July 14, 2016 - Regular Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on July 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., by Chairman Joseph Mullen.  All members were present.


The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

A Moment of Silence was observed.



Rick Vanderpool, of the Zoning Hearing Board, states that he attended a National Floodplain Training, which suggested that Townships may in some way be forced to have a Floodplain Manager.  He mentioned that it is a very good program and that he has literature for anyone who would like to review it.

Mr. Vanderpool asked the Board if any decision had been made about waiving the variance fee for Jon Cooper of the Perry Avenue trailer park.

Rich Roberts, Township Solicitor, states that after doing some research he found the Supervisors can waive the fee but will need to specify Mr. Cooper’s hardship.


A MOTION was made, by Mr. Bennett, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of June 9, 2016.  Motion carried. 


A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Bennett, to approve bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $46,178.69, Special Police Fund $542.30, Highway Fund $114,175.96, Sewer Fund $13,825.341, and Debit Card Purchases for the month of June in the amount of $73.00. Motion carried.






John Bauer, Sewer Treatment Plant Operator, reported that he while he was picking up a new grinder pump he was notified that the company will no longer be making the grinder pumps and parts that the Township is currently using. Mr. Bauer suggested that the Supervisors start looking into an alternative.

Mr. Mullen asked Mr. Bauer what would need to happen to make these changes.

Mr. Bauer stated that a new system would have to be put in, which would cost approximately $5,000.00 per pump. There are currently 14 pumps in the Township.

Max Stoner, Township Engineer, stated that the Township is responsible for the pumps.

There was further discussion on this matter.



Mr. Bennett mentioned that he heard comment that Mr. Kurian had purchased the property next-door, which will aid in the process. This has not been confirmed.


There is nothing new to report.


Ms. Ebright reported on the Townships financials.  Everything is doing well. The Township has taxes slowly coming in and we are still waiting for the second half of Catawissa’s payment for Police services.


Mr. Mullen mentioned that he had attended the same Floodplain training session that Mr. Vanderpool had mentioned earlier in the meeting. He stated that insurance policies are changing because of the laws. People can deal with that by raising their lowest level living area. The more feet below the 100 year flood base line, the more you pay for insurance.


 There is nothing new to report.



Solicitor Roberts stated that he is collecting samples Landlord Ordinances from Berwick, Mt. Carmel, Kulpmont, Danville, and the Township Association of Parkesburg, in Chester County for research. He stated that he will put together a draft and submit it to the Supervisors for review.

Mr. Mullen asked if the trailer park residents who owned the trailer but not the land it sat on would they be included in the Ordinance.

Solicitor Roberts stated that the ordinance could deal with that. 



Mr. Mullen mentioned that this was discussed at last month’s meeting and he had asked for it to be tabled until this meeting so all three Supervisors could be present.  Mr. Mullen reviewed the list of the changes and corrections that he is suggesting for the proposed Comprehensive Plan for those who were not present at the last public meeting. The changes/corrections are as follows;  

1. In the Community Development Objectives section,

1.b., second line – remove the word “new”.  Future development is to be directed towards Village Residential and Suburban Residential districts – both old and new.

3.a. and 3.b., at the end of both sentences add: “and update as needed.

2. In the Planning Recommendations section,

1, Last sentence – Question: does approval of 1 imply approval of the recommendations that follow and also the map?  If so, move this item so it is voted on last.

1.2  –NO- Commercial and multi-family development produces lots of hard surfaces (roof, roads, parking lots, sidewalks).  The area identified for the zoning change is a long narrow section along Montour Run.  Montour Run is a floodplain area and needs protection from development.  Additionally, in light of MS4, placing a large amount of impervious surfaces in this narrow strip is not wise in light  of the need to control water runoff entering the stream.

1.7 –NO- Objective 1.4 says “Lands with quality farmland soils should be conserved…for agriculture.”  As noted in the draft plan, “The Township has many acres of prime farmland and soils of statewide importance.  Some are used for crop production, some are covered in maturing forest, and others have been overlaid by development.”  The area identified for rezoning contains a significant amount of prime soils – class I, II, and III soils.  Prime soils are a natural resource and development renders them virtually irretrievable.  The background studies conclude that there is abundant room for development in existing residential areas and that no rezoning is necessary to accommodate future growth.  Since more land zoned for residential use is not needed, it seems prudent not to rezone this area but to keep it for agriculture use, thereby conserving our prime soils.

