The Moore Township Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, April 4 to discuss a lot line adjustment, Public Works hires, pickleball courts, vacating Trach Road, a Agritourism/Agritainment Ordinance, seal coat projects, and the sale of Schiavone Farm.
First, the board unanimously granted a waiver for and approved the Larry Kemmerer lot line adjustment plan dealing with the natural and man-made features of the property, which will be subdivided into two portions with no new developments on either side of the property.
During reports, Police Chief Gary West shared that the police department had a total of 331 incidents for the month of March, which included 33 traffic citations issued, nine written and verbal warnings issued, four arrests made for three DUIs and one accident involving property damage (hit and run), three reportable accidents, and four non-reportable accidents.
Chief West also announced that secretary Stephanie Heckman has turned in her letter of resignation, so the township and police department will be seeking a joint secretary.
Fire Police Captain Jason Harhart reported that the Klecknersville Rangers Vol. Fire Co. responded to 69 ambulance calls during the month of March and 30 fire calls, which included one fire, three motor vehicle accidents, two automatic fire alarms, five ambulance assists, two carbon monoxide alarms, two smoke investigations, one gas leak, one tree down, seven wires down, and six mutual aid calls for three fires with Lehigh Township, two fire alarms with Bath, and one mountain fire with Plainfield Township.
Public Works Director Craig Hoffman announced that Gene Mackes is retiring after 8.5 years with the Public Works Department. Supervisors unanimously approved new hires Jonathan Good and Spencer Tacker for municipal worker positions.
Hoffman also updated the announcement for 2023 seal coat projects, which now includes Derhammer Road, North Oaks Road, Bigley Road, Vista Drive, Alpine Drive, South Mink Road between 946 and West Scenic Drive, Hillcrest Lane, Applebutter Lane, Crest Vue Circle, and Horseshoe Road.
Parks and Recreation Chairperson Jodie Hartzell requested that the board consider a short-term solution for adding another pickleball court. Supervisors approved adding temporary taped lines to the basketball court when it gets resurfaced, which will have a net that can be chained to the fence on either side of the court when it is not being used for basketball.
Hartzell was also given the go-ahead to pursue a DCED grant to put an additional pickleball court in. However, the application would be for 2024, so if approved, residents would not see the addition until 2025.
In other news, Township Engineer Kevin Horvath presented cost estimates for alternative plans for restoring, remediating, maintaining, and/or vacating Trach Road: Removal of the roadway and restoring the road to preexisting conditions would cost approximately $89,000; remediation of the roadway including regrading the existing aggregate and creating a new infiltration channel would cost approximately $125,000; maintaining the existing road would cost approximately $2,700 annually; and vacating the road would leave it up to the property owners that border the road to do with it as they please.
However, contiguous property owners Jeffrey Henderson and Rudy Klein voiced that they do not want the roadway to be restored to pre existing conditions because doing so would inhibit crop growth. Henderson and Klein expressed that they are not opposed to vacating the road, but that they would prefer the road to be remediated in order to resolve the erosion issues.
Supervisors did not yet vote on which option they prefer, but unanimously voted to vacate Trach Road in order to move forward with the process.
Township Solicitor David M. Backenstoe will move forward with drafting an ordinance to determine the metes and bounds, and then the hearing will have to be advertised before it is held, which could put the timeframe for the hearing within two to three months.
In other business, Township Manager Nicholas C. Steiner expressed that residents have been complaining about speeding on South Mink Road. Chief West and Public Works Director Hoffman will work together to post additional speed limit signs along the road to try to mitigate the speeding.
Next, the board unanimously approved the adoption of the Agritourism/Agritainment Ordinance. Agritourism is an agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch such as farmers markets, roadside markets/stands, u-pick operations, corn mazes, petting farms, etc., and agritainment is farm-based entertainment including activities such as hayrides, wine tasting, and harvest festivals.
The ordinance defines and lists criteria for each and states that they are allowed in every zoning district in the township as a special exception use. Individuals and farmers that want to take advantage of the ordinance to generate additional revenue can go to the Zoning Hearing Board and show that they comply with the basic criteria.
Following, supervisors approved a resolution to allow Manager Steiner to apply for the Northampton County Livable Landscapes grant to update the township’s open space plan and incorporate other areas of parks and recreation. The final estimate Steiner received for the work was $95,000, which the township would be responsible for half of because the grant stipulates that it will match 50% of the project costs if approved.
Last, the township received two bids during the third round of bidding for the sale of Schiavone Farm, which was appraised at approximately $400,000. Red Edge Farm bid $200,000 and has the right of first refusal due to their bids during previous rounds. Phil Ronca bid $351,000, and supervisors unanimously voted to approve Ronca’s bid.
However, since Red Edge Farm has the right of first refusal, they will be given the opportunity to match or exceed Ronca’s bid of $351,000 if they wish to purchase the farm, or the farm will be sold to Ronca.
The next Moore Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be held Tuesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. in the municipal building, located at 2491 Community Dr.