Mahoning Township supervisors Monday night discussed but consequently tabled a request for a policy statement from the Township Engineer Tim Edinger on whether he had the ability to approve minor changes to development plans without board approval.
At issue for the supervisors was the question as to how to decide what is a minor change and whether the term "minor" would mean the same to supervisors as it would to Edinger.
"I'm not sure why we need to do this although I can understand why our engineer might ask for this ability," said Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt. "After all we meet every two weeks, so they would not have to wait long for a decision."
Steigerwalt pointed out that an example that might need an immediate answer is if a change needed to be made due to a critical part of a project like concrete being delivered and poured.
"While I can see something like this could happen, I have never actually seen a problem that couldn't wait while I've been on the board," he said.
Steigerwalt suggested if something critical would come up that supervisors could be called to get approval if three consented the change could be made and the decision ratified at the next meeting.
Supervisor Linda Benner said she was in agreement with Steigerwalt.
"We meet every two weeks. We can't just let these contractors do whatever they want to do. I don't care if the issue is as minor as two trees."
Not everyone was in agreement with not giving the engineer any leeway. Supervisor George Stawnyczyj said he felt certain issues were minor and he didn't see why the engineer needed supervisor approval for some items. As an example he cited some recent requests for changes in Lowe's plans including the location of a curbing, some light standards and some shrubbery, as well as a sign position change.
Chairperson John Wieczorek said as he has in previous meetings that he prefers all changes come before the board.
Stawnyczyj took issue with that as he said, "The arbor-vitae, curbing and moving two lights is minor changes in my opinion. Moving the sign is major. Get out in the world, John and get a construction job. You can't be nickel and diming these people over every little change."
Wieczorek responded to Stawnyczyj's outburst saying, "While that's good advice, George I don't believe these changes are so necessarily cut and dried."
He reminded Stawnyczyj of the problems they had with the Grant building project and contrasted that with the Tractor Supply store.
"The engineer for Tractor Supply was here when we were dealing with the deviations Grant made from the plan so when they began building the store she came to us with her changes no matter what they were," Wieczorek said.
"There was one issue that seemed minor that turned out to be a major issue."
Stawnyczyj said the water tank for the fire protection system was not even on the initial plan, but was added later when they realized it was forgotten. He indicated that he didn't believe it was ever considered a minor issue.
Supervisor Frank Ruch said, "This policy request is too vague. If the engineer approves something he thinks is minor and we subsequently disagree, then we will have a very big problem. "
Most supervisors indicated they would consider such a policy if it is much more specific, but the request in its current form was just too vague. Wieczorek said he would ask Edinger for more specific information for the next meeting.