1.8 – DELETE- Geographic boundaries for the district have not been defined; Township funding is not available to conduct the studies needed to determine if this area is suitable for this use; examples of intensive agriculture zoning districts that have been challenged and have stood up under review have not been presented; Unsure of the legal issues related to the creation of these districts.

11    – last sentence – change “provide” to “seek grants for”.

3    Other Items,

REMOVE all references concerning the removal of lands from Agricultural Security Areas, both in the narrative and on the maps.   these references are not supported by objective 1.d., and the Township should not be in the position of seeming to suggest the removal of land from ASA’s.

ADD “Seek funding assistance for the development/redevelopment of affordable housing for lower income households.”  The 1990 Comprehensive Plan expressed concerns about this.  No notable improvements/progress has been made since then.

The concern/need continues and as such should be included in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Mullen mentioned that he had three (3) minor change recommendations. 

  1.  Under the Community Development section 1B, second line, remove the word New.  Section 3A & 3B, add to the end of both, “Update as needed”. 
  2. Under Planning Recommendation, section 1, Mr. Mullen had a question on the last sentence.
  3. In the Plan where PA American Water is mentioned, it is now Suez Water.

He then mentioned that he had four (4) major change recommendations.

  1. There is nothing in the Plan addressing low and moderate income properties.
  2. The proposed area for Intensive Farming south of RT 11, Mr. Mullen asked was there to be a definition of what & where this area was to be.  Ms. Woodward said that was to be defined by the Supervisors.  Mr. Mullen mentioned that because it was not defined as recommended unless the Supervisors define it.  If it is undefined, you cannot codify it, you can’t put it as a recommendation in a planning document in which we will act upon in the next 5 to 10 years, so that when someone has a disagreement or they are looking to do something with the plan, it is clearly defined what we plan on doing.  Mr. Mullen said, if it is left amorphous, his point is that it is almost irrelevant.  Also as Solicitor Roberts mentioned, the more you define it, the more you run into potential legal courts.
  3. The area proposed for Highway Commercial South of Rt. 11.  Mr. Mullen recommends not doing this because of MS4 regulations that will be coming from the State and Federal levels. Because this area is very close to Montour Run, he feels it would be very difficult to mediate any runoff of any types of stuff that would go in there.
  4. The area proposed to change from Agriculture to Suburban Residential between Welliver Drive and Quarry Drive.  Mr. Mullen feels there is no compelling reason to change this area.  The designation it currently has does not stop development.  Mr. Mullen said that the Plan mentioned with the possibility of future flooding in Bloomsburg, there is potential for their residents moving to Montour Township.  He feels that this would be a majority of lower to moderate income residents and that there was sufficient area in Montour Township to sustain this.  Ms. Woodward stated that she disagrees with two (2) things.  The first being that it would be the low to moderate income residents moving from Bloomsburg.  And second, His statement that there is no need currently.  The Plan is for future growth, in our best way, we look at least 5 to 10 years to the future with anticipation of changing the area between Welliver Dr. and Quarry Drive to Suburban Residential, and that was to anticipate growth, and change in economy.  It needs to be in place in order to go to the State and Federal government for monies for water and sewer for such development.  Mr. Mullen mentioned that for water and sewer to come into that area it potentially would come through the area of G. Welliver’s property from the Sunken Heights development.  Mr. Bennett mentioned that this is what is today.  What is being mentioned is for the future that could possibly come from another area and direction.  Ms. Woodward mentioned that water does not have to come from Sunken Heights and that the water pressure in Sunken Heights probably would not permit additional development.  Mr. Vanderpool stated that he lives in Sunken Heights and agrees that the water pressure is not sufficient to extend.  Ms. Woodward mentioned the Hemlock sewer comes down Rt. 42 next to Montour Township.  We could either have a joint secondary system or a primary system somewhere else and could possibly hook onto Hemlock on ridge Road.  Mr. Mullen said that the current designation in that area would allow for development, but the developer would still have to face the issue of how they would do the sewer and water.  He then mentioned that there is already Suburban Residential area that is undeveloped that could be developed.  He is not against growth, he is saying he would like to leave this area for Agriculture for now, for soil reasons.  Ms. Woodward mentioned that there is no mandate for the Agriculture area to change over the use of their land.  It would simply allow for change in the future.  The thought that Agriculture use of the land will be hindered, she doesn’t see Mr. Mullen’s reasoning.  Mr. Mullen said that one scenario could be, assuming it is changed to Suburban Residential, if he would buy half of that property but then doesn’t farm it, then eventually sell it to someone else who then wants to farm it, they could not.  It does not stop current owners, but for someone to come in who hasn’t done it before, it would stop it.  He then said his main point is, his proposal not to change the area to Suburban Residential, does not stop development. Ms. Woodward mentioned that our current ordinance does not allow cluster development in the Agriculture zoned areas.  She said that if it is the recommendation of the Supervisors to leave the area Agriculture, then they have to consider also recommending to the Planning Commission to change the zoning to allow cluster development in that area.  Mr. Mullen agreed.  Connie Giger mentioned that the gas pipeline that is proposed to come through Montour Township could possibly put a Valve Site on her property.  It would be a 100 x 175 foot slab with the valve.  This valve site regulates the pressure, so it has to be released and with the release will be fumes.  So talking MS4, this will be pollutants.  Mrs. Giger then asked if the pipeline goes in where it is proposed with the valve site, how many people will want to live near it. 


