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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.

 

 

 

Spending Approval For Recreation Hall Wasn’t Unanimous

 Spending Approval For Recreation Hall Wasn’t Unanimous

 By: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, July 7, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY- The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors voted yes on several motions regarding Akenac Park during the June 22 meeting, although not all supervisors were in agreement with the spending.

                 Supervisors voted to pay for Singer equipment installed in the Recreation Hall at Akenac Park in the amount of $15,683.05 from the Monroe LSA account with Supervisor John Henderson adding, “I’m going to vote yes on this thing even though I disagree with a lot of stuff that is going in the Rec Hall simply because the equipment’s there, the people did their job and we need to pay them for what they did.”

                 Supervisors also voted to purchase building materials for the bathhouse totaling $6,822.87 plus labor, which totaled $7,717.00.  Henderson commented, “I am going to vote no on this motion.  We are going to shortly authorize, I hope, a stress analysis or whatever you want to call it for the Rec Hall and I’d like to hold off on spending until we find out what the results of that are and how much it’s going to cost to remediate anything down there, should that be necessary.”

                 Supervisor Tom Ryan added a motion to add $2,000 for pier remediation per Boucher & James’s recommendation.  Both motions were approved by Ryan and Supervisor Chairman Jeff Scheetz.

                 In other business, Resolution 2016-05 for the plan review of the Sewage Facilities Planning Module for Marcel Lakes Estates was approved as well as upgrades to the Township Website by Niki Jones Agency since the Website had suffered hacker attacks in the last few weeks and was in need of an archive module to keep the site clean.

                 During the public comment section of the agenda, Supervisors heard a multiple-page statement made by Rebecca Gray-Kochovos, member of two previous Recreation Boards for the township; one under the old ordinance and one under the new ordinance.  G-K claimed along with another former member of the Recreation Board that during their terms in office in 2012, the Board of Supervisors failed to inform them of their duties, terms, bylaws and ordinance.

                 “In December 2012 we held our first meeting, we were not informed of any new ordinance; we were not given bylaws, or agenda of what our responsibilities were.  We were not told that we needed to be five members, or how long our terms were.” G-K asked the Supervisors for an apology.

                 Other public participation included comments from Jane Neufeld.  She asked the township to consider safety and liability with regards to the foundation of the Recreation Hall and Bath House at Akenac Park.  Neufeld urged the Supervisors to consider putting off spending on matters not urgent to the buildings, such as the kitchen, but to rather spend time and resources on the foundations of these buildings.  Ryan explained to Neufeld that the kitchen was a priority in the Master Plan and that the board was following the plan.

                 Scheetz announced that the Delaware Township Public Library would have Summer Story Hours Friday at 1:30pm and the Mommy and Me Coloring Club from 1-2:20 pm the first Wednesday of every month.  In addition, Akenac Park would host Free Movie Night Saturday July 9 featuring “Pan.”  Other events include Free Pond Exploration at Akenac Park provided by the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Sunday, July 10th from 1-3pm and the Pike County Sheriff’s Drug Take Back Program, Monday through Friday 8:30 to noon and 12:30 to 4:15.

 

 

 

Debate Continues On Akenac Renovations

 

Debate Continues On Akenac Renovations
by: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, June 2, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY-Once again, Akenac Park is a topic of disagreement.  During the May 25 Delaware Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the public and supervisors disagreed on how renovation efforts are being carried out at Akenac Park.

 Dawn Bukaj, a resident and active member of the community, questioned supervisors on what had been done between 2013 and today, since in 2013 the Board of Supervisors knew that the playground was at the end of its life.

“Back in 2013, the supervisors charged the then Events Board to find the money to do a new playground.  They got the booklet of grants, they started the process and then this Board of Supervisors, without any discussion with the Events Board dissolved them at a Supervisor’s Meeting…So between 2013 and 2016 when the playground was taken down, what was done?  In 2013, the Board of Supervisors knew that that playground was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.  What happened in that time span?  Since the Events Board, who could’ve very well taken care of that, taken it off of everyone’s plate, brought it to you for approval, was dissolved and today?”

 Supervisor Chairman Jeff Scheetz, responded that he was not present at the time, so he could not answer, to which Bukaj responded, that there was one supervisor that was there.  Supervisor Tom Ryan replied, “My memory is shot, I can’t remember the whole story.”

  Earlier in the meeting, Ryan had also commented on the lack of support they were receiving from parents.  After Bukaj’s comments, a resident and parent responded that parents who took their kids to Akenac were not always available for township meetings.  “They are not here for these meetings.  They’re down there working.  They’re only here, you know; on the weekend and the summertime…Let’s start something.  Like you said, you had the boards up (in reference to boards the Supervisors had on display at a previous meeting depiction playground designs) and everyone thought it was a go, and now we’re just sitting here wondering what’s going on.”

