During their meeting on Tuesday, March 14, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors discussed a proposed on-lot sewer management plan ordinance. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requires that any new municipality Act 537 Plan includes a program for managing septic system inspection and maintenance.
Engineer Andrea Martin of Barry Isett & Associates said roughly 80% of township residents have indicated that they already maintain their septic system every three to five years. This ordinance would simply outline the township’s monitoring program.
However, some supervisors worried about the extra work this could impose on the township.
“What this is going to do is force more work on the township to keep records on this…[and] we’re going to have to be funding this [as] the township,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler. “To force people to do something…that is a very contentious idea…particularly if it is unfunded.”
He suggested that the township devote resources to educating the public and putting notices online and in the municipal newsletter instead. He also said he would prefer requiring septic inspection and pump-outs before a house is sold or a certificate of occupancy is granted.
Martin added that township residents could apply for waivers based on household size, tank size, or seasonal use. The township also already has a database of properties with septic systems. They would just need to implement a notification system to remind residents to check their septic tanks.
The board asked that Martin simplify the draft ordinance language and return to the board.
In other news, the board discussed a volunteer firefighter incentive program. Township Manager Ilene Eckhart is currently exploring tax credit opportunities and will be reaching out to neighboring municipalities where some volunteer firefighters reside. However, she said a simple program the township can implement faster would be a fuel rebate.
“All volunteers expend their own resources just to get to a call,“ she said, adding that the township can base this rebate on a set mileage from the volunteer’s residence to the fire station and back. No volunteer lives more than two-and-a-half miles away.
All supervisors were in favor of this program.
The board also heard from the property owner of 559 Atlas Rd. The owner would like to develop a subdivision on the property, consisting of one duplex at the corner of Atlas and Savage roads. The property owner requested a waiver that would defer sidewalk and curbing requirements until a later time.
He explained that there are no other sidewalks in the area, so there would be nowhere for these new sidewalks to connect to, rendering them useless. He added that they would not be required if a single-family home was built there. While he understands sidewalks and curbs would be needed eventually, he asked for a deferral until it “makes more sense” to construct them.
The township’s planning commission recommended the denial of these deferrals, something supervisors agreed with. Several supervisors noted they were not in favor of waiving sidewalks for safety reasons. Hassler also said it is hard to get sidewalks constructed once the property switches hands to new owners.
All supervisors except Supervisor Tim Paul rejected the waiver request for sidewalks and curbing. As a result, the property owner asked for their duplex plan to be tabled.
Finally, supervisors approved the purchase of three dash cams for township vehicles for $311.40. These cameras will be placed in public works vehicles. The township is still looking for dash cam solutions for the township’s fire trucks.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m.