A Motion was made by Mr. Mullen, and seconded by Ms. Ebright, to send the Comprehensive Plan back to the Planning Commission to;

1. The note designated as X on the map be deleted.  (Intensive Farming)

2. The area marked VI to remain Conservation.

3. Relook at the corridor of Rt. 11, between Tower Drive and Valley Road, for Village Cluster Housing.

4. The area marked II to remain Agricultural, anticipating cluster development.

Motion carried, 2 votes in favor, Mr. Bennett opposing.



There is nothing new to report.



Solicitor Roberts mentioned that he asked Natasha Horton, of the Cohen Law Group, to provide in Amended Ordinance the wireless facilities will be permitted only with Special Exceptions. He also stated that Ms. Horton asked if there are any areas in the Township where the density is such that it might not be appropriate for these facilities.

Solicitor Roberts stated that Ms. Woodward, along with the Planning Commission will review this information, make a recommendation to the Board, and after discussion it will be sent back to Ms. Horton.



Mr. Bob Cravitz, Attorney representing Wayne Brouse and Susquehanna RV, stated that he has all agreements to be signed by the Supervisor’s. Mr. Brouse is hoping to be able to break ground within a week or two. He asked for the Supervisors’ approval of the plans.  Solicitor Roberts stated that the Supervisor’s approved the plans  with conditions at last month’s meeting, however, Mr. Axtman (Engineer for Mr. Brouse) indicated that there were pages that needed to be corrected in the plans and that was only completed a few days prior.  Mr. Cravitz gave Solicitor Roberts the agreements for his review and the Supervisor’s signatures. 



A Motion was made by Ms. Ebright, and seconded by Mr. Mullen, to make an annual donation to the Bloomsburg Library in the amount of $600.00, which will allow Montour Township residents to use the libraries service free of charge. Motion carried.



Mr. Mullen stated there is no new MS4 information and he will be attending training later in the month.





A Motion was made Mr. Mullen, and seconded by Mr. Bennett, to appoint the Township Secretary and in the event of absence of the Secretary the alternate being the Township Clerk, as the Township Open Records Officer. Motion carried.

A Motion was made by Mr. Bennett, and seconded by Mr. Mullen to add a Right-To-Know summary to the monthly agenda. Motion carried.



A Motion was made by Mr. Mullen, and seconded by Ms. Ebright, to appoint Paul Kreisher as a Planning Commission member. Motion carried.



For the security of the Township staff, Mr. Mullen will ask Mike Hinkle, Township Road Foreman to post a “No Loitering” sign on the Municipal Building.

Ms. Woodward expressed concern for other areas of the Township that seems to have individuals who park and sit in their cars for extended periods of time.

