BoS Meeting, July 1, 2019

There was a Township Executive Session from 6:30 pm until 7:25 pm to discuss the UMH issue (Zoning Hearing meetings were held in February and April for the UMH Properties Validity Challenge and Curative Amendment challenge).  The Board of Supervisors determined that UMH did not prove their case and so there was a formal motion to deny UMH’s challenge, which was unanimously carried.

Many of the residents of Greenwich Township, united as members of the Krumsville Community Coalition, have brought concerns before the Board of Supervisors over the past several months.  As the BoS has not directly answered these questions, we put together a listing of our concerns and requested to be on the July 1, 2019 agenda.

The below is a direct copy of the challenges as presented to the BoS.  In red, their responses.  In green, the response of the township attorney, Mr. Dan Becker. We always record the meetings and we will gladly share the recording with anyone that may be interested in hearing the aggression directed towards these questions.

Good Evening, and thank you (again) for allowing me to speak on behalf of a large portion of our Greenwich Twp Residents.

We have a couple questions:

1)  Our township fire consultant has used 2015 International Fire Code as an example of safety for commercial and industrial construction projects.  Will the Board be permanently adopting this code into our ordinances? Victor stated that LTL is reviewing all the ordinances and when they have completed the revisions, it is possible this could be in. So, I redirected this question, “So the township is considering the addition of this as a permanent ordiance?” and Mr. Becker swiftly intervened with this answer. “Dodie, the Board is reviewing ordinances and they cannot say what will or will not be updated at this time.”

2)  Our township fire consultant has made the comment in the review letters on several different projects that the township should adopt a “False Alarm” Ordinance.  Has the Board looked into this as a new ordinance? When this question was asked, all three of the board members looked at each other, shrugged and Dean answered, “This kind of ordinance will put the burden on the residents.” So I asked then if it was being considered as part of the revisions that LTL was doing and Mr. Becker answered. “Again, we cannot answer that question as the ordinances are currently under review by LTL.”

****NOTE**** Our attorney’s were present tonight and when I started to respond to Mr. Becker, our attorney told me not to.

3)  In April 2019 it was suggested to the Board that the township look into revising and updating the “Special Exceptions” portion of our ordinances. When asked about this at the May Meeting, the BoS had not reviewed it.  Has the Board reviewed those documents presented since the May meeting?  All three board members looked at each other in puzzlement and Victor started to respond.  Mr. Becker quickly interjected, “Dodie, this falls under the zoning officers concern.” I answered, “So Pete is in charge of zoning revisions?” I looked at Pete who glanced at me and then looked back down at the paperwork in front of him. Mr. Becker responded, “Yes, it’s all part of the revisions being done at this time.”

4)  At the May 2019 BoS meeting, we brought a concern before the Board about Engine Retarder braking along Old 22 and in the Krumsville Intersection.  We requested the Board look into adopting a Prohibition Ordinance (see attached request).  Last month the Board had not reviewed the information we presented.  Has the Board had an opportunity to review the information presented in May? As soon as this question was presented, Mr. Becker answered. “Dodie, as you know, the Board had discussions with H&K and resolved this issue.” I interrupted Mr. Becker, “Yes, we saw a change for about two weeks and that was only for the H&K vehicles.  We are talking about all air brake vehicles traveling along Old 22” Mr. Becker then interrupted me, “Well any concerns you have about warehouse traffic … “ I quickly jumped on that, “No, this has nothing to do with warehouse traffic.  Currently there is a large volume of traffic on Old 22 and these vehicles are jaking down the 220 foot hill along the mobile home park and they’re also jaking into the Krumsville intersection.  This occurs all day and at night, 2 am , 3 am, 4 am … when are the residents supposed to get sleep?” Mr. Becker answered, “Well if this has to do with resident concerns then the board will look into it *BUT* this is a PennDOT road and they will have to do a traffic study and the costs …” I interrupted Mr. Becker, and I was a bit sharp – enough so that out attorney put his hand on my arm and squeezed. “We do not need a PennDOT traffic study, I presented to forms to the BoS in May. The Township Roadmaster just needs to complete the 1/2 page form, sign it and submit it.  We already talked to PennDOT and they said the procedure for getting signage is relatively simple and usually within 30 days … “ Mr. Becker interrupted me, “These are state roads and PennDOT will have to do a traffic study and this will cost the taxpayers money.” I started to interrupt him, because his statement is not true, and our attorney told me to stop it.

