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Upper Moreland Township
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Community Development
Monday, December 12 2011

UPPER MORELAND TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

December 12, 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 7:00p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

PRESENTATION/ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

Others: David A. Dodies, Township Manager, Ann Thornburg Weiss, 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 November 21, 2011 were approved as submitted. 

REPORTS

Code Enforcement Department Report – Mr. Paul Purtell, Director of Code Enforcement, verified the Committee has the November 2011 report along with the November 2010 report for comparisons.  Mr. Purtell reviewed the report for the Committee. 

No questions or comments were brought forward.

 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 Spearing asked Mr. Snyder about the water at the intersection of Warminster and Byberry Roads.  He is knowledgeable about repairs at that junction but it appears to still be problematic. 

Mr. Snyder spent several hours at that particular intersection doing another investigation on trying to find out where the latest “spring” is coming from.  They cannot seem to find the source.  Today he ordered an “inlet” to capture the water that is coming down the road to put into the under drain, which will hopefully alleviate this situation.

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

Commissioner Spearing asked if it is a Township basin or privately owned.

Mr. Snyder replied it is a privately owned basin.

Commissioner Valenza questioned if they heard from PennDot pertaining to 1405 Terwood.

Mr. Snyder did speak with them and told the Commissioner he is working on the problem.

Commissioner Spearing asked about the replacement of the traffic light box at Mill and York Roads.

Mr. Dodies, Township Manager, interjected that they are still trying to recover costs from insurance on that.

Mr. Lavalle wanted to know about the leaf vacuum schedule if it is still on track.

Mr. Snyder assured the Commissioner it will be completed sometime this week.

Commissioner Lavalle moved the report into the record.

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 received the December, 2011 report in their packet for review. There is not too much in the report that is not on the agenda for this evening.  One item is the Lofts at Davisville.  They completed their analysis of how many parcels are in the C-2 zoning district within 2500 feet of the train station.  Next month the Commissioners will receive a list as well as a map showing where all these parcels are. 

At this time there were no inquiries from the public or Commissioners.

Landscape Architect’s Report – The Architect’s report is a monthly occurrence in the Commissioners’ book.  McCloskey & Faber are not in attendance; therefore, Commissioner Lavalle outlined their report for the Committee.  Commissioner Lavalle asked Mr. Purtell with regard to the landscape buffer placement, relative to the meeting at Giant, whether this particular item was rectified.

Mr. Purtell responded that he did not know whether the buffer has been completed at this time.

Mr. Garton countered that the buffer has been installed at the top of the slope.  The residents thanked the engineer for their efforts and are happy with the solution.

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

In relation to Giant, Commissioner Spearing wanted to know if there will be ground cover included also.

Mr. Garton explained to the Commissioner that at this time of year it is tough to get naturalized vegetation to establish itself and will most likely sit through the winter without any.

There were no questions concerning the Landscape Architect’s monthly report.

Traffic Engineer’s Report - Commissioner Lavalle asked Mr. Dodies to update the Committee on the content of McMahon’s project status report pertaining to the grant programs.

Mr. Dodies said they were awaiting word from the ARLE Grant Program, which should be by the 31st of December.  The Township has submitted a grant for $100,000; the two items are noted in your book for improvements at Davisville Road and York Road.  The Township match would be the design work that has already been completed.  The $100,000 grant application is for the purposes of the installation of the pedestrian crossing and the video detection cameras.

Upper Moreland School District – Construction/Other Items – This is similar to what was presented at last month’s meeting, a waiver request concerning trees planted along Books Street.  He believes that the request has not changed over the last couple of weeks.  There was additional information requested, we do have a landscape plan this evening. The school district has requested a waiver based on a review from McCloskey & Faber at the site for the plantings.

Mr. Purtell identified the condition of the shade trees.  The Township Landscape Architecture could not recommend the starting of the 18 month guarantee period due to the condition of some of the trees.  Basically the school district is asking for a waiver of the official 18 month guarantee period with the condition that they will replace any of the trees that do not make it.  There were three conditions that the Landscape Architecture had recommended to be put into the revised letter from Mr. Braun of the school district.  It is his understanding that Mr. Warner was agreeable to revising the letter with those comments.

Commissioner Spearing indicated that the landscape architecture did address these issues early on.  He reviewed this extensively and found that McCloskey & Faber did a good job dealing with this issue as opposed to opinions of other people. 