Chief Eckart stated that the Township Police Officers are aware of this problem and patrol these areas on a regular basis.



Tim Mauk, Zoning Officer, reported the following permits being issued;

Susquehanna RV – Parking Permit

Crown Castle – Repair Permit

Stan Carr – Sunroom Permit


Permits Denied:

John Cooper - Deck Permit. 

A denial letter was sent to Charles and Jewel Gordner of Legion Rd. for a carport that was raised but did not meet setbacks.  A full report was submitted by Mr. Mauk.



Tim Mauk, Code’s Enforcement Officer, reported on the following code enforcement activities for the month of June 2016:

Mr. Mauk reported that Mr. Grant Farr put up a shed and has finally gotten a permit for it; however he now has 2 RV’s that are not permitted to be there.

The following are other issues he was involved with:

370 Indian Street – Tall grass

Lot #4 Perry Ave. – Insects

Reading Street– Junk cars

A full report was submitted by Mr. Mauk.

Mr. Mauk stated that BeGoDo will be at the Perry Ave. trailer park on Wednesday July27 and Thursday July 28, 2016 in an effort to help residents with outdoor clean up, and invites all who would like to join them. He mentioned that a meeting was held at W.W. Evans Elementary School regarding this project and to his surprise many trailer parks residents attended, and looked forward to trying to make the trailer park a better place for their children to live. Mr. Mauk also mentioned that Paul Kreisher has volunteered to build/repair decks and trailer skirting, on August 3, 2016.

Chief Eckart expressed his concern with having children involved with the clean up as there have recently been several mobile meth labs in the trailer park.

Mr. Mullen suggested that Chief Eckart educate the group before they begin cleanup.

Solicitor Roberts suggested that Chief Eckart make a statement to the volunteers regarding safety. He also asked that Chief Eckart make it clear that this is not a Township related function.

Mr. Mullen said once function has ended the Township will slowly and consistently enforce the regulations to help these dangerous areas become safe again. There was further discussion on this matter.





Nothing new to report.



Mr. Mullen stated that the work on Tower Drive has been completed. The total cost was around $168,000, and the Township is still waiting on a bill for E.J. Breneman for approximately $56,000.

Mr. Mullen stated that he has put in a few proposals to the County for the some of the projects that were done around the Township. He has not yet heard whether or not we will receive those funds. Mr. Mullen also announced that he will put in a proposal to the Conservation District asking for money from the Dirt and Gravel Roads program.

Finally Mr. Mullen asked Solicitor Roberts to look at the Township driveway permit application to update and amend it. 



Chief Eckart submitted the following written report of activities for the month of June, 2016:

Fines issued - $4,281.00 – Montour Township

$1,066.00– Catawissa Township

50 Traffic Citations – Montour Township

17 Traffic Citations – Catawissa Township

2 Non-traffic Citations – Montour Township 

0 Non-traffic Citations – Catawissa Township

5 Criminal Arrests – Montour Township

1 Criminal Arrest – Catawissa Township

67 Incidents in Montour Township                       

42 Incidents in Catawissa Township

There was nothing new to add to this report.


Fire Chief Brian Fosse submitted a written report of Fire Company activities for the month of June, 2016.  

Chief Fosse requested to Mr. Mullen that the Township develop a Township emergency plan.  Mr. Mullen stated the will invite Carmen Calleri and Chief Fosse to next month’s meeting to review any information that has been gather regarding this new proposed committee.

Ms. Ebright stated that Chief Fosse would like to have reference material in the Township office for different possible catastrophic events.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Bennett, and seconded by Mr. Mullen, stating that the Board will waive the application fee for a variance, for Mr. John Cooper based upon the fact that he is totally and permanently disable and indigent. Motion carried.



Connie Giger mentioned more about the pipeline coming through Montour Township, and her property.

Mr. Vanderpool thanked the Board for waiving the variance fee of $800.00 for Mr. Copper and expediting the matter.



Mr. Mullen reported that the Montour Township Board of Supervisors will hold their next Monthly Meeting on August 11, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.


There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m., on a MOTION of, Ms. Ebright seconded by Mr. Mullen. Motion carried.


 Respectfully Submitted,

Theresa Hampton
Township Secretary

Danielle Berkes
Township Clerk