The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m.
A representative of the Vineyard Estates project was present to discuss their request for an extension of time for plan recording. The Vineyard Estates project is a development of 17 single-family homes along Persimmon Road, Willow Road and Long Lane Road. The representative explained that the original model which had been submitted was denied due to a need for their drip irrigation system to be a certain depth. This has been met and the planning module has been resubmitted to the Department of Environmental Protection. The plan was set to expire on June 14 and they asked the board for an extension until the end of the year in order to allow enough time for the DEP to send their approval. The representative promised to return to the board for the plan recording as soon as the approval is received; the board agreed to the extension.
Wayne Doyle, design engineer for the township municipal authority’s land development plan, was present along with Carl Sharpe of the authority. Their plan was set to expire on May 14, and they requested that the board approve it before that could happen. The board approved the plan itself as well as six waiver requests and one deferral request from the authority.
Township Engineer Michael Muffley reported that construction continues on the Northwoods project. The water lines are currently being installed.
Sandra Hopkins of the recreation board thanked everyone who assisted with the refreshment stand for the game on May 8. The board will be sponsoring an inoculation clinic for pets, providing inexpensive rabies and distemper shots, at the municipal building on Saturday, June 17 from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
Frank Zamadics of the public works department said that street sweeping is nearly completed. He also noted that the summer help has started and they are doing an excellent job.
Elizabeth Amato of the zoning board reported that 29 permits were issued in April, and Lloyd Grim has been granted permission to add auto sales to his existing business. A pair of advisory issues will be addressed at their June meetings. The representative for a medical marijuana campus, which has been proposed to be established near the Hills at Greenock, will not be available to attend a zoning meeting until August.
Police Chief Scott Fogel noted the department is getting ready for National Night Out on August 1 at Indian Trail Park. Their new records management system will be implemented in the coming weeks. He noted the department is currently short-handed due to two personnel being out on medical leave, and may also have two officers retiring in the next few years. He asked the board for permission to start drafting a list of potential candidates who could eventually be interviewed to possibly fill the coming vacancies, though he stressed that the department is not looking to hire at this time. The board approved his request.
Carl Sharpe of the municipal authority stated that they are inspecting the water lines and testing the water quality at the Northwoods project.
Vice-chairman Cynthia Miller, in response to some audience inquiries about the possible medical marijuana campus, provided a detailed timeline of events. She explained that this has been in the works for several years, and the planning commission has discussed it extensively. She will be bringing some ordinance amendments to the board for their approval, but she strongly urged the board to use Covid relief money to hire a consultant to help the ad hoc committee review the zoning ordinances and close any loopholes. It was agreed that this will be added to the agenda for the next meeting in order to discuss it in detail, and Miller also suggested that board members attend an ad hoc committee meeting to see how the ordinance review process is done.
Fire Commissioner Richard Hildebrand recommended the board start a plan now for replacing another company truck, which will need to be done in about five years. He also proposed that the fire company provide the board with quarterly reports rather than monthly, to which they agreed.
Township Manager Alice Rehrig reported that the bills for the Cherryville intersection project have been paid. She still needs one piece of documentation corrected, but everything else has been submitted. Bids for the maintenance building project are due by May 18; the architect will review the bids and bring a recommendation to the board at the next meeting.
When the floor opened up for public comment, several residents of the Overlook Circle neighborhood came forward with a complaint about a new neighbor who is using their property for business instead of merely residential, creating difficulties for the neighborhood with regard to traffic, security and noise. They expressed there have also been trespassing issues, with people using private driveways for parking, and also with the neighbor in question allowing their dog to roam; the police were called on one occasion because the dog knocked over a resident’s toddler. They brought photographic evidence of retaliatory actions the neighbor had taken, and offered video evidence as well.
“We love our neighborhood,” said one resident, “but this is a serious matter.” Miller said that they have received complaints not just from those living on Overlook Drive but from nearby streets as well, so this is a growing concern for many and some citations have already been issued. Chief Fogel assured the residents that he had taken “a fistful of notes” and would be personally looking into the situation.
The board then adjourned for an executive session to discuss personnel matters.
The next supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.