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Upper Moreland Township
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Willow Grove, PA19090-3215

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Community Development
Monday, November 21 2011

UPPER MORELAND TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

November 21, 2011 

CALL TO ORDER: The stated meeting of the Community Development Committee of the Board of Commissioners of Upper Moreland Township was called to order by Commissioner Lavalle at 7:15 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

PRESENTATION/ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissioner Lavalle apologized that the Committee was late due to the Board being in Executive Session wherein they discussed both legal and personnel matters.

ROLL CALL: Commissioner Lavalle, Chairman took roll call. Present: Commissioners Spearing and McFatridge were in attendance.  

Others: David A. Dodies, Township Manager, Catherine M. Harper, Township Solicitor, Paul Purtell, Director of Code Enforcement, Jack Snyder, Director of Public Works, and, Erik Garton, Township Engineer were present.

Approval of Minutes 

The minutes of October 10, 2011 were approved as submitted. 

REPORTS

Code Enforcement Department Report – Mr. Paul Purtell, Director of Code Enforcement, confirmed the Committee received the comparison for the month of October, 2010 and based on both years they are slightly ahead in estimated costs of construction and revenue collected.  Outside of those comments he had nothing further to report.  Mr. Purtell asked for any questions that the Committee or the Commissioners might have pertaining to his department’s report.

Commissioner Spearing has been receiving calls about applications for frequent requests i.e. building a deck, fencing or pool application.  He would like to know what they have available for residents that have consistent information. 

Mr. Purtell said they have handouts for various applications with a check list of items needed for permit submission. 

Commissioner Lavalle moved the report into the record.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011 

Public Works Department Report – Mr. Jack Snyder, Director of Public Works, was prepared to answer any questions or discuss comments presented to him relating to the report.  

Commissioner McFatridge wanted to confirm that his Ward is under Ward 7 for leaf pick-up. 

Mr. Snyder replied yes.

Commissioner Romaniello had a question regarding utility work on 611.  Her concern is the patching they had done is not level with the road. 

Mr. Snyder replied in order to fix it properly it will not get done until next spring according to PennDot’s specifications.

Commissioner Valenza wanted to give Mr. Snyder credit since he has not gotten one complaint regarding the leaf situation.  He told Mr. Snyder everything is on schedule and he is doing a good job.

Commissioner Spearing observed that the patches Commissioner Romaniello alluded to, if there is a problem, it is the contractor’s responsibility or whoever holds the PennDot permit.  If there are any complaints or claims it should be directed to that utility or contractor.

Public Works Recycling Report – Mr. Snyder was prepared to reply to any questions with regard to this particular report.

Commissioner Lavalle moved the report into the record.

Engineer’s Report – Mr. Erik Garton, Gilmore & Associates, stated the Committee was given the November, 2011 report for review.  There is more construction going on in the Township than previously. Mr. Garton had nothing further to report and no questions were offered.

Commissioner Lavalle moved the report into the record.

Landscape Architect’s Report – Commissioner Lavalle indicated that this report looked similar to last time.  He pointed out that Upper Moreland High School (2900 Terwood Road) is an ongoing situation.  They also have information concerning the Brick House Restaurant.

Commissioner Lavalle moved the report into the record.

Traffic Engineer’s Report – Commissioner Lavalle stated that this month’s engineer’s report is comparable to last month.  He asked Mr. Dodies, Township Manager, if there was any feedback concerning the applications for the ARLE grants.

Mr. Dodies responded there should be a decision made by mid-December.  They are in the final stages of the review process.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

Commissioner Lavalle restated the grants were constructed and submitted and are waiting for a response.

Upper Moreland School District – Waiver Request (trees planted along Brooks Street) – Mr. Don Warner, from the School District, spoke to the Committee on this issue. He stated that the School District is asking for a waiver request to replant the trees along Brook Street with the assurance that the School District will replace any trees that are lost on an as needed basis.

A discussion resulted from Mr. Warner’s comments on this subject.

Commissioner Spearing thinks it should be held over for another month.

Commissioner McFatridge specified that Mr. Warner is agreeable to the additional items addressed in the Landscape Architect’s letter, which he has no problem with.

Commissioner Lavalle would like a copy of the landscape drawing for next month’s meeting.

There were no additional queries or comments from the public or Commissioners.

NEW BUSINESS

Lofts at Davisville – Request for Zoning Change, 432-514 Davisville Road – Mr. Scott Semisch, attorney, spoke on behalf of CJS Enterprises. LLC, the property owner, requesting the Board to consider a zoning change to the C2 Commercial District to allow a residential use. Mr. Semisch presented to the Committee the advantages of this project.  He introduced Mr. Arthur Adams to further demonstrate how this might be a benefit to the Township.

