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It might not require much effort to guess what the main topic of the September 19 New Milford Township meeting was. This difficulty would be lessened even further were one to have seen the sheer number of vehicles surrounding the building's exterior, or the volume of people packed within its interior.
For the third month in a row, the impetus for the increased attendance was the proposed B & S quarry expansion. In consideration of last month's volatile atmosphere one might have expected, when faced with what could be the largest attendance yet, shouts and attacks to have resounded within the walls. However, though this might have been the most densely populated meeting to date, it also may have been the most logical and polite one, as visitors from both sides were able to speak their minds, and good manners and civility were frequently evinced.
The supervisors and their attorney, Mike Briechle, attempted to keep the meeting somewhat short and allow for the expression of several views by establishing a rule of five minutes per speaker. While this rule was not strictly enforced, it might have helped to keep the meeting to a reasonable length – depending on one's definition of reasonable. Even with this restriction, the meeting ran for almost three hours.
Mr. Briechle was officially appointed as the township's attorney at the beginning of the meeting, and did much of the speaking throughout it. He and supervisor Jack Conroy recently went to meet with four representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They reported having shared many of the township citizens’ concerns with them, and having asked them many questions regarding the quarry.
Pieces of information from this meeting were disclosed throughout the evening. DEP told Mr. Conroy and Mr. Briechle that citations had been issued to the site, but that as of that time the site had been brought into compliance. They also stated that a new application has been filed, which reduces the permit area from 400 acres to less than 182 acres. This new area reportedly does not include the wetlands, does not include land in New Milford Borough, and will not affect the borough's water. This will also not mean a 182-foot hole, supposedly, as DEP would require the quarry to follow a process of concurrent reclamation. They were also assured that DEP experts do not feel the site to be a significant danger to the Lyncott area. Mr. Ehmann pointed to a map and discussed an arsenic plume, which he felt studies should be done to try and locate before this assertion was made.
Mr. Briechle also stated that if this application is approved, as it is written now, by state and federal law the quarry cannot discharge storm water off the site. The sediment and erosion plan was supposedly amended. Mr. Ehmann asked if this would mean that they will amend the 43 sites currently involved with storm water discharge. The answer was that yes, at least they said they would. This, Mr. Briechle pointed out, is the law and if they fail to follow it people could sue DEP and the people causing the discharge. It is a point he made later as well, that people could, if necessary, pursue legal action should the site violate the law or their rights. They, through their local representatives, are the ones to keep DEP in check. It was also stated that the site would not be visible from I-81.
Many at the meeting, however, did not put a lot of stock in DEP's assurances, or the likelihood of their enforcing regulations. The large mining compound in Lanesboro was alluded to throughout the evening, a large picture being displayed of this compound at the front of the room. Person after person spoke of how DEP had not come through in the past – had not enforced regulations, had not ensured consistent reclamation, had given people no help or elusive and differing answers, had passed responsibility to others, or had allowed organizations to pay bond on expansions to quarries which ran outside of the original permit. Theoretically if bond fails, DEP keeps the bond money and uses it for reclamation purposes. Most of the speakers, however, did not seem to have much faith in the organization. At the previous two meetings it could have been said that the public saw the supervisors as the secondary antagonist in the fight against the quarry. Although the supervisors still fielded much criticism, at this meeting it might be said that DEP took on this role.
This alteration might be due to the quieter tone of the meeting, or to the supervisors’ revelation of their visit to DEP and other evidence of their taking community concerns under consideration. It might also be due to Mr. Briechle's repeated reminders that much of this situation was outside of the supervisors’ jurisdiction. At one point a visitor pointedly asked what the township's role was, if they had any say. It was answered that they only had an informal say in what happened, that DEP and the EPA still had primary jurisdiction over permits and enforcement. People continued to ask, however, if the supervisors could do what they could – consider zoning, officially request that the permit not be granted, or intervene between the community and DEP.
The pro-quarry contingent also had a significant say at the meeting. Cynthia Allen read a statement in favor of the stone industry in the area. She called RESCUE a militant environmentalist group, accused people of employing bully tactics at previous meetings, and said that she hoped her words would open up a dialogue rather than the monologue which had been running.
