, after a public hearing during the regular meeting, unanimously approved the Luhrs Land Development plan that calls for expansion of the True Value hardware store.
Tom Magnotta, an attorney whose office is in Hawley, represented the owners, and project designer Lou Cozza of Riley Associates, presented a blueprint of the plan at 1543 Route 739 that calls for a 50 percent expansion of the store and additional parking spaces on the property. The owners were unable to attend as they were away, although it was stated that they would have attended the originally scheduled meeting that was postponed from the previous week because of a snowstorm.
Magnotta said the plan has a developer's agreement and was cleared by the township Planning Commission. A letter of adequacy from the Pike County Conservation District was received as well as an approval from the Pike County Planning Commission, with no comment.
The store, situated on a 10.37-acre parcel, will have a 3,000-square-foot addition to the current 6,000-square-foot property. Parking will be more than doubled from 20 spots to 44, with two handicap parking spots.
Cozza said there is no increase in septic or stormwater runoff.
There will be access through a covered porch from the side of the building. Tractor trailer deliveries can be unloaded in the back. The entry roadway will be properly prepared.
Also during the meeting, supervisors approved resolutions to request Loan Share Account (Monroe gaming casino funds) grant requests for $176,755 toward replacing an Akenac Park road culvert and $73,975 for a Public Works vehicle that will include an auger and a snow plow.
The board also approved adopting the Short-Term Rental Application form and the amended fee schedule for short-term rental permits for the recently passed ordinance.
Also approved was the Non-Conforming Use Certificate Application Required for Dwellings rented for 30 consecutive days or less. Supervisors also answered questions clarifying the "grandfathering" of short-term rentals and their extent of responsibilities under the new ordinance.
The board approved payment of $4,625 to Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC for its consultation work on properly disbursing American Rescue Plan funding over the next three years.
Richard Englehardt, vice president of the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company who heads recruiting for the company, spoke in his presentation during the supervisors' workshop before their regular meeting about a proposed tax break under consideration for members of the fire company. "We're collecting ordinances from around the state on how they (townships) use it, as a model," said Englehardt. "Toward the end of the second quarter, we'll bring a formal proposal."
Members of the company residing in the township would have a reduction in their property tax. Englehardt said it "definitely can help" with recruitment and retention of members, which he called a "tremendous challenge."
At the end of his presentation, Englehardt said to the supervisors, "It sounds like your receptive to this," as Board of supervisors Chairman John Henderson responded, "Oh, yeah."
Supervisors approved Kuharchik Construction Inc.'s proposal to purchase and install a steel junction box (instead of the concrete ones that has been used) at the intersection of state routes 209 and 739 for $1,594 and for annual traffic signal response maintenance and preventive maintenance.
The board also approved a municipal hall request by the Old Marcel Lake Property Owners Association from 8 a.m. to noon on July 9 for an annual property owners meeting. Also approved was the Delaware Township Democratic Club's use of Akenac Park on July 16 (with a July 17 rain date) from noon to 6 p.m. for its annual picnic and for use of the municipal hall on Aug. 13 from noon to 9 p.m. for a mystery dinner fundraiser.
Henderson during public comment apologized for what he regarded as his improperly pursuing complaints he received about loud noise from a local establishment. Henderson said he contacted the state police through the main number rather than a special 800 number that dispatches the proper state police authority to handle that situation. Henderson said the state police did arrive at the scene to address the problem but that complaint is handled by a specific department.
Under Announcements, Henderson informed the gathering that First Energy's Pennsylvania Utilities are urging residential customers experiencing financial hardship to contact their utility as soon as possible to establish an affordable payment arrangement or obtain assistance before the winter utility disconnection moratorium is lifted and shutoffs for nonpayment resume, beginning April 1.
Supervisors again will have their workshop and regular board meeting on Wednesday this week as usual. Meetings are on the second and fourth Wednesdays but are being held on back-to-back weeks because the March 9 meeting was rescheduled to last Wednesday because of the weather. The workshop begins at 6 p.m.

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