Commissioner Romaniello concurred with Commissioner Spearing.  She believes that the recommendations given in 2010 are not necessarily going to change the final outcome of what they are requesting today.  It is her opinion that if Worth & Co. had acted then maybe they would have had a guarantee that the company could have gone back out and corrected the plantings that were installed improperly.  Now we are into 2011-2012 there is no way the company is going to fix that problem.  It is Commissioner Romaniello’s belief they should let the school board know it was installed incorrectly.

A dialogue resulted from comments the Committee had voiced. 

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

Commissioner Lavalle asked the Committee if they were comfortable recommending the granting of the waiver with appropriate conditions to the full Board.

The Committee was in agreement.

Mr. Purtell confirmed he reviewed the request stating essentially they are not waiving the 18 months of guarantee period they are going to waive the criteria to start it.

Commissioner Spearing understands what Mr. Purtell is saying.

Mr. Garton offered a different perspective to the Committee to explain what Mr. Purtell was saying.

Commissioner Romaniello isn’t sure she is in agreement following Mr. Purtell’s explanation.  She indicated the word that will be subjective is “declining condition” the way it is written. 

Discussion continued on the subject.

Solicitor Thornburg Weiss offered her professional opinion.

Commissioner Spearing is in favor of moving this out of Committee with recommendation for approval with us retaining the money related to these trees.

The Commissioners approved.

Commissioner Lavalle stated that if we control the money for the landscape at the seventeenth month McCloskey & Faber can go back and get an analysis of how these trees are fairing then we would have some leverage to have them replaced if we detect a failing situation.

Mr. Dodies proposed to get a revised letter from the district then share that with the Solicitor’s office and hopefully bring it before the Commissioners at the January 9th meeting. 

Commissioner Spearing did like the recommendation of the language being tightened up in the opinion of McCloskey & Faber that the trees are failing.

No other comments or questions related to the school district were brought forward.

OLD BUSINESS

Township-Wide Stormwater Study – Commissioner Lavalle referenced a storm water sub-committee meeting with attendees Commissioner Spearing, Commissioner McFatridge, Jack Snyder, Erik Garton and he

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

 A preview of the meeting was given by Mr. Garton.  He stated since it was their first meeting it was broad in scope and they didn’t get into specifics.  He outlined a few items for the Commissioners to consider moving forward in terms of priorities and how to fund projects, ways to gather input from all the Commissioners, and a thought on what the sub-committee is going to produce.  One action item that came out of the meeting was for Jack Snyder and him to meet with each of the Commissioners individually to go over any stormwater issues they have. 

Comments were accepted from the Committee and attending Commissioners.

 Commissioner Romaniello wanted to bring to the attention of the Commissioners that a discussion was held for several months prior to the exchange of engineering firms the area of Edgehill Road & 63 that was not documented in the study.  It relies upon another subject which she spent time on.  She feels it is important that it be entered into the public record.  The subject is Evans Circle which is shut down when it floods.  This area ties into Quigley, Edgehill and that whole network of pipe.  That system is insufficient in ways that it is not collecting where we have some inlets even on private properties.  It is turning into a “wet land.”  She had talked with Dick Sayer.  There is a system of inlets, above and below ground, open creek beds, pipes and inlets that are in Ward 1, through Ward 6 over to Dick Sayer and Glen Martin’s properties.  She has a lot of signatures from Ward 1, which she believes should go in the public record. What the residents are saying is, in summary, that they will allow the Township to carry out improvements in collection of stormwater throughout the Township meaning they will allow temporary easements onto their property in order for the Township to increase the size and redraw that line that would work itself over to Quigley.  It is her belief that it would be a more efficient collection system. She wants the signatures that she has from January 2010 through June of 2010 so those residents know they are on record as property owners who want to see and support the Township effort.

Mr. Snyder asked the Commissioner if all those residents are also aware that any fencing or shade trees is their responsibility to remove and they do have easements through those properties. 

Commissioner Romaniello said they would have to look at that. 

Mr. Snyder restated that they have easements they or prior residents have put up fences, sheds, or trees on those properties.  It is the Township’s policy that it is not their responsibility to clear the easement to do an improvement.  

Commissioner Romaniello countered if we have a solution we put it on the table it’ll be then up to us to make a very good argument for the wider good of the Township to get that done.  She understands Mr. Snyder’s concerns. 

A dialogue between Commissioner Romaniello and Mr. Snyder developed.

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

Commissioner Spearing said as far as stormwater we have to maintain permanent easements.  The Commissioner stated that the residents need to understand that if the Township makes a commitment to stormwater, in the future, that they also have to make a commitment to the Township to maintain this easement in perpetuity.

Ultimately this project that Commissioner Romaniello is referring to requires a permanent easement, which is now an underground piping system of Glen Martin’s property.  It has been paid for by the property owner.