Others spoke of how the quarry people have been “good neighbors.” Much discussion was given to their assistance during the flood, where large pieces of equipment were brought down to assist the town, and workers toiled for long periods of time.
Haines and Kibblehouse was the vocal organization of the evening. Mr. Morgan Turner, an employee of this organization was one of those relating the assistance which this group gave during the flood. He also stood up in defense of the supervisors, saying that it was DEP who regulated the action, and, as the attorney said earlier, the supervisors did not have a real say. He said that he would be willing to talk one-on-one with concerned people, and that he might be able to assist one woman who said that her well had not been tested. Haines and Kibblehouse have scheduled an open informational meeting at the Blue Ridge High School sometime in October.
The supervisors eventually ended the meeting, though it was clear some people might have still wanted to speak. As it was it took a few attempts to bring it to a close. It remains uncertain what will come of it, whether people will push to have a zoning ordinance placed on the ballot, or the permit will be passed. Many concerns were expressed however, and arguments made for both sides.
On Tuesday, September 18, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) notified Susquehanna County that its Hazard Mitigation Grant Application (HMGP) for the “buy-out” of residences destroyed or substantially damaged in the June, 2006 flood has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The County’s HMGP grant, in the amount of $1.72 million, will fund the acquisition and demolition of 14 primary residential dwelling units that were either destroyed or substantially damaged (damaged 50 percent or more of the pre-flood, fair market value of the property) as a result of the June, 2006 flood. The HMGP, administered by FEMA, has been used to acquire tens of thousands of flood-damaged or destroyed properties around the country since 1988.
Approximately $9.5 million in HMGP funds were available throughout the Commonwealth as a result of the June flood; PEMA received nearly 40 grant requests but only eight applications were approved.
Earlier this year, Susquehanna County completed an all-hazards, multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan that identified flooding as the most serious natural threat to the county and its 40 municipalities. The “buy-out” of the flooded properties is consistent with mitigation priorities identified in the plan and the county’s commitment to protecting life and property and reducing the impacts of future floods. According to FEMA’s Philadelphia office, the county’s mitigation plan is considered the best plan in the entire Commonwealth.
Additionally, Susquehanna County will receive almost $58,000 from FEMA through the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program to develop a mitigation plan that focuses solely on the threat of flooding in the county and the best solutions for reducing flood losses in the area. The planning grant is available each year through FEMA; since no other county in the Commonwealth applied for the funds this year, the entire sum will be awarded to Susquehanna County.
According to PEMA and FEMA, 22 major floods have impacted Susquehanna County over the last 40 years. The June, 2006 flood was the worst disaster to impact the county in nearly three decades, destroying 115 homes and causing major or minor damage to another 650 homes. Businesses were also hit hard – 43 businesses were destroyed, 27 sustained major damage, and 34 businesses had minor damage. The county’s critical and public infrastructure, including schools, bridges, water treatment facilities, and hospitals, were also impacted – 28 public facilities were destroyed and more than 200 facilities were impacted.
For more information, contact Mark Wood, Susquehanna County Emergency Management Coordinator at (570) 278–4600, ext 257 or Donna Erat, Disaster Recovery Specialist, at (206) 755–9707.
Following is the Susquehanna County sentencing report for September, 2007 as submitted by the county District Attorney’s office.
Michael Allen Linden, 36, of Montrose, 90 days to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay cost of prosecution, pay $2500 fine, pay $200 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, pay $100 Act 198 fee, attend alcohol highway safe driving school program, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, not to possess transport or consume alcoholic beverages, abide by Pennsylvania interlock law for Driving Under the Influence in Montrose on April 28, 2007.
Roger Earl Whitaker, Jr, 47, of Kingsley, 23½ months probation for each case, $1 fine for each case, restitution to the victims in all of the cases, pay cost of prosecution in each case, supervision fees waived for Misapplication of Entrusted Property on April 27, 2006 in Harford Township, April 17, 2006 in Harford Township and September 13, 2005 in Harford Township.
Justin Conrad, 28, of Uniondale, 9 months probation, pay $300 fine, perform 25 hours of community service, not to have contact with the victim in this case, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, pay cost of prosecution for Simple Assault in Lenox Township on August 6, 2006.