For the record.  We already spoke with PennDOT about the increase in engine retarder braking happening along Old 22 and in the Krumsville intersection.  PennDOT was very concerned for our residents and they were extremely helpful in directing us to the correct area of their website, giving us the direct name of the person with whom the form needed to be sent and directing us to our township roadmaster  to fill in the section stating why it was an issue and submit it.  The PennDOT representative also told us that usually within 30 days of submitting to form, the township would receive approval for signage. We presented this form to the BoS with the instructions as given to us by PennDOT.  Apparently, our BoS did not understand the simplicity of this application … Request for Jake Brake prohibition 05-06-19

5)   It has come to our attention that the HOP for the JVI Crossroads X#2 Warehouse Project has met all the PennDOT requirements and is in the process of being approved.  Upon requesting information from PennDOT about appealing the approval decision, PennDOT sent us the information and HIGHLY ENCOURAGED us to get the township government involved in the appealing process.  While we, the residents, are totally able to appeal the HOP, PennDOT has stated, and our attorneys have concurred,  that the appeal will be best receive in court coming from the local government.

Intervening in agency proceedings, such as the permitting process, is governed by the General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure, specifically, 1 Pa. Code Sections 35.27-35.41.  AND WE HAVE ALREADY completed Phase 1 of their A.P.P., which is filing a grievance and attending a meeting with PennDOT.  This occurred on November 3rd, 2017.  The residents presented documents, photos, drawings and spoke with PennDOT for over three hours on the safety concerns.

NOW THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS needs to step in and complete phase 2, which is petitioning an appeal against the decision to approve an HOP for warehouse type traffic through the Krumsville intersection.  The procedures and rules of appeal are found at 67 Pa. Code Chapter 491.

Petitions for Intervention should be filed with the Administrative Docket Clerk and mailed to:

Patricia A. Smith, Administrative Docket Clerk

Department of Transportation, 400 North Street, 9th Floor

Harrisburg, PA 17120-0096

And to recap the meeting at PennDOT offices in November 2017, our safety concerns are the following and fully disclosed documentation supporting these concerns were presented to PennDOT: (any documents regarding the below concerns were copied to the BoS in 2017.  We can provide new copies if needed)

  • Safety of motorists and pedestrians crossing the intersection of Old Route 22 and Rt 737
  • Safety of motorists and pedestrians on Old Rt 22 and Rt 737
  • Safety of motorists and pedestrians merging from Rhoades Rd onto Rt 737
  • Safety of residents along Rt 737 from the proposed warehouse location through to Rt 222 in Kutztown
  • Health of residents along Rt 737 from the proposed warehouse location through to Rt 222 in Kutztown
  • Wealth of residents along Rt 737 from the proposed warehouse location through to Rt 222 in Kutztown
  • The proposed warehouse project does not have queuing parking available for trucks in transit. Krumsville in general does not have any space for queuing.  Even the New Smithville truck stop, located 5.5 miles from Krumsville does not have available queuing parking.
  • The distance from the westbound ramp of I-78 to the blinking red light does not meet PennDOT requirements and backups past the ramp and over the bridge occur frequently during evening rush hour (not to mention every time there is an I-78 emergency detour)
  • The turning radius of the intersection does not meet PennDOT requirements and is dangerous to motorists when trucks longer than 28 feet attempt to turn off Old Rt 22 to Rt 737, or turn off Rt 737 onto Old Rt 22

We are requesting that the BoS intervene in the HOP approval process and begin a plan of action for appealing any approval decision.

Our Board of Supervisors didn’t even try to respond to this.  Mr. Becker stated clearly, in a lengthy lecture to me, that the Board of Supervisors have already made their case with PennDOT and there was nothing more they could do.  MR. BECKER IS CLEARLY NOT EDUCATED ON THIS MATTER!

At this time, we can file this petition with the courts howver, after extensive communications with PennDOT personnel, it is clear that the court will expect any and all appeal petitions to come from the municipality.  Mr. Becker even said to us that we should file the appeal petition and he would review it to see if the township should join in.  JOIN IN????  WOW!

And so, as you have read, I presented all the concerns that the residents have been bringing and the Board of Supervisors did not answer a single on of the questions and deferred all their liability for answering to the township attorney, Mr. Dan Becker.

I am highly disappointed.  I was truly hoping for some help from  our Board of Supervisors on these issues.  I am hoping that they will have time between now and the next BoS meeting in August to review these questions and help us out.