September 5, 2017 - Regular Meeting

Chairman Linda Woodward called the September 5, 2017 Regular Meeting of the Montour Township Planning Commission to order at 6:35pm in the municipal building, Rupert, PA.

The pledge of allegiance was recited.

Members present:  Chairman Linda Woodward, Vice-Chairman Forrest Bennett, Secretary Robert Webber and Paul Kreisher.  Absent: Josh Turner.  Also present: Professional Planner Jerry Walls and Zoning Officer Tim Mauk.

MOTION Forrest Bennett, second Paul Kreisher, to approve the agenda as drafted.  Motion Carried.

MOTION Paul Kreisher, second Robert Webber, to approve the minutes of the August 1, 2017 meeting as drafted.  Motion Carried.

MOTION Forrest Bennett, second Robert Webber, to approve the minutes of the August 30, 2017 Public Hearing as drafted.  Motion Carried.

Public Water

MOTION Linda Woodward, second Robert Webber, to recommend the Board of supervisors investigate the potential for the Suez Water Company running a public water line in Montour Township.  The Planning Commission advises running the lines first to Route 11 and then to Valley Road and Rupert. This will be addressed at the next Board of Supervisors Meeting.  Motion Carried.

Public Water and Sewer

MOTION Linda Woodward, second Robert Webber, to recommend the Board of Supervisors hold a joint exploratory workshop to discuss funding and grant programs for water and sewer with local legislators, the planning commission, Engineer Glace Associates, township professional planner, township zoning officer and Cooper Township.  The Township may ask Glace Associates to look at Township Act 537 Sewage Facilities Planning to see if it needs to be updated before filing an application with PENNVEST, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.    Motion Carried. 


Comprehensive Plan - Housing

MOTION Linda Woodward, second Forrest Bennett, to add information to the Comprehensive Plan to address development of moderate and low-income housing.  Motion Carried.


Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling (PA Supreme Court Payne V. Kassab June 20, 2017)

Jerry Walls reported that a June 20, 2017 major Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling has important ramifications on the responsibilities of elected and appointed officials.  The PA Environmental Defense Foundation filed a proceeding with the PA Supreme Court challenging the diversion of revenues from Natural Gas Leases of State Forests and Parks to balance the state budget.  This Environmental Bill of Rights will be added to the PA Constitution.    A ramification is that all PA and all local Government Officials have a trustee and fiduciary duty to protect those public natural resources which are owned in the public trust such as state parks, state forests and protected lands such as farmland agriculture preservation easements, and rivers and streams that are officially designated by PA DCNR or PFBC or SRBC for levels of protection. This means County Planning Commissions and Municipal Planning Commissions should not approve land developments that fail to incorporate adequate storm water and erosion controls and sewage treatment into their land development plans.  Two basic duties of the trustees are protection of public natural resources and affirmative action to protect the environment.

Linda Woodward asked if this will change the way the Township will make decisions for the Agriculture Security Area. Linda Woodward asked if this will help the Township with the Sponenberg Land Development Plan.  Will the Township be able to enforce compliance with the six conditions tied to approval of the plan? Jerry Walls said this decision will put substantial weight on Township conditions.  Linda Woodward was especially interested in the condition for down gradient testing of wells after one year of operation to make sure nothing in the manure management has changed water quality.  Jerry Walls said if there is substantial change after the one-year test, additional tests can be recommended.  Forrest Bennett said the Sponenberg plan will not receive a permit until all appeals are satisfied as this condition was determined at a previous Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Air Bed and Breakfast

Discussion was held concerning zones in which a B&B should be permitted. It was questioned why the B&B would be allowed in Agriculture, Suburban Residential and Village Residential but not be allowed in the Conservation and Highway Commercial zones.   All action was tabled to the October 3, 2017 meeting. 


Ordinance Updates

Jerry Walls continues to work on the ordinance updates as discussed in the June 6, 2017 meeting.  He was asked to investigate (1) the possibility that the Township could get impact fee money with the new Atlantic Sunrise Lines being run (2) Conservation Easements along the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (3) Student Housing (4) A definition for Junkyard (5) Air Bed and Breakfast (6) Roberts Automotive and      (7) Mobile Home Courts.



MOTION Linda Woodward, second Forrest Bennett, to recommend the Board of Supervisors conduct a public workshop within the next 30 days to address junkyards.  Motion Carried.


Zoning Officer

Zoning Officer Tim Mauk gave a report on the projects he currently acting on, (1) Stolz storage  

(2) Roberts Automotive and (3) permits for signage.  He asked who determines when something on a private property is determined to be detrimental to the public.  Jerry Walls said that decision is made by the County Conservation Authority.


The meeting adjourned at 9:10pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Robert Webber, Secretary