FYI – This is a practice I started and will continue as a member of the BOC. With these previews while I may indicate a voting inclination, it in no way means my mind is made up on any issue. Back during a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner once spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong.
My hope is this opens the door for conversations before public meetings. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was people didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background information and my thoughts on issues before they come to a vote in front of the board. This is one mechanism to do that.
Executive session – Clerical union contract review – I believe Bruce Fosselman and Ryan Conrad (chair of budget and finance committee) are the designees to negotiate. I think this is a strength of Conrad’s and I’m happy he has this responsibility.
Hearings and Approvals
Shepherds Corner – Development project on the corner of Krocks and Hamilton Corridor. At this stage I would vote to approve this project. However, had I sat on the planning and zoning committee when this plan came in as a sketch at that point I would have encouraged the developer to consider swapping the storm water features to the front of the building and moving the parking to the rear.
If you ever drove past the medical office on Walnut St. in East Macungie near the Buckeye tavern it’s a similar look with attractive storm water features in the front. I think that a landscaped storm water basin with split rail fencing presents a very pleasant street scape. This would be something more in line with our vision for a “world class boulevard”. Something less “strippy”. To achieve this we need to encourage developers to pay attention to curb appeal. The time to do this is very early in the process.
One of the biggest things that makes a strip development a strip is locating the parking in the front so it becomes the dominant feature. It is important to shield the parking from boulevard. Thats the difference between a “Boulevard” and Macarthur Rd. or any other strip. We have Commissioners who talk about the world class boulevard and that’s wonderful yet they keep approving strip (or strippy) projects. Shepherds Corner is not a terrible project. (I reserve that label for plan approvals like the “American Kitchens” approved plan) It could be alot better but at this point it is what it is. And that is what we need to shoot for design wise if we want to have a “World Class Boulevard” in our township. Main Street design. Not strip design with some bells and whistles.
This would be the ideal form of commercial/office development on Hamilton Boulevard. I believe we need to start proposing a unified vision. One way to do this is to present photographs of desired “look” to developers early in the process. This would be a model I would encourage.
*Note this project is tied to (because of shared stormwater) Hamilton Crossings. It’s unlikely it would happen without Hamilton Crossings being built.
Plan approval for Millbrook farms – This is another project that has been in the “pipeline” for awhile and I would likely vote in support of. Millbrook farms is a great subdivision with a very active HOA who is currently working with the township to utilize tree-vitalize grants to enhance their public realm.
Engineering – Acceptance of roadways for Liquid Fuels Reimbursement.
What is the Liquid Fuels Tax
A tax of 12 cents per gallon is imposed on all liquid fuels (primarily gasoline) used or sold and delivered in Pennsylvania. The tax is imposed on the ultimate consumer, but the distributor is liable for collecting and remitting the tax.
Portions of this tax are then distributed to municipalities. The amount we receive is based on miles of roadways and population. There is a very specific list of items the township can use this state money for. Primarily it consists of repair and maintenance of roads.
Authorization to advertise Act 537 ordinance – See last months meeting agenda preview for an overview of Act 537.
Township Manager’s Report – Last meeting the board instructed the the manager to continue with the process to subdivide and sell the Kratzer farm house. As you might recall, I and others including the Parks board, EAC and Planning commission formally expressed concern with a previous plan to subdivide the house, barn and driveway. More information here.
We were successful in convincing the board to explore the value of the access (driveway) and the barn for a potential future greenway trailhead. The discussion at the time was to hold off on any subdividing until the results of the parks and recreation comprehensive plan were completed and presented. At least that was mine and others understanding.
At some point the discussion shifted and the process moved forward with the house. At last weeks meeting I would have voted against an authorization to instruct the manager to move forward with an appraisal and I would have honored the previous discussions to stop the subdivision process entirely until the park plan addressed the issue.
General Admin – One item on the Gen Ad agenda is the creation of the TreeTenders AD-Hoc committee. I support this in lieu of a shadetree commission. I attended the tree-tender training and think it’s an excellent program.