At their March 12 meeting, Lehigh Township Supervisors heard from Tim Pitts of the Tim Pitts Land Development project. Pitts explained he had recently met with representatives of the Department of Wetlands, who requested a slight change in his plans due to roadway alignment. As a result, he will be shifting the roadway so as not to affect the wetlands, losing one lot. Extra time is needed for his plan approval in order to make the required changes. Township Engineer Michael Muffley supported his request, and the board granted an extension until July 31. 

Sandra Hopkins of the recreation board reported that after the death of John Hawk, his family requested memorial contributions in lieu of flowers at the funeral. The money has been used to buy a bench with an engraved plaque, which will be installed at Bryfogle Park in the coming months.

As directed at the previous meeting, Public Works Director Frank Zamadics brought the board more information about the two trucks being placed for auction by Upper Macungie Township. One is a 2017 truck that has a mileage of around 32,000; the truck will not include a strobe light or snowplow. The actual bid amounts proposed were not announced, as the matter will be a closed bid, but after some adjustments to the numbers the board agreed to have Zamadics submit the bids for both trucks. 

The township’s truck in need of a new transmission, which was also discussed at the previous meeting, will be getting the approved repairs in the coming week. 

A local family is willing to donate an old sign to be used at the public works building, which will require some refurbishment but can still be put to good use. The board agreed to accept the donation and permit the refurbishment. 

Zamadics then spoke about acquiring new mowers for use in the township parks. To receive two new John Deere mowers, he has an option to trade in the township’s two existing mowers plus a payment of $16,910. The board authorized him to make an amended offer of the trade-ins plus $16,000. 

Zoning Officer Elizabeth Amato reported 25 new permit applications during the month of February, 23 of which were approved. The solar farm project plan has been altered, and the owners now need zoning relief from Moore Township, so their conditional use permit has been extended until June 30. 

Police Chief Scott Fogel observed that traffic is increasing slightly with the improving weather, but the number of crashes is holding steady. He did note that calls to the department have increased roughly 25% compared to the same time last year. The police will be doing some data collection at a high traffic intersection and he will present the findings to the board once complete. Fogel said commercial truck traffic on Route 248 is increasing, and the police are being diligent about watching for overloaded vehicles. 

In other news, the police department’s two new officers have completed their field training. Another vacancy in the department, apart from this year’s two retirements, will be opening in the coming months. Fogel has two applicants and will arrange for the board to meet them. He provided a list of planned community events for 2024, including National Night Out and two movies in the park.

Fire Commissioner Richard Hildebrand provided the board with an update of the past few weeks and will be submitting the fire company’s quarterly report on schedule. 

The department received a complaint about a house which recently burned and is now blighted; however, the board explained that nothing can be done with the property at present because of insurance processes. 

The company has received their new truck and all firefighters are being trained in its use. It was particularly helpful during the high winds on Monday, March 11, as they were able to use it to prevent an electrical fire from spreading. 

Hildebrand reminded the public that the firehouse is always open and residents are welcome to come and view the equipment for themselves, and also that the annual Sportsmen’s Night fundraiser will be taking place on Saturday, March 23, so community support will be appreciated.

Township Manager Alice Rehrig received a notice from Grace Industries, stating that the bridge on Maple Drive will be repaired and the street will be closed to traffic from April 2 through June 30. A detour will be provided. 

The maintenance building continues to be on schedule and is expected to be completed in mid- to late-April. The board was asked whether any buffer trees are included in the plan for the building; Muffley was uncertain, so the board will investigate.

A resident advised the board that another “widowmaker” fell in Indian Trail Park during the recent storms, and that it was one of the trees which should have been cut down last year. 

Also, the door to the pump house is open; the municipal authority will be notified.

Another resident suggested that the board consider allowing the chief of police to accept volunteers to form a citizen task force in the future, so that the township may be prepared for any problems which could arise.

Lastly, during public comment, a resident asked how the township paid for the settlement of the recent allegations made against the police chief by a former officer. Township Solicitor David Backenstoe explained that the board is, at this time, not permitted to discuss the subject with the public. The insurance counsel does not currently have a signed agreement, and the board may not comment on the matter until that signed agreement is received.

The next Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, located at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.


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