The Moore Township Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, April 5 at the Moore Township Municipal Building. Among the discussion items were Ronald White’s lot line adjustment, township reports, local timber harvest, road plan updates, and possible major renovations for the municipal building.
A motion was made to approve White’s lot line adjustment so long as it follows the conditions set forth in the Keystone letter dated March 21, 2022, which was granted unanimously by the board.
Next on the agenda, various township departments gave their reports for the month of March.
Officer Roberts of the Moore Township Police Department listed the monthly incidents for the township, which included a total of 331 incidents responded to. Of those, 15 incidents were warnings for traffic stops, 77 were traffic citations, one reportable accident occurred, and three non-reportable accidents occurred. Additionally, three criminal arrests were made—criminal trespassing and theft, aggravated assault and simple assault, and receiving stolen property and possession of a bank access device. Moreover, one non-traffic citation was issued for a dog running loose, and one case was closed by Township Detective Jason Gianatiempo regarding theft.
Fire Police Captain Jason Harhart gave the township fire and ambulance report for the month of March including: eight fires, one motor vehicle accident, three automatic fire alarms, eight ambulance assists, seven mutual aid calls (six with Bath, and one with Plainfield Township), one spill call, two carbon monoxide alarms, six wires down, two trees down, and one search and rescue for a total of 39 fire emergency calls. Additionally, there were a total of 82 ambulance calls for the month of March, with a total of 328 hours.
Public Works Department Director Craig A. Hoffman, Jr. informed the board the department will conduct street sweepings in developments and main intersections April 25 through April 28. Hoffman also mentioned road work for the year will begin soon including oil and chipping, base repairs, cleanup, crack sealing, etc.
Chairman Richard Gable of the First Regional Compost Authority (FRCA) announced the winter hours will remain the same going into the 2022 summer, as posted on the webpage. For public drop-off hours, the FRCA hours of operation will remain the same, which will be the first and third Saturdays of each month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The commercial drop-off hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gable also said the FRCA will begin accepting grass clippings only at the Weaversville site beginning April 15. All clippings must be dumped from containers up to 32-gallons at a cost of $1 per container and composting bags are no longer allowed. Additionally, no bulk acceptance will be accepted by residents; anyone dropping off grass clippings in anything other than the approved 32-gallon containers will be charged the commercial rate based on vehicle size. Gable also stated the FRCA will not accept yuca plants and ornamental grass at any of the sites.
“All equipment is up and running, we’re processing mulch and making compost at this point,” said Gable.
In other business, Township Manager Nicholas Steiner identified there has been some vandalism and a lot of graffiti at the Recreation Center, which includes the Recreation Commission having to replace a port-a-john and grill in the pavilion. Steiner added they are looking into setting up some security cameras in the area.
Steiner discussed the possibility of a new township open space conservation plan and a county grant that would provide half the costs of supporting such a plan. Steiner met with Northampton County Parks & Recreation Conservation Coordinator Sherry Acevedo to discuss if the township parks would qualify. Acevedo suggested the Recreation Commission would need a master site plan, detailed budgets for projects, and not to apply for the grant until the township gathers this information.
Steiner added this information will help the Commission apply for grants in the future, and that it would be a good idea to update the township’s current open space plan and to create a long-range plan that they will be able to submit next year.
Next, the Land and Environmental Protection Board announced they are looking for new articles for the upcoming newsletter. All articles need to be in by June 1 and can be sent to Lois Kerbacher at Lkerbacher@mooretownship.org or Vice Chairman David Shaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org. The board requests that all articles submitted be new, rather than the same articles residents sent in last year. Residents can look for the upcoming newsletter near late July or early August.
Board member Michael A. Tirrell Jr. announced the Moore Township Lions Club will host its annual Block Shoot & Meat Raffle on May 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Petersville Rod & Gun Club, located at 550 Club Road in Bath.
In other news, Chairman Robert Romano brought up the Land and Environmental Protection Board would like to begin stocking the ponds at Schiavone Park with smaller bass, blue gills, and minnows.
Romano stated, “The funds will be from the Land Preservation and Environmental Preservation funds.”
Although the final costs of the project are not currently estimated, Romano does not believe the total costs will exceed $2,000. A motion to approve the release of funds was granted by board member Michael A. Tirrell, Jr. and Vice Chairman David Shaffer.
Next on the agenda, Vice Chairman Shaffer discussed a possible timber harvest for the Appalachian Park on Skunk Rd., which consists of a 155-acre wooded area consisting of game lands and federal lands for the Appalachian Trail.
Shaffer pointed out that in 2016 the township had a stewardship plan done for the park, where one of the recommendations was for the township to do a selective timber harvest on the proposed woodland area. Typically, timber harvests such as the one the township is looking into involve hiring a consulting forester to scope out the property and mark the trees they deem to be declining or on the verge of dying, which the township would then harvest. The beneficial factors of a timber harvest would include improving the habitat for wildlife, maintenance of plant biodiversity, and the promotion of recreational opportunities such as improving access for hunters. Shaffer also identified that timber harvests are common in townships like Moore and that it only needs to be done every 15 to 20 years to preserve and create better timber for the future.
