Twp. Passes Dilapidated Properties Ordinance
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - November 10, 2021
DINGMANS FERRY -- The National Park Service is in the process of demolishing some dangerously rundown buildings in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area that are not historic landmarks.
Lehman Township passed an ordinance in 2018 addressing repairing or razing neglected buildings in the township.
Now, Delaware Township has a similar ordinance regulating shabby buildings.
The Board of Supervisors, after a brief public hearing during last week's bi-monthly regular meeting , passed Ordinance 801 regarding dangerous or dilapidated properties.
The ordinance aims to "protect the life, safety or general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Township of Delaware from structures damaged by fire, wind, water or other causes so as to have become dangerous."
Its intent is to "prevent injury to members of the public or adjoining property from parts that might fall or injure them."
Many of these properties either were abandoned or the owners were evicted through foreclosure.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson responded to a question on how the township would respond to those problems and said the township must get a complaint from a neighboring resident.
When that happens, the owner of the property will receive a written notification and have 30 days to remedy the problem or repair the building. The owner can be granted an extension "for good cause."
If action is not taken within that time, the owner will receive an order to vacate the property from the township and the property must be secured.
If action is not taken, the township will secure the property and submit a billing of costs to the owner with a 10 percent penalty. In cases where no further action is taken by the property owner, the township can move forward with demolition, if necessary.
When asked afterward if there are dilapidated structures in the township, Henderson said, "Yes." When later asked if it is a prevalent problem, Henderson said there are "quite a few" structures in disrepair.
The board also is moving forward with updating building ordinance 201 in compliance with the recently updated federal Uniform Construction Code (UCC) after supervisors discussed that matter during a workshop preceding the regular meeting.
Supervisors at the regular meeting also approved the first payment to Wayco Inc. for $11,834.80 for the Log & Twig Road Culvert Replacement Project. It also approved renewal of the athletic field service contract with TruGreen for $7,100. They agreed to advertise for a township cleaning contract for all township facilities for the 2022 fiscal year.
After interviewing her during the workshop, the board during the regular meeting approved Donna Laux to fill a vacated seat on the Recreation Committee.
A $300 donation to the Pike County Developmental Center also was approved. Small donations were given in prior years to PCCD except last year because of COVID-19.
Also at the meeting the board approved Roadmaster Vince Flatt to drive truck 1 to and from work beyond regular business hours, beginning Nov. 1, which would make him readily available to respond to emergency calls.
Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society was approved use of the municipal hall from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 4 for its annual meeting and luncheon. The society does not meet at its building at Akenac Park during winter months.
However, the board unanimously refused LightsConnect Yoga from use of the building on Wednesdays and Fridays from Oct. 15, 2021 through May 15, 2022. Before the vote, Henderson commented, "This may be for profit, which is not something we normally do." Supervisor Jane Neufeld said that organization may want to look into renting a hall elsewhere.
During the workshop the board also interviewed Joseph Dunn for a Zoning Hearing Board vacant position after he had submitted a letter of interest. Dunn, who recently relocated to the area, said he offers 30 years of construction experience and his familiarity with rules, regulations and codes. "I just want to be part of the community," said Dunn, who continues to work daily in New York City.
"With his background, he could be a valuable member of the zoning board," commented Neufeld.
Dunn also said he wants to be involved with the township's volunteer fire company and spoke afterward with Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker, who also is president of the fire company.
Beodeker spoke at a budget workshop after the regular meeting about the fire company's allocations, which he said it is "not asking for anything additional" from the township budget. Beodeker's Emergency Management Department as well as Liquid Fuels and the Recreation Committee were discussed and funding will be unchanged in the budget.
Beodeker said he is planning to schedule two meetings in the weeks ahead before the end of the year: one with the public and one with community business people.
Henderson announced at the end of the regular meeting that the Pike County Office of Emergency Management is partnering with Wayne Community Health Center to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Pike County Training Center every third Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. The next one is Nov. 17. All brands of vaccine will be available for first, second or booster shots as applicable. Advance registration is required by calling the Wayne Community Health Center COVID Hotline at (570) 253-8197 or registration can be done online at www.wmh.org.