Richard Patrick Malone, 42, of Uniondale, 11 months to 23 ½ months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, with credit for time served, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, pay $100 Act 198 fee, pay cost of prosecution, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, obtain drug and alcohol evaluation, not to possess firearms, pay $750 fine for Possession with Intent to Deliver in Clifford Township on May 16, 2007. The defendant also received 90 days to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, with credit for time served, to run concurrent to the above sentence, pay cost of prosecution, pay $1500 fine, pay $300 Act 198 fee, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, attend alcohol highway safe driving school program, pay $100 Act 198 fee, pay $10 EMS, not to consume any alcoholic beverages, not to have contact with anyone on supervision for Driving Under the Influence in Lenox Township on April 21, 2007. Finally, the defendant received a $150 fine, pay cost of prosecution for False Reports on April 21, 2007 in Lenox Township.
Keith L Edwards, 28, of Nicholson, 4 months to 15 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, credit for time served, pay $400 fine, pay cost of prosecution, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation, maintain full time employment, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, pay $100 Act 198 fee for Possession of a Controlled Substance Contraband by Inmate in Bridgewater Township on September 29, 2006.
Vinishia Lyn Zeruth, 21, of Susquehanna, 9 months probation, pay restitution to the victim, not to have contact with victim, pay cost of prosecution, pay $150 fine, attend anger management course for Simple Assault in Great Bend Township on May 2, 2007.
Christie Lynn Sheptock, 24, of Hallstead, 23 months probation, pay restitution to the victim, pay cost of prosecution, obtain GED, not to have contact with codefendant, not to have contact with the victim, perform 50 hours of community service, pay $300 fine for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Great Bend Township on April 14, 2007.
Kathy Mae Olszewski, 50, of Sayre, 90 days to 18 months home confinement, pay $100 Act 198 fee, complete alcohol highway safe driving school program, pay cost of prosecution, abide by Pennsylvania ignition interlock law, pay $1500 fine, pay $200 CAT, pay $10 EMS, not to possess transport or consume alcoholic beverages, not to enter any establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcohol for Driving Under the Influence in Clifford Township on July 7, 2006.
Robert D. Arsenault, 39, of South Montrose, 12 months minus 2 days to 24 months minus 1 day in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay cost of prosecution, attend alcohol safe driving school program, receive drug and alcohol counseling, pay $2500 fine, pay $200 CAT surcharge, pay $300 Act 198 fee, credit for time served, pay $10 EMS, abide by Pennsylvania ignition interlock law for Driving Under the Influence in Montrose on July 29, 2007.
Kathy L. McKee, 48, of Susquehanna, 6 months probation, pay $200 fine, pay $100 Act 198 fee, pay $100 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, not to possess consume or transport alcoholic beverages, pay cost of prosecution for Driving Under the Influence in New Milford Township on April 29, 2007.
Brian Carmine Mirra, 31, of New Milford, 15 months probation, pay $350 fine, pay cost of prosecution, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, not to possess transport or consume alcoholic beverages, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, perform 50 hours community service, $250 DNA fee and submit sample, subject to random drug and alcohol screenings, pay $100 Act 198 fee for Manufacture of a Controlled Substance in New Milford Township on May 24, 2007.
Pati Welch, 20, of Great Bend, 15 months probation, pay cost of prosecution, perform 50 hours community service, not to have contact with the victim in this case, not to have contact with minors except own children, complete GED, pay $350 fine for Corruption of Minors in Bridgewater Township on October 1, 2006.
Michael Richard Conklin, 29, of Susquehanna, 30 days to 15 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $350 fine, pay cost of prosecution, attend an anger management course, complete GED training, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation, not to consume any alcoholic beverages for Recklessly Endangering Another Person in Thompson Township on April 21, 2007.
Jerrod Steven Decker, 21, of New Milford, 1 year probation, pay cost of prosecution, pay restitution to the victim, not to possess or consume any alcoholic beverages, not to consume or possess any controlled substances, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, subject to random drug and alcohol screenings, not to enter any establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcohol, maintain employment, perform 50 hours community service, not to have contact with the victim in this case, pay $300 fine for Simple Assault in New Milford Borough on February 2, 2007.
Autumn has begun, and with it the school year. The September 18 Elk Lake School Board meeting was full of the sort of discussions around which a school revolves, talk of extracurriculars, technology, available courses, and student safety.
