During their September 13 meeting, the East Allen Township Board of Supervisors heard from residents concerned over unpermitted construction, specifically driveways and parking pads. During the height of the pandemic, the township was without a zoning officer. During this time, a handful of residents constructed driveways without the proper permits or township approval. What has resulted are large, flat areas of impervious coverage that can negatively impact the township’s stormwater maintenance and potentially even lead to flooding.
Some of these new driveways, said a resident to the board, are large enough for eight vehicles, while others are being used for commercial vehicles like dump trucks.
Township Manager Brent Green explained that any homeowner who added new construction without permits would be required to bring their construction up to code once their house is for sale. However, supervisors said an immediate resolution was needed due to stormwater impacts.
“We have to be able to do something,” said Supervisor Roger Unangst. “If we’re talking something big enough for eight cars, that’s big enough that it is worth it for a zoning officer to pull over and go ‘huh?’”
Green will have the zoning officer investigate a number of these properties.
In other news, the township has reached a settlement with the East Allen Township
Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In July, the township terminated its agreement with the Ambulance Corps and moved services to Northampton Regional EMS. During a private executive session, legal counsel recommended the township settle a dispute with their former EMS provider, release claims against them, and return the ambulance previously purchased by the township but loaned to the Ambulance Corps.
A representative with Northampton Regional was present during the meeting to give an update on the transition to their services. There were 34 911 calls in both July and August. All East Allen residents who are subscription holders will have their subscriptions honored through December. In addition, three former Ambulance Corps members have been hired by Northampton Regional, two as staff and one as a volunteer.
During the meeting, supervisors also approved the purchase of a Toro Groundmaster 5900 wide area lawn mower for $136,000. This mower will take 18 months to two years to be manufactured and delivered. It will cut roughly 29 acres of grass in one hour and will be used to maintain Bicentennial Park, which is 110 acres, as well as the township’s sports fields.
“This can handle basically everything,” Green said.
“It is a good reinvestment in our parks to [help] keep them maintained well,” said Supervisor Mark Schwartz.
Unangst agreed. “They’re used heavy [and] they are appreciated by a lot.”
Green will apply for an LSA grant to help cover some costs. He also recommended rotating out mowers every six to seven years to ensure optimal performance.
The township will also consider purchasing a utility vehicle for public works. The township’s existing vehicle, which helps maintain baseball fields, is “on its last leg,” according to Green.
The township is renting a Polaris vehicle until October while Green collects estimates for several replacement vehicles.
Finally, the township will be advertising new speed limit ordinances. Under these ordinances, speed limits in residential developments will be 25mph.
“Some of these roads don’t have any speed limits,” Green told supervisors. Under state law, speed limits on unposted roads are 55mph. Legally posting new speed limits will help with enforceability and keep residents safe.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be Thursday, September 28 at 7 p.m.