The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, December 13 at 7 p.m. to discuss extensions, leaf pick-ups and other various agenda items.
Township Solicitor David Backenstoe began the meeting by introducing Brian Panella, a local attorney from the firm of Goudsouzian & Associates. He currently serves as the Bethlehem City Council Solicitor and has represented a number of other municipalities and agencies. Panella will be campaigning for a judge’s seat in 2023, and wanted the opportunity for some of the local constituents to put a face to his name and hear about his career and plans. Panella thanked the board members for allowing him a few moments to speak and also for their contributions to the community.
Three different requests were submitted to the board for extensions on time for plan approval. The first concerned the property at 4209 Lehigh Dr., and a representative for Bulldog Properties Land Development attended the meeting to report that their only remaining task is the septic system. The extension until March 31, 2023 was approved. However, no one attended the meeting to represent the Car Doc land development plan or the Timothy Pitts subdivision, and in the case of the latter, board member Cynthia Miller observed there have been no updates for some time. Solicitor Backenstoe explained that denying the extensions will mean the project representatives must resubmit plans and pay new fees. Both extensions were denied; Backenstoe and Board President Michael Jones will draft letters of explanation.
Another request was also submitted for the Turkey Hill project in Cherryville, this time for plan recording. Township Engineer Michael Muffley stated the plan is in the final draft stage. The board will receive the paperwork in January, but the plan expires at the end of December. Backenstoe explained it is an outside agency slowing the progress and the board cannot deny an extension when that is the case, so the extension was approved. Meanwhile, the Riverview Drive project has taken care of their stormwater and retaining wall issues, and their plan will be presented for the board’s approval in January.
Sandra Hopkins of the recreation board reported the tree lighting ceremony was held on Sunday, December 4 due to inclement weather. Attendance was very good and K9 Officer Cash was a big hit. The board is considering holding a Christmas in July event next year in order to enjoy more hospitable conditions. The recreation board will reorganize in January.
Frank Zamadics offered a general apology regarding leaf pickup, as there have been a number of complaints from residents who would have liked it to happen sooner. Zamadics explained one of the leaf trucks broke down and they are awaiting the arrival of parts to repair it. The situation will be mentioned on the township website with a request for residents to please be patient. The tree removal project in Pennsville is likewise delayed, as the company who won the bid has to repair their bucket truck.
Elizabeth Amato reported the zoning board issued 22 permits in November. They have also received an application for a special exception concerning a storage unit and a conditional use application for a solar farm. The former will be brought before the zoning board in January; the latter requires a special meeting, which she will schedule for February. The Board of Supervisors have all read the proposed ordinance concerning landscaping contractor definitions and uses and approved the motion to advertise it.
Police Chief Scott Fogel reported that despite the rain on December 3, the Toys for Tots drive-through event had an excellent turnout. Township residents filled 20 cartons with donated toys. In other news, traffic work is being done on Timberline Road due to a school bus stop in the vicinity and vehicles running the traffic lights. Chief Fogel remarked there have been a low number of calls in recent weeks and that even crash numbers are down, ending the year on a positive note.
A design for the new police station sign was presented to the board. It was proposed that all of the township buildings be coordinated to match, and Sandra Hopkins suggested also coordinating the signs with three of the township parks. The issue was tabled until the graphic designer can provide samples of these additional signs.
The Cherryville intersection project is nearly complete and the board should be receiving the final paperwork no later than their second January meeting. A meeting will be scheduled for the maintenance building committee. The 2023 budget was advertised for the required 20 days, and the board unanimously voted to approve the $5.4 million budget and also the ordinance regarding personal shooting ranges.
A few moments were devoted to discussion about the monitors which are being considered for the board room. It was explained that these will be used not only by the board but also by the various committees, and will make it easier for audience members to see maps, plans, and other documentation. Board member Cynthia Miller added that this will permit greater transparency and will also possibly enable virtual meetings in the future, to allow more people to attend the meetings remotely.
Township Manager Alice Rehrig reminded everyone that per tradition, there will be no second meeting of the board during the month of December. The meeting concluded with the board’s wishes for everyone to have a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.
The next supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building located at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.