The ability to run wrestling more efficiently may present itself in the future. Dr. Bush brought up a proposal for new scoreboards to be erected in both the elementary and secondary gyms. The current scoreboards are several years old, and the replacements, it is hoped, would allow the district to run two wrestling matches in each gym simultaneously. Mr. Place had an additional thought regarding this matter, a plan to make the boards a potential source of income. He proposed having local businesses sponsor the board for a year, and thus be able to attach an advertisement to it. Were the district to pursue this option, though, they would regulate what organizations were allowed to advertise at the school.
In other sports news, Elementary gym educator Ed Murach also brought a proposal to the board for consideration. A youth swim program, geared for 7- to 14-year olds, is being formed with the purpose of getting children involved in the sport at younger ages. In time, it is hoped that this group could enter and compete against the Youth Swim League. Mr. Murach came seeking permission (which he received) for the program to use the district pool, though it is not a school affiliated group. More information can be obtained from www.geocities.com/elklakeswimming.
The district continues to incorporate technology to support parent involvement. The school's account on highschoolsports.net has been set up. Parents are slated to receive registration information, etc. in an upcoming newsletter. Also, student grades are now being posted to edline approximately every two weeks. This should normally occur on Friday, however holidays and extenuating circumstances may require some flexibility. Despite the technological focus, however, parents without computers are not denied access to information. A paper sports calendar will still be made, and student updates can be passed on via planners.
Students attending school-run activities at the end of the instructional day may wish to note a modification to the scheduled late bus run of about ten minutes. The announcement of this change led to a discussion of student safety as regards late or activity bus drop-off. It should be remembered that these times are approximate. The stated drop-off times relate the maximum amount of time the run should take to a specific point. If fewer children are on the bus, or under certain other conditions, the bus may arrive early. The driver is not allowed to leave the child at the stop until the scheduled time has passed, however technically at that time he or she would be allowed to do so. (This is not to say that drivers would do so). Concern over this was expressed at the meeting; as the year progresses night comes earlier. The suggestion was made, therefore, that parents arrive at pick up points early. In the interest of safety it is better, it was stated, for a parent to wait a bit at a pick up point than for a bus to do so while other children are aboard and there is not a convenient place to pull off the road.
This led to a discussion of dead spots and radio coverage. Concern was expressed that should late buses encounter trouble, there would be no one at the school to contact or no reception. It was replied that the buses have the home phone numbers of the administration, however, and that even in some spots where a bus can not reach the school it can still contact another vehicle. Dr. Cuomo stated that this was about as comprehensive a coverage as is possible in the area.
The elementary playgrounds are both up and running. They are reported to be a success; Mr. Pirrone spoke of an enthusiastic child response. At one point, he related, the entire sixth grade was on one piece of equipment. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for the future.
Other programs were alluded to briefly, but mentioned as successes. The Head Start program has begun, with 17 students enrolled both in the morning and the afternoon. The house project is going well, and the Building Trades class donated five doghouses to the SPCA, as they do every year. A Sign Language Course and an Auto Inspection Course are in the works at the SCCTC. It would appear that the year is starting out well.
Robert and Lenora Bell to Robert Bell, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Dennis R. Withers to Dennis R. and Bridget Conole Withers, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Martin and Cara S. Valentine Brady to Cara S. Valentine Brady, in Oakland Borough for one dollar.
Rebecca R. Schmidt (By Sheriff) to Greenpoint Mortgage Funding Inc., in Brooklyn Township for $1,853.00.
Scarlet Oak Acquisition LLP to Philip W. and Erin E. Wisler, in New Milford Township for $550,000.00.
Terry and Elizabeth Tingley to Trehab, in Susquehanna for $10,000.00.
John H. and Peggy Gregory to Matthew Gregory, in Great Bend Township for $65,000.00.
John and Carol McCulloch to Michael V. and H. Diane Kemp, in New Milford Township for $215,000.00.
Marshall L. and Diana L. Kasson to Bryant E. and Vanessa L. Kasson, in Springville Township for $100,000.00.
James W. and Merly Y. Gilia to John K. Darrenkamp, in Herrick Township for $204,880.00.
Martin P. and Kim E. Reed to Martin P. Reed, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
James A. and Teresa M. Wostbrock to Margaret M., John J. and Jeffrey J. Hoodak, in Franklin Township for $265,000.00.