Vice Chairman Shaffer made a motion to move forward with seeking the services of a forester consultant, which was granted unanimously.
In other business, engineer Keith Lawler gave a report on the Schiavone Farm sediment erosion project. Lawler stated the receding and final stabilization work will be completed as weather permits, hopefully within the next month.
In regards to Pool Road, township manager Steiner clarified that PennDOT already reviewed the proposed plan once and kicked it back with corrections. Updated letters have since been sent to neighboring residents and to PennDOT.
The updated 2022 road projects were also discussed by the board, which outlined a budget of $118,000 to double oil and chip S. Cigar Road, Love Road, W. Beersville Road, and Sickle Road.
Public Works Director Craig Hoffman went on to say that W. Beersville Road requires extensive work to be done because in addition to the roadwork, Public Works will also need to replace a couple cross pipes on the road, which will be the challenge this year.
A motion to approve the 2022 Road Plan and its $118,000 estimated costs, which includes road work on S. Cigar Road, Love Road, W. Beersville Road, and Sickle Road for a total of 2.3 miles was granted by board members Tirrell and Shaffer.
Next, Township Solicitor David Backenstoe brought up revisiting the concept of agritainment and agritourism, which would help struggling farmers to augment their income and be able to continue farming. Backenstoe added some of the possible options would be for farmers to host private weddings, gatherings, wineries, corn mazes, and petting farms for entertainment and tourism purposes that would supplement additional income.
Board member Tirrell expressed he felt it would be appropriate to table the discussion for next month’s meeting due to Chairman Daniel Piorkowski missing the April 5 meeting.
In other news, Township Solicitor Backenstoe addressed the Miller Lot Consolidation.
Backenstoe stated, “Over the years when a property owner wants to consolidate lots, the county won’t allow property owners to do that until the township, borough, or city has reviewed the request and made a positive motion to allow it. The reason for this is because what looks like one thing on paper, could be very different in the field. What we’ve always required in Moore Township is that property owners, developers, or attorneys send a memo so we can take a look at it ahead of time with the engineer.”
Backenstoe identified that this was in fact done, and a memo was sent by attorney Joseph Piperato on behalf of Doug and Craig Miller. Backenstoe clarified that Doug Miller and his wife own 1130 Mink Road, which is approximately 10 acres, and Doug and Craig Miller own three other lots at 3240, 3230, and 3220 Delps Road for a total of approximately 20 to 30 acres of land, which they want to consolidate for family planning and preservation purposes.
At the discretion of the board, Backenstoe recognized that upon approval, his next step would be to initiate the process by sending a letter to attorney Piperato indicating a unanimous vote was granted, which can then be used to go down to the county and put a consolidation deed together.
A motion to authorize the consolidation of the Miller lots was granted by board members Tirrell and Shaffer.
Next on the agenda, Township Manager Steiner brought up the township’s use of the American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) funds. Steiner disclosed that he spoke with the township consultant about how the funds can be used. Steiner explained that between the past two years it will be over $900,000 the township ultimately receives.
Steiner added their consultant recommended transferring the money into general funds right away and report it as a general revenue loss for pay and benefits, which would free up over $900,000 to be spent on general fund items and projects. However, Steiner noted he would not transfer more than $750,000 because anything more than this amount would trigger an audit by the federal government.
A motion to approve the movement of ARPA funds to the township’s general fund account was then approved by board members Tirrell and Shaffer.
In other news, under resolution 2022-11, board members unanimously approved a motion to move Mary Ellen Wetzel’s 2 parcel 84-acre property on Whitetail Deer Road into agricultural security.
Under resolution 2022-12 America250PA, board members also unanimously approved the motion of the resolution that would ultimately provide the township’s endorsement and support of the events being planned for the quincentennial commemoration of Pennsylvania’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
Last on the agenda, board members discussed the possible major renovations for the township municipal building. Steiner expressed he reached out to Senator Mario Scavello about the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP), which is a grant program that would provide up to 50% of the costs for a construction project. Steiner added that State Rep. Ann Flood’s office would be reaching out, and that Scavello advised the township “to make sure to have a very high estimate, and we’re going to apply and try to get into law.”
Steiner said he looked at similar projects with Public Works Director Hoffman and came up with an estimated cost of $6 million, which would mean the grant application would be for $3 million to either renovate the existing township municipal building or to construct a new municipal building. Steiner stated he has sent the application in.
Steiner believes the township will need to create an internal building committee to go over what the township’s needs would be, sit down with an engineer, and find individuals that would be in charge of the project and the project’s finances. Additionally, the only other grant that could be used in conjunction with the RCAP grant is the county specific LSA grant of up to $1 million, which would provide additional funds that are geared towards public safety and building a new police department and is a fully reimbursable grant.
The next Moore Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be held May 3 at 6 p.m. in the Moore Township Municipal Building, located at 2491 Community Dr.