The May 26 meeting of the Lehigh Township Supervisors was held via teleconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a slight delay because of ongoing audio issues, the meeting began with the routine approval of checks and some old business on the agenda, including the Cherryville intersection and maintenance building, that didn’t have any substantial changes.
Also on the agenda was an update on parks in the township. The board, with Supervisor Keith Hantz absent and Mike Jones voting no, approved nets going back up in the township parks for team sports at the last meeting.
“I wanted to clear the air and get consensus from the board members about the parks,” Chairperson Cindy Miller said referring to the prior meeting. “The parks were never closed. The bathrooms were closed for the winter and are closed pending a water-quality check,” she continued. “All that happened is that the nets went back up.
Supervisor Keith Hantz wanted to make it clear that he disagreed with the park matter even being discussed. “No action should have been taken at all. The parks were never closed,” he said.
Miller wanted to address the reopening process in regards to township buildings and meetings. Because of the pandemic, the township municipal building has been closed since March and some planning and zoning meetings have been postponed. The supervisors agreed on a limited opening of the Township office after Northampton County moves into the “yellow phase” on June 5. They will allow limited people into the building and adhere to the recommended social distancing rules when conducting business.
The biggest hitch for the reopening process is public meetings, because in the yellow phase only gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted. Township Solicitor David Backenstoe is researching whether meetings that draw a larger crowd than is allowed will need to be canceled or moved to larger venue where people can maintain social distancing of six feet. Backenstoe expressed concern about the legality of limiting in-person meeting size and said he will need to research case law and get back to the board with his findings. Miller reminded everyone that calling in to the meeting will still be available for people who are unable to attend meetings in person.
A proposal for Zoning Board meetings was only allowing the petitioning parties in one at a time, which seems to meet legal and social-distancing criteria.
The next Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be June 9. For more information about calling in to the meeting, please visit the township’s website at lehightownship.com.