Adam and Julie Diaz to Adam and Julie Diaz, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Theresa Price to Paul and Michele Ricelli, in Harford Township for $85,000.00.
Rudolf P. Lyendecker (AKA) Rudolf P. Leyendecker to Paul Schardt, Jr., in Jackson Township for $135,000.00.
Roger D. Allard to Lee C. and Diane M. Allard, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Gerald W. (By Atty) and Calista L. (By Atty) Andzulis to Gary J. and Rhonda J. Hartley, in Thompson Township for $18,500.00.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (By POA) to Thomas G. Holleran, in New Milford Borough for $11,400.00.
Barbara Ash Abissi to Deborah, Kevin B., Sandra B. and William J. McCarthy, in Forest Lake Township for $169,900.00.
John R. and Mildred A. Barr to John R. and Mildred A. Barr, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Mary L. (EST), Stephen John and Linda Langton to Stephen John and Linda Langton, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Francis X. Schofield to Terese Mary Kar, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Alvin C. and Sandra Jean Seamans to Josh Seamans, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Paul and Maryanne Debish to Jason Lynady (AKA) Jason Lynade and Erin Lynady (AKA) Erin Lynade, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Nelson and Jacqueline H. Downend to Frank and Joan M. Pisani, in Thompson Township for $170,000.00.
Jason and Christine Henke to Anthony and Wendi McNeilley, in Jackson Township for $40,000.00.
R. G. Vance, Arthur E. Barndt, Sr. and Betty Barndt to Arthur E. Sr. and Betty Barndt, in Lenox Township for $6,250.00.
Dianne T. Diskin to James E. Jr. and Sharon J. Diskin, in Ararat Township for $250,000.00.
Helen L. Kost (ESTATE) to Mary Aubel, Helene Petrus and Kathryn Connor, in Forest City for one dollar.
Trudy Stallings, Richard A. Rood, Shelly Cassity and Chris Rood to Trudy Stallings, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Lawrence M. Grasso (TRUST) to John F. Baker, in Franklin Township for $60,000.00.
Thomas K. and Barbara E. Simpson to Valerie J. and James E. Morrison, in Montrose for $219,000.00.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Christian and Florentina Vasui, in Auburn Township for $68,500.00.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Manzek Land Co. Inc., in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Michael Morreale, in Forest Lake Township for $55,000.00.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Robert Sutkowski, in Forest Lake Township for $48,000.00.
John Sanders and Richard P. York to Steven Noyes, in Apolacon Township for $2,000.00.
John L. Heinauer to Larry Heinauer, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Christian A. Kirkegaard and Jennifer Marie Bevilacqua, both of Baldwinsville, NY.
Stephen L. Mooney and Deborah Marie Arnold, both of West Norriton, PA.
Edward Everett Chandler and Christine M. Anderson, both of Susquehanna.
Gary William Ewain, Jr. and Tenish Lynn Weeks, both of Starrucca.
Keefe N. Nelson and Sarah C. Bryant, both of Little Meadows, PA.
James Leslie Nixon and Dianna Marie Henry, both of Brackney, PA.
Ronald William Roeder of Montrose and Debra L. Bailey of Hallstead.
On September 12, 2007, a disaster was declared in the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan and Wyoming. This was due to drought conditions starting on April 1, 2007.
Eligible family farmers may quality for Farm Service Agency emergency loans for damages and losses caused by the drought. Emergency loans are available at a reduced interest rate to provide financial assistance to farmers so they can return to normal farming operations.
Emergency loan applications will be accepted through close of business May 12, 2008.
To be eligible, an applicant must have suffered a loss that was the direct result of the damages mentioned above. An applicant must be the operator of an established family farm at the time of the disaster and must certify that they cannot borrow money at a conventional lending institution. In addition, an applicant must have the ability, experience, and cash flow needed to repay the loan.
Loan funds may be used for a variety of purposes including refinancing debt, purchase of livestock, equipment, or for annual operating expenses.
Anyone interested in more information on the program should contact their local FSA Office.
FSA is an equal opportunity lender.