Commissioner Parsell requested as they are going through and looking at all the stormwater issues and the opportunities that we have asked the sub-Committee to please document very clearly how you are prioritizing projects.  She asked to look especially at life and safety the areas that would be the largest financial losses and the potential.

Commissioner Valenza voiced his agreement and asked for confirmation from Mr. Garton concerning stormwater issues.  He also agrees with Commissioner Romaniello but does not know what the solution is.

Commissioner Lavalle assured the Committee that the subject of Edgehill Road did come up in our initial conversation. 

Observations and questions continued.

Commissioner Spearing asked Mr. Dodies if they have an update on the basin area at the quadrant of Blair Mill and County Line Roads where PennDot was to look at it.  

Mr. Dodies replied that PennDot suggested a partnership with Hatboro and application for the H20 program. 

Commissioner Spearing disagreed.  He stated they discussed an application for the H20 grant and the recommendation was that it is more of a highway drainage problem, and Mr. Dodies reported the match for the grant was 50%. 

A dialogue and comments continued on the subject of stormwater.

Commissioner Romaniello wanted to go on record by saying that there was no suggestion of piping and dumping at Huntingdon Valley club.

A resident spoke to the Committee with regard to flooding of her home. 

Commissioner Lavalle stated they will revisit this issue next month.

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce Redevelopment Report - This is another continuing item on the agenda.  Commissioner Lavalle asked if there was any information from the Chamber.

Jack Tarman, spokesperson for the Chamber, reviewed the report the Chamber put together and submitted to the Township in March of 2010. There were recommendations in the report that the Chamber came up with to be able to move forward.  Since the report was made known there have been major steps taken by the Board of Commissioners to move some of the issues forward.  He addressed the fact that they need the private sector to get anything going. 

Commissioner Lavalle’s recommendation would be to review pages 21 – 30.  He believes it is more affective to take those particular items and discuss them at the task force level because it involves the community. 

Following comments and recommendations a discussion took place.

Commissioner Romaniello would like to see a letter from the Chamber that supports i.e. a main street program, a façade program and things of that nature. 

Regarding the train station relocation Commissioner Romaniello said she would like to look at the feasibility market analysis as to why the location did not work.  There were a lot of questions with regard to that.

Commissioner Lavalle asked the Commissioner to organize what was presented this evening and pass it onto Chairman Houck which could be incorporated into the agenda for discussion at the Revitalization Task Force Meetings, for example, façade improvement programs, etc.

Lofts at Davisville – Request for Zoning Change, 432-514 Davisville Road {continued to January 23, 2012 CDC Meeting} – This item will be held for next month.

NEW BUSINESS

No new business was brought forward.

OTHER ITEMS

There were no other items for discussion.

REDEVELOPMENT

Upper Moreland Revitalization Task Force – Karen Houck, Chairperson, spoke to the Committee.  Ms. Houck summarized for the Committee their priorities.  They are looking at other areas in the Township to help generate revenues.  They are discussing the need to expand the redevelopment area possibly also the revitalization eligible areas.

Community Development Committee                                                December 12, 2011

They don’t have specific recommendations at this point. Ms. Houck announced the next several meetings for the Task Force.  The train station is still a study in process.  No further meetings are posted for the train station at this time.  Ms. Houck asked for questions and/or comments relating to the update.

Commissioner Lavalle added that Septa has been involved as one of the players in the feasibility study.

Commissioner Spearing asked about the philosophy of the trends that generate opinions that there should be some consideration for the expansion of the redevelopment area. 

Ms. Houck explained that they want to be sure they are not out of date by the time they finish, just to be forward thinking and have room for flexibility. 

Comments and explanations were offered.

Commissioner Spearing asked if they received any input from future business of Montgomery County’s level of participation they plan to have regarding the annex building.

Ms. Houck responded not that she is aware of not specifically.

Commissioner Lavalle asked Mr. Garton for an update on the Stream Bank Stabilization Project. 

Mr. Garton had nothing further to update since the last meeting. 

Commissioner Lavalle added a couple of recent events have led the Committee to the possibility of having a discussion concerning an Architectural Review Board or a retooling of the Town Center Zoning Ordinance concerning exterior features or a subset committee from either the APA and/or Historic Commission to review exterior design decisions in the Town Center zoning area.  Ms. Hull was not present this evening but has been extremely busy attending meetings on the feasibility study and fact findings.  They will have a discussion on the subject within the next couple of months.

VISITOR COMMENTS

There were no visitor comments.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

There were no additional questions or comments from the Commissioners present.

Adjournment:   8:35pm

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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