Commissioner McFatridge asked Mr. Adams to be more specific regarding the parking spaces.

Mr. Adams accepted questions and comments relevant to the project.

 Dennis Sackelson of CJS Enterprises, LLC confirmed he contacted neighbors and discussed the project with them and received feedback from each person.

Mr. Adams assured the Committee that everything on the drawings is in harmony with Township ordinances.

Mr. Purtell suggested that Bob Drennen, Township Fire Marshal/Director of Emergency Services, should have a look at the plans to see if he has any comments.

Commissioner Spearing is concerned about erosion at the rear of the property.  He is also worried about the impact on the rest of the C-2 across the entire Township. 

A dialogue resumed with questions and comments.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

Commissioner Romaniello has an issue with parking spaces.

Solicitor Harper recommended the first step is to agree on language.  If the Committee is inclined to move forward with the proposal they should rewrite the language to be more specific with respect to use and then have someone look at other C-2 properties within 2500 feet of the train station.  She would also change the language at this point because it seems that the property line of the railroad is going to include a lot more properties than the train station itself.

Commissioner McFatridge understands  what is being asked tonight is a text change to our ordinance and the real question for the Commissioners is if we like this turn it over to a professional staff and once that is done it comes back to Committee to agree on what this change would be.

Solicitor Harper suggested they task Mr. Garton and she working with Mr. Purtel to draft an ordinance better than the one they were offered.  If they are happy with it they would send it to the APA and the Montgomery County Planning Commission and move it ahead like an ordinance.

Commissioner Spearing asked if there were any “tweaks” to the ordinance based on this language that would be applicable to the other properties.

Solicitor Harper asked Mr. Semisch to send her a word version of his draft ordinance.

Mr. Garton is in agreement with the Solicitor.  He believes that there should be a maximum number of units per acre as opposed to backing in the number of units based on how much parking that could physically fit on the site.

Commissioner Spearing thanked the property owner for their interest and investment.

Commissioner Lavalle, in his opinion, believes that there is a lot of creativity in where they are headed and what aspects they are taking into consideration in the layout and design. 

OLD BUSINESS 

Township-Wide Stormwater Study – Commissioner Lavalle stated this is a continuing item on the agenda.  In the past this item has been on the agenda and there have been some concerns about where they were headed.  In discussions with Jack Snyder and Erik Garton what we would like to propose as a Committee is basically a sub-committee of conversation that would include the three Commissioners here, Jack Snyder and Erik Garton.  We would take a look at the specifics of those particular items that were investigated in the past by Chambers, try to prioritize them, re-evaluate the budget numbers that are there, and get an idea of what funding sources are available. We would take into consideration the stormwater fund which is now approaching the three figure category. 

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

Commissioner Spearing said another topic was outreach to other partners, neighboring communities, Sewer Authority, municipalities, PennDot or anybody else who has responsibilities and requirements with stormwater.

Commissioner Romaniello believes they are headed in the right direction.  She personally wants to have more input into this committee. 

Commissioner McKenna thinks they should look at opportunities to see how they are managing their resources.  This is affecting our commerce as we see what is happening with Hatboro with businesses that are shut down from flooding out.  If we don’t start moving we’re going to be like our neighbor.  He would like to encourage them to look into critical areas and prioritize them. 

Comments and suggestions continued involving stormwater management.

Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce Redevelopment Report – Mr. Jack Tarman made some comments on what has occurred this evening.  He reminded everyone that the Chamber of Commerce put together a report, which was released to the Board of Commissioners, in March of 2010 and in this report there was a lot of information and recommendations that the Township could be moving ahead on.  Mr. Tarman proceeded to review said report.  The Chamber has reorganized and they have a new president, Mr. John Di Marzio who spoke briefly to the Committee.

 Commissioner Lavalle assured the Chamber that the Committee’s attitude is working with the community and cooperation. 

Commissioner Spearing wanted to know about a grant program for façade improvement and if the Chamber could get back to them on how they felt that would be received if that opportunity became available again.

Mr. DiMarzio gave an affirmative response.

REDEVELOPMENT

Stream Bank Stabilization Project Update – Mr. Garton had only one update from last month wherein Marian Hull, from URS Corporation, put out in an RFP for the construction observation a portion of the project, which is required, as part of the funding source that you have a full time inspector that is certified as a business partner of PennDot on site.  That went out last week and is due January 13th.