Supervisors explained that they were waiting on an interactive DVD from a manufacturer so it could be available for residents to see playground designs.

 There are also disagreements amongst the supervisors in terms of renovation efforts.  When it came time to vote on a payment if $4,200 for a 400-amp overhead service, meter consolidation and connection to the distribution panel with new breakers and a reconnection of all sub-feeders, Supervisor John Henderson voted “no.” Henderson is also against some of the renovations taking place.  He sat with the Dispatch immediately after the meeting to discuss his concerns.  “Well, basically I’m opposed to a lot of ‘extraordinary’, I’ll use the word ‘extraordinary’ spending on the camp (Akenac).  I think it’s a wonderful idea.  I don’t think the camp should ever be closed.  It started out as a rural recreational area and it was a wonderful idea, but it somehow got changed to…..one of the things in the documents, ‘to establish a restaurant .’ I’ve had people go through there and the restaurant equipment there is high class equipment.  It’s wonderful equipment, but it’s above and beyond what I believe the township needs.  We’re a rural area yet and we’re building the Taj Mahal in there, and that’s why I voted ‘no.’  We need to bring stuff down to a scale that’s appropriate for Delaware Township.

 In the previous Board of Supervisors’ Meeting, Henderson had expressed concerns regarding Boucher & James’ construction plans, holding up a folder containing very few documents and asking the Supervisors to look into the matter.

 “….I asked them (Boucher & James) for all the drawings that they had and those three plans were the only ones they produced for me (referring to the file he had shown at the previous meeting).  And those plans raise a lot of questions.  For instance, on one of the plans there is stairs, and if you look at the stairs, there is a beam right across the stairs.  Nobody can use them.  There’s no way those stairs are ever going to meet ADA of OSHA requirements.”

When questioned whether Boucher & James built those stairs, Henderson replied that one of the letters sent to him by the aforementioned firm state that the stairs were put in after they did their evaluation of the grounds and that he doesn’t know who put them in, but that they’re dangerous.

When asked what his recommendations to the township would be, he states, “I would remove those stairs, first of all, to eliminate the safety hazard.  I would hire somebody who that knows, a professional that knows about kitchens, and get them in there to evaluate the kitchen.  The one restaurateur that I had through there said the layout is bad, the whole situation is, as I say, so upscale for Delaware Township.  It’s like we can afford a Chevy, but we just brought a Cadillac.”

Supervisor Scheetz had this to say with regards to Henderson’s comments, “What we are replacing as per the committee who looked at that, which I think Mr. Henderson was on it; it was a commercial kitchen…..those appliances were antiquated.  They couldn’t be used anymore, so we had to buy new.  We had to bring them up to code, all the safety standards, ‘cause that’s our primary issue.  And, if there was a cheaper way to do it, I don’t know what it would’ve been.  We have made that whole kitchen facility useable now for at least three seasons of the year, possibly even four.  Originally it was designed for just the summers, when it was just the campers that stayed there….and we wanted to get a lot more use out of it, because it was costing a lot of money to do it.”

 When asked about Mr. Henderson’s comments about taking a restaurateur through the facility, he answered, “Well, A: that’s one person’s opinion.  We had our engineer, Boucher & James.  They designed it and they approved it.  Our building inspector approved it.  I’m not going to say their opinions weren’t perfectly valid, of course they were.  That’s what we’re paying them for, that’s what they’re certified to do.  If we had any viable opinion that what was in there was unsafe, I certainly wouldn’t have approved it.

“And, again, I’m a layman when it comes to the equipment that’s in there, but it’s essentially the same equipment, the same kind of equipment that was in there previously, that stay unused, for I don’t know how many years.”  It should also be noted that the other Supervisors had at least five large binders containing documentation on the Akenac project for the public to see.”

 Among other things voted on at the meeting were, Resolution 2016-3 to participate in an online electricity auction with EMEX, Inc, to acquire better rates; Bid Awards in favor of Pocono Spray for $14,570.11 for ½ mile of Spencer Road, Wayco for $12,666.76 for a portion of Weber Road and the Child’s Park Road Culvert for $49, 700 to Leeward Construction.

 If you would like to attend the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors meetings, they meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Delaware Township Municipal Meeting.  The workshop begins at 5p.m. followed by the meeting at 6:30.  The workshop is a place for discussion of various items concerning the community.  For more information, contact the office at 570-828-2347 or check out their Website at www.delawaretownshippa.gov for meeting minutes and other documentation.

 

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