The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, June 13. Board chairman Michael Jones was absent; vice-chairman Cynthia Miller ran the meeting.
J & T Enterprises, developers of the property at 4158 Wood Dr. in Walnutport, requested an extension on plan recording. No representative for the project was present, however Township Solicitor David Backenstoe assured the board that everything for the project is fully compliant. On his recommendation, the board granted an extension until August 31.
The attorney and engineer for the Top of the Mountain Estates project on Quince Road were present to explain the unusual circumstances behind the request for an extension on plan recording. They explained the owner of the property resides in Florida and has been experiencing severe health issues for the past several months. He is now recovering and looking to return to the project. The board approved the request for an extension until December 31, with a caveat that this will be the last time an extension is granted for this project, as it has been in development for seven years.
Sal Melo, representing the Melo Enterprises LLC Land Development Plan, attended the meeting to ask for an extension on plan approval for his solar farm project. He was granted the extension until October 31.
A representative for Bulldog Properties was in attendance to discuss their project, which involves upgrading the building for Cherryville Pizza. He reported that the work is wrapping up, however they were requesting an extension for plan approval due to awaiting the arrival of some necessary equipment. An extension was granted until September 30.
Township Engineer Michael Muffley reported that during the planning commission’s most recent meeting, Bill Jones requested a withdrawal of his plan. Two lot line adjustments were discussed and will soon be brought to the board for approval. Miller inquired about brake retarders not being permitted in the township, explaining that she has been asked about them by a resident. Muffley will investigate whether it would be possible and reasonable to allow them in certain parts of Lehigh Township.
Frank Zamadics of the public works board stated the street sweeping is completed. The crew is beginning to work on drainage and roadside mowing.
“The grass stopped growing but the weeds did not,” said Zamadics. The remaining cut wood at Indian Trail Park will be removed while the crew works on grading the roadsides there.
Zoning officer Elizabeth Amato reported 38 permit applications received during the month of May, 35 of which were approved. The commission is still working through the last few of the 28 new complaints received in May. There will be no July meeting due to to vacation conflicts, so instead they will meet on June 29. Additionally, a special meeting will be held on August 24 at the fire company in regards to the proposed medical marijuana facility.
Police Chief Scott Fogel presented the board with a written report of police activity, including 10 arrests during the month of May. The biggest issue the department faces currently is staffing, as they are short two officers. The chief has learned that Lehigh Township is “falling behind” with regard to offering competitive pay and benefits, making it difficult to find interested candidates. Apart from this, they are getting ready for the National Night Out which will be held on August 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Miller reported that the planning commission is reviewing two ordinances with regards to the proposed solar farm and medical marijuana facility. Additionally, they are working to have an ordinance prepared in the event that Pennsylvania legalizes recreational marijuana. Bids are currently being accepted for the ordinance consulting job discussed at the previous board meeting.
Fire Commissioner Richard Hildebrand brought forth a proposal to the board in regards to replacing the ladder truck, as the deadline is looming to lock in the price. This led to a lengthy discussion about where and how to acquire the funds for the vehicle. Miller is trying to arrange for Tom Cook, a deputy in the state’s office of fire commission, to come and help make a plan for this situation. A meeting will be coordinated with the board members and the fire company volunteers for this.
Township Manager Alice Rehrig said that the last paperwork has been submitted regarding the Cherryville intersection project, and the matter should be closed within a few weeks upon receipt of the final grant payment. She is waiting for all of the contracts to come back for the maintenance building, two of which have been received so far; a date has yet to be set for the groundbreaking ceremony. Rehrig also provided the board members with copies of the comprehensive plan map and the letter listing the changes needed, and asked them to verify that all of the changes were made.
The board unanimously agreed to acknowledge the retirement of Officer Christopher D’Alessandro and approve his pension application.
The “Welcome to Lehigh Township” signs, mentioned at the previous meeting as being in dire need of repair, were made by Scribbles and Drips on Route 145. They will be asked for a quote on the repairs, and a second quote will also be obtained from the company which recently made the signs for the parks. Board member Gerald Pritchard suggested the possibility of having local businesses sponsor the signs.
The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building located at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.