Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania

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10-10-2017 - Board of Supervisors Minutes

MINUTES OF MEETING

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

OCTOBER 10, 2017

 

At 7:30 p.m.  Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called to order an executive session.  In attendance were Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, Supervisors Michael J. Fox, Jeffrey W. McDonnell and Richard E. Miniscalco. Also in attendance were Township Manager Lawrence Gregan and Township Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire.

Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called the action meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.  In attendance were Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, Supervisors Michael J. Fox, Jeffrey W. McDonnell and Richard E. Miniscalco.  Also in attendance were Township Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire, Township Manager Lawrence Gregan, Police Lieutenant William Peoples, Director of Finance Ami Tarburton, Director of Administration and Human Resources Ann Shade, Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell, Director of Public Works Kevin Costello, Director of Recreation and Community Center Floyd Shaffer, Director of Information Technology Richard Grier and Recording Secretary Deborah Rivas.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called for public comment from the audience.

Joe Janscak of 136 Bayhill Drive in the Montgomery Preserve stated that he was speaking for the many residents in attendance with regard to the issues involving the completion of public improvements and other improvements of the Cutler development.  Mr. Janscak stated that the residents were interested in hearing about the ongoing progress, including the letters of credit and bonds being pulled, as well as the attempt to form a homeowner’s association.  Mr. Janscak said that residents are frustrated and they want to know what the responsibility of the Township is and what is the responsibility of the newly formed homeowner’s association?  Vice Chairman Robert Birch asked if the residents had read the recent article in the local newspaper and saw the comments made by the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Birch stated that the Board does feel the residents’ frustration as the Board is frustrated as well. 

Township Manager Lawrence Gregan explained that the Township has an improvement agreement for the two phases of the Montgomery Preserve development which includes the paving the roads, landscaping, street lights, curbs and sidewalks throughout the developments.  At the last Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board authorized the issuance of a 60-day “Notice to Cure” to the developer requiring that they complete the list of outstanding improvements in this development.  If those items are not completed or in the process of completion at the end of the 60 days, the Board also authorized the Township Solicitor to pull the Letters of Credit, allowing the Township to use the security to complete the improvements.

Tom Harker of 130 Bayhill Drive stated that he was concerned about driveways that have not been paved and about the silt fence that was removed from his backyard, leaving a three foot drop over a ledge.  In addition, stone was used for silt filtration was left there.  Mr. Harker said he cannot let his grandchildren out in his yard for safety reasons.  Township Supervisor Michael J. Fox responded that this would be part of the Cutler Group’s responsibility in the land development agreement and the Township Engineer would certainly include something like that in his checklist.  Supervisor Fox also commented that the Township is aware of the driveways and that there are 35 driveways and only 9 have been paved.  Although the paving of private driveways is not part of the public improvements, the Township continues to mention that item to the Cutler Group. 

Jeff Solomon of 138 Bayhill Drive reported that he has attempted to contact David Cutler but he’s basically non-existent at returning phone calls, emails, letters, etc.  Mr. Solomon said that Mr. Cutler continues to ignore everything and everyone.  Mr. Solomon inquired as to how strict the Board of Supervisors would be in enforcing the 60-day cure deadline and questioning if  the Township will seriously pull the bonds and not provide another extension if requested. Vice Chairman Robert Birch stated that the Board is done with giving extensions. Mr. Solomon also said that he spoke to workers onsite regarding the streetlights and that there is a problem and the Township won’t let them put the poles up.  Township Manager Lawrence Gregan explained that the workers did not call for an inspection prior to digging the holes for the poles.  When the inspection was done it was noted that the holes were in the wrong location and were not being located per the Township’s specifications. The specifications require the poles to be located a specific distance back from the curb line so that the light fixtures do not extend over the street where they are subjected to being hit by trucks, etc.  The Township is waiting for the contractors to provide an alternative for the light fixture in order to meet the Township requirements. Mr. Solomon also stated that there is a walkway behind his house which he assumes is supposed to be a trail and they trenched it and just left it there.  Mr. Solomon wanted to know if that work was part of the 60-day notice list?  Mr. Gregan reported that the walkway is actually part of the Montgomery Pointe Development and is a required improvement to be completed.  However, the Township’s priority at this time is to get the roads finished.

Township Solicitor Frank Bartle stated that the Board’s position is to get the work done as soon as possible.  There are a few issues, one of them is safety, another is that we get everything completed the way it should be and the third is that the Township get all of it’s money and have it done in a timely manner.  During the 60 day period, the Cutler Group is supposed to get as much of the work done as they can possibly get done.  If at the end of 60 days, they’re moving toward getting that done with people actually on-site and they are in the middle of paving, the Township is not going to kick them off the job to pull the bonds.  But, if they are not doing those kind of things and people have not shown up to do work for a period of time and the Township feels that we can go right in and get it done quicker than they can, then the Board has given us the authority to do that and we will do that.  Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera stated that the Board and staff are fighting every day to have it done right.  The Board does not want it done quickly so that it has to be redone again next year.  The Board wants it done the right way. 