As with many municipalities and organizations, Hallstead Boro Council has had difficulty finding volunteers to fill positions. They discussed the dilemma at length at their September 20 meeting; the boro is currently in need of an emergency management coordinator and a NIMS coordinator. So far, viable candidates have not materialized. Anyone interested can contact council.
Maintenance supervisor Jim Brink has resigned. Councilman James Gillespie has been seeing to the mowing until a replacement can be found. A motion carried to pay Mr. Gillespie $10 an hour for mowing until then. Applications for the supervisor position will be accepted until October 11 when council will review them at a special meeting that will also be their budget preparation meeting. The position is a full-time one, with pay starting at $9/hour. After a six-month probationary period, the salary increases to $10/hour.
Council will give consideration to changing the boro’s ordinances from requiring a fifteen-foot setback to ten feet.
The boro received a $680 donation from the United Methodist Church, proceeds from a “cruise in.” The donation will be applied towards purchase of two benches for the Rte. 11 park pavilion. The boro will make up the difference in cost, as well as purchase of a message board for the park, which will be used to post reservations for the pavilion. Restoration of the flood damage is progressing. The following Saturday, council president Michelle Giangrieco planned to map out where at the park trees and shrubs should be placed. The cost will be financed through a grant the boro received from the Pennsylvania American Water Co. for just such projects, where trees and shrubs can be planted to prevent erosion of stream banks.
At the ballfield on Rte. 11, flood damaged buildings have been taken down. It had been decided to leave up the clam pavilion, as it is in good shape and only needs a new roof.
The boro will have new dugouts put in at the park using the donations the Fancher family have made to the boro, and the Blue Ridge School District will be contacted to discuss replacing the concession stand. The school will also be contacted to find out the status of the cement pad for the new pavilion there, as it had been council’s understanding that the school would be taking care of that.
And, the Bridging Communities committee has been preparing a bid package for the sidewalk project, which is required by grant restrictions to be complete by April.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m. at the boro building.
COG’s building committee is proceeding with preparations for their new “home.” They are waiting for a survey of the property they are purchasing, and, in the meantime had to have perc tests redone. The property straddles two municipalities, and it was discovered that the property line was not quite where it had been thought to be, so the test site had to be moved to another location and the tests redone.
The accountant’s year end financial statement (review) has been completed, with findings that all is in order and no recommendations made.
The sewage committee had recently met to review current violations. Three cases are pending, with two of the properties involved due to be sold at a sheriff’s sale so action on those is on hold for the time being.
SEO Duane Wood has tendered his resignation, effective at the end of the year. SEO Tom Milewski has also given notice of his intent to resign, due to scheduling conflicts.
The committee planned to meet to discuss options.
With zoning being on many minds in the area, and ordinances implementing it pending, COG has been discussing administration of zoning. If that is to be done through COG, some decisions will need to be made, such as hiring of a zoning officer. Hiring of a full-time officer was said to be preferable, as he/she could immerse themselves in zoning and familiarize themselves with what is entailed, rather than a part-time officer who would have to spend a lot of time researching and catching up. Each municipality involved would have to adopt a basic ordinance, which could be tailored to meet their individual needs, but all would have basically the same criteria.
Whatever the final decision is, it was agreed that it is best to begin exploring options now so as to be well prepared. If zoning is to be administered through COG, COG could offer a central location with an office that is staffed daily with people who are familiar with the subject matter. It would also be more cost efficient than it would be if municipalities were to have their own officer. And, not all of the county municipalities would be able to hire an officer with the same level of experience they could expect from a COG zoning officer.
But, what to do about municipalities who are not COG members? Would they need to join COG and the Codes committee, as zoning would most likely fall under the Codes umbrella. An ordinance would be necessary for a municipality to join COG, perhaps there could be a resolution to join Codes, and thereby zoning.
More research will be done, to have a better suggestion to offer members (and potential members) as to how it can be administered and formed.
There was an informational zoning meeting scheduled for the following evening in Liberty Township, and (reporter’s note), there is also one scheduled for Monday, October 22 at the Blue Ridge School District auditorium. The “Nuts & Bolts of Zoning” will be presented through a partnership with the Susquehanna County Department of Planning and Penn State Cooperative Extension. Phone (570) 278-1158 for information.
The next COG meeting will be on Tuesday, October 16, 7 p.m. in the COG offices in New Milford.
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