Mr. Dodies verified it went to three firms.

Commissioner Lavalle made a note that Ms. Hull was not present this evening.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

 

Upper Moreland Revitalization Task Force – Karen Houck, Chairperson, talked about the Lofts at Davisville, which addressed one of the issues they banter about frequently, and, that is how they prioritize areas that need attention. 

 She stated there was a great deal of detail in the report that Marian Hull has provided.  Ms. Houck spoke briefly about the Train Station Feasibility Study.  Another meeting is scheduled on December 9th where the Township will be meeting with SEPTA, the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Authority.  As far as the Revitalization Plan Update they had a meeting on October 18th and looked at various areas for tweaking and refining further.  The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th.  Next work session for the Task Force is Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30pm followed by the December meeting on December 28th at 7:30pm.  In 2012 they are moving their start time to 7:00pm.

Commissioner Spearing asked Ms. Houck what her evaluation was of public participation at the public meetings.

Ms. Houck said the public is enthused and interested and some are very knowledgeable.  They are trying to help them with what they are trying to accomplish. The public has come out to support us.  What she would like to do ultimately is make sure they reach a board cross section of the population of the community so that it’s not necessarily one demographic just so we get all factors represented.

There were no further questions relevant to Redevelopment.

VISITOR COMMENTS

There were none.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Commissioner McKenna commented about a rate increase from the Upper Moreland Hatboro joint Sewer Authority because they will be losing $500,000 a year in revenue that had been received the past four years.  It appears reimbursement of money collected may be due.  He also noted several columns of information were missing from their budget making it difficult to know exactly what their budget and actual numbers were.

Commissioner Spearing responded that he also had questions regarding it specifically with the potential of a $900,000.00 reimbursement for the Blair Mill Village.  If they receive that much revenue that did not pertain necessarily to water treatment and they do a reimbursement and they want to take it out of the proceeds to come he needs to ask maybe we need to do this via an auditor if this money came in as revenue was it applied to pension or retirement funds or anything else that they could recoup those funds as customers as opposed to saying the money is gone, now we have to raise the rates.  This is his analysis of the letter.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

To the Committee and Commissioner McKenna’s point Mr. Dodies did inquire today as to the projected amount of the increase and the anticipated date that it would begin.

Commissioner Lavalle asked if Mr. Dodies is waiting for a response.

Mr. Dodies replied that is correct.

Commissioner Romaniello stated with regard to the Construction Management Services for the Streambank Restoration project and the three firms that the letter was sent to ask if he was open to send it to anyone else and how were the names generated.

Mr. Dodies answered we can send it to anyone we like. The requirement is a federal one in conjunction with the project that someone is brought in for these types of services. He does think this Committee has discussed, in the past, making use of the people working on the project rather than introducing another firm.

Commissioner Romaniello also remembers the other conversation we had in this Committee where we said with regard to the Township Engineer having the role of construction management and being Township Engineer and how that has worked in the past and that sometimes it is good to separate that role.  Not that we don’t feel at all confident about the role it is just that sort of reporting structure and that is what she would hope and thought this Committee was going to do.

Commissioner Spearing added or at least entertained a different perspective on how they might manage that differently. 

Commissioner Romaniello recommended if they are going to entertain other names to go back to some of the environmental engineering firms that had come forth in the past to present their proposals to the Township.

Mr. Dodies replied they have two engineering firms working on this project and asked do you want to introduce a third firm?

Commissioner Romaniello is not happy with Baker’s consulting services that they have provided to us and would not be in favor of the Contract Management Service going to this firm. She asks that her thoughts be considered on this.

Mr. Garton interjected that these were two firms that Gilmore has dealt with on other projects previously.  It is up to the Committee if other firms want to submit.  

The Committee discussed whether they want to add other firms.

Community Development Committee                                                November 21, 2011

Commissioner Lavalle stated he does not have any problem with adding a firm or two to the list and exploring their qualifications.

Mr. Dodies replied fine.

Commissioner McFatridge received a note from a former fireman who sent a check to donate a $100 to the cost of electric for the lighting of the Christmas tree in center of town in memory of his wife. 

Commissioner Lavalle announced on Sunday, December 4th is the “Taste of Willow Grove” at Kremp’s Flowers from 5:00 – 8:00.

Commissioner Lavalle wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Adjournment:  9:05pm

Respectfully submitted by:

Arlene M. Nolan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view minutes and agendas prior to June 16th, 2008, please visit our Minutes & Agenda Archive.
To view video recordings of Commissioner's meetings, please visit our Meeting Videos page.

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