Lea Stein of 128 Bayhill Drive reported that many of the residents have been fairly silent and she wanted to thank Lisa Samaha because she has been in contact with the Township on the resident’s behalf.  Mrs. Stein said that the residents have tried to deal with Mr. Cutler to no success.  Mrs. Stein said that they are establishing a transition committee in order to take control of the Homeowner’s Association away from Mr. Cutler, elect a board, and have their own people be responsible so that they can deal with the Township rather than Mr. Cutler.  The transition committee is in the process of engaging Stephan Richter, Esquire to represent them with Mr. Cutler. The committee has given Mr. Cutler notice that it intends to take over the Homeowner’s Association and pressure Mr. Cutler to complete the items that are his responsibility with the assistance of their attorney.  Mrs. Stein wanted the Board to know that the Homeowner’s Association will work with the Township and the Township Engineer to make sure all of the items that need to be completed are done so. 

Howard Stein of 128 Bayhill Drive said that he is concerned about the safety of the pavements or lack thereof.  Mr. Stein says he sees too many kids walking on Enclave Boulevard to get to the park, coming from the Walk, coming from the Pointe, coming from the Knoll and the drivers are zipping around Enclave Boulevard.  Mr. Stein said it’s a safety issue and he wants to be sure that it is on our list of items to be completed.

Donna Wolf of 114 Bayhill Drive reported that the back of her house borders Montgomery Knoll and there is a natural reservoir that is in between the developments.  They have had problems with flooding in the back of their yard when it rains heavily.  Mrs. Wolf and her husband did some investigating because they were told that they could not touch that area, but it is nothing more than roots and weeds.  Mrs. Wolf said that they basically found the area being used by the Cutler Group as a dumping site.  She reported that they have pulled out fifteen foot metal poles, three full contractor’s bags of trash and bags of mulch.  They have gotten mixed messages on what the property is and what can and cannot be done with it.  There have been snakes and other wildlife living in the area as well as many mosquitos.  Mrs. Wolf said that she is concerned for her safety and the safety of her grandchildren. She would like someone to tell her what can be done with the property.   

Barbara Dodds of 111 Bayhill Drive said that her concern is the rain garden and she wanted to make sure that the Township insisted that David Cutler installs the rain garden correctly.  Mrs. Dodds said that nothing has been done to the rain garden since the year and a half that she has lived there. 

Lisa Samaha of 105 Bayhill Drive reported that the rain garden has been in the same condition since she moved in to the development four years ago.  At this time, the Cutler Group is mowing it short as the residents had to call the County Health Department to have something done with the condition it was left in.  Mrs. Samaha said that the residents had gotten together and thought about buying plants and putting them in the rain garden. Supervisor Michael J. Fox commented that the rain garden is supposed to have specific plants to aid in water infiltration into the ground and that the rain gardens are part of the land development and Mr. Cutler will be required to build them for the approved subdivision plan.  Mrs. Samaha also said that the residents have seen what is happening with the contractors.  The contractors show up to do some work and then when they realize they are not going to get paid by Mr. Cutler, they leave the work site unfinished for weeks and months.  The contractors who paved the driveways and the landscapers have all come and gone, leaving the work unfinished.  Mrs. Samaha said that it is unbelievable that you can spend $500,000 to $600,000 on a home and you pull into the development off of Route 309 there is an outhouse and dump truck just sitting right there.  Supervisor Michael J. Fox stated that the Board understands the residents’ frustration and he wants the residents to know that the Board is their advocate and not a day goes by that the Township Manager, the Township Engineer and the Township Solicitor are not advocating with the developer on behalf of the Township and residents.  The Township is doing everything it legally can do.   Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch stated that there will be no more extensions.

Pat Solomon of 138 Bayhill Drive asked if it would be possible to have a center line painted down Enclave Boulevard.  She said that there are blind spots where the road goes through an S-curve and many times cars cross the roadway.  The Board asked that the Police Highway Safety Officer take a look at the situation and also meet with the Township’s Traffic Engineer to see if there are standards that need to be met in order to be able to put a line in a residential street.  In addition, it was requested that a stop sign be considered at the intersection of Enclave Boulevard and Ellison Drive/Eisenhower Lane.

There was no other public comment from the audience.

Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire announced that the Board had met in an Executive Session at 7:30 p.m. prior to this meeting to discuss eight personnel matters and one matter of potential litigation, which is the Cutler Development matter.  Mr. Bartle stated that these matters are legitimate subjects of executive session pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law.

Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 25, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, and Supervisor Michael J. Fox seconded the motion.  The minutes of the meeting were unanimously approved as submitted.

Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan reported that the Montgomery Township Department of Fire Services (DFS) and Fire Department of Montgomery Township (FDMT) were recently awarded the 2016 Life Safety Achievement Award by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation), in partnership with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, for its fire prevention accomplishments in 2016. Montgomery Township is one of only 160 fire departments across the United States to receive the award this year for recording zero fire deaths in 2016.  In addition to zero fire deaths, the award recognizes active and effective Fire Prevention programs as well as a clear commitment to reducing the number of house fires in the community.  Fire Chief Vincent Zirpoli and Firefighters Robert Hedden and Carmen Conicelli were present to accept the award.  Resolution #1 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, congratulated the members of the Township Department of Fire Services (DFS) and Fire Department of Montgomery Township (FDMT) on receipt of the 2016 Life Safety Achievement Award from the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation) and commended the members for their hard work and commitment to Fire Prevention in Montgomery Township.

Director of Finance Ami Tarburton reported that the Township had received the annual allocation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of a share of the Foreign Fire Insurance Tax in the amount of $226,103.68.  The funds are a result of taxes paid by foreign fire insurance companies to the State of Pennsylvania in accordance with Act 205 of 1984.  The funds are allocated by the State to support the Volunteer Fire Relief Association of the volunteer fire company that serves the Township.  Resolution #2 made by Supervisor Michael Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, presented a check in the amount of $226,103.68 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Fire Chief Vincent Zirpoli on behalf of the FDMT Fire Relief Association.

Director of Finance Ami Tarburton reported that the annual General Municipal Pension System State Aid allocation for 2017 has been received in the amount of $523,060.88, which is an increase of 5% from the 2016 allocation.  The funds are allocated by the Township to the Police and Non-Uniformed Pension plans to offset a portion of the cost of these plans.  Resolution #3 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, accepted the recommendation to allocate the 2017 Act 205 General Municipal Pension System State Aid to the Police Pension Plan in the amount of $284,471.70 and to the Non Uniformed Employee Pension Plan in the amount of $238,589.18.

Director of Finance Ami Tarburton reported that in October of 2013, the Board of Supervisors accepted a proposal from Maillie, LLP to perform the audit of the financial statements of the Township, the Fire Department of Montgomery Township (FDMT) and its relief association (FDMTRA) for 2013, 2014 and 2015, as recommended by the Finance Committee.  In December of 2016, the Board again accepted a similar proposal from Maillie, LLP to perform the 2016 audit.  Maillie, LLP has provided excellent service, responds promptly to all questions or concerns, and produces an accurate, professional final report.  We have received a proposal from Maillie, LLP to prepare the Audited Financial Statements for the period ending December 31, 2017 at a cost of $25,000 for the Township, $2,500 for the FDMT, and $2,500 for the FDMTRA, totaling $30,000.  This proposed fee is equal to the fee charged for the 2016 audit and is recommended by the Finance Committee.  Resolution #4 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, accepted the proposal from Maillie, LLP to perform the annual audits of the financial statements of the Township for the period ending December 31, 2017.

Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell reported that the Department of Fire Services and the Fire Department of Montgomery Township are requesting the Board of Supervisors’ grant approval to submit applications through the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner’s Office annual Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant program.  Each grant application will be approximately $15,000.00 and is intended to fund the purchase of personal protective equipment for part-time firefighters and Battery Powered Scene Lighting.  Resolution #5 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, granted approval to submit applications to the PA Fire Commissioners Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant program for the purchase of personal protective equipment and Battery Powered Scene Lighting.

Director of Planning and Zoning Bruce Shoupe reported that the Higher Rock Development has submitted a request for a text amendment to the HLI Highway Limited Industrial District ordinance.  The applicant proposes to amend the dimensional standard of 230-217I(1) increasing the maximum lot area from 7 acres to 20 acres; 230-218B decreasing the required minimum stacking for drive through banking facilities from 8 car lengths to 4 car lengths; and 230-219F, Special Conveyancing allowing a title to be held by more than one owner.  An ordinance has been proposed which provides for dimensional and car stacking requirements and Special Conveyancing specifically tailored to apply to this new use.  Resolution #6 made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, authorized the Township Solicitor to advertise the time and place for a Public Hearing to consider Ordinance #17-305Z, once all reviews have been completed.

Resolution #7 made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox and adopted unanimously, authorized a construction escrow release in the amount of $146,629.45 as recommend by the Township Engineer for M-16-88 – 201 Progress Drive, Nappen and Associates.

A motion to approve the payment of bills was made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, and adopted unanimously, approving the payment of bills as submitted.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.