|Zawarski and Shafer review Dunkin' Donuts plan|
Franchisee Raj Saraswati, along with engineer Michael Jeitner, presented what is called a "sketch plan". That's an informal way of getting feedback before going through the costly planning process. Jeitner pointed out that, to establish a shop at that location, he's need either a use variance from the Zoning hearing Board because fast food establishments are prohibited at that location. He was curious whether Commissioners might be willing to add a zoning overlay tha
t would allow the use.
"My concern is safety," noted Commissioner Michael Hudak, who lives nearby and travels that route frequently. "The speed on that highway is out of control," he observed. Sharing that concern, Commissioner Phil Barnard added that he probably would be opposed to a change in the zoning ordinance.
It's unclear whether the project will continue.
In other business, Commissioners unanimously voted for a municipal pension reform bill that would affect new hires in the police department. This legislation, which is supported by both the Coalition for Sustainable communities and the Pa. Chamber of Commerce, would transform costly defined benefit pensions into a more modest combination of defined benefit and defined contribution. Township Manager Melissa Shafer reported that, if adopted, it would reduce the Township's annual contribution by 50%. Commissioner Pat Breslin called it a "good common sense approach" to the pension crisis.
But according to Shafer, "the odds of it passing are slim."
Commissioners also heard again from resident Barry Roth about the traffic snarls on William Penn Highway, near Route 33. Township engineer Brian Dillman suggested that the problem might be a traffic signal timing problem. "One or two signals may not be functioning the way they are intended," he speculated and proposed having the matter reviewed. Manager Shafer agreed to pursue that possibility.
As is becoming routine, Commissioners also devoted a good portion of the meeting to a discussion of Housenick Park.
President Marty Zawarski reported that he, along with Hudak and Shafer, recently toured a mansion bequeathed to the County at Louise Moore Park. Though that home has only been vacant for three years, is a stone building and is only half the size of the Archibald Johnston mansion, the County is spending $1.7 million to renovate. "We're going to easily spend twice what the County spent," complained Zawarski.
Although Janet Housenick bequeathed $2 million for park maintenance, Zawarski believes that money can only be used for the grounds. He questioned whether taxpayers would support a tax hike for mansion repairs.
Zawarski stated the Township is seeking proposals for facade repairs. "Get it out in the real world and see some real world numbers," he explained.
Finally, Commissioners talked about colors. Hudak likes yellow and blue, but other Commissioners aren't saying. Hudak believes that all Township equipment in both fire companies should have the same color scheme.
"Does the color really matter?" asked Barnard.