Paul Montemuro, chairman of the Penn Forest Township board of supervisors, made it a point last night to thank everyone who took part in getting the township back up and running after superstorm Sandy.
The hurricane, which ripped through the area last Monday, tore down trees, power lines and poles, and left a large number of people in Carbon County and the surrounding counties with widespread power outages.
"I really wanted to thank PPL for getting the job done. The crews that came through this area were from out of state and they did an amazing job," said Montemuro.
"But I especially want to thank Penn Forest 1 and 2 volunteer fire companies for all that they did. Both companies opened up shelters for anyone who needed them. They gave them hot food, heat, bottled water and if they needed it, a place to sleep. And it wasn't just the firefighters; township residents came by and helped cook meals. It was wonderful."
Montemuro said that the township had received a letter from PPL, which contained a warning that under no circumstances should anyone touch a tree that is leaning or touching wires.
Montemuro made a suggestion to residents that in the future, should they encounter any issues with PPL utility poles that, if it is safe, they should get the two numbers that are found on metal tags on the poles.
"With these two numbers it makes it very easy for PPL to locate the problem and it cuts down the time it takes to make the repair."
The issue of the Navitat zip line project came up during public comment. Last week the planning commission held a meeting to review the application and the engineering comments, but due to the number of residents who addressed the commission during the public session, the commission never got to conduct its business of reviewing the application.
"There is currently an engineering review letter in Navitat's hands with about 30 items that they need to address," township solicitor Gregory Mousseau said. "We never got to that point."
Mousseau explained that it is the job of the planning commission to hear the discussion between the township engineer and the applicant. Both Montemuro and Mousseau encouraged anyone interested in better understanding the situation and what will be required of Navitat, get copies of the planning guide and the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO,) or stop by and review a copy at the township building.
Supervisor Christian Fazio made a point of thanking Penn Forest 1 Vol. Fire Company for "opening their doors for the meeting and for providing traffic control." She also wanted to thank Jim Thorpe National Bank for allowing the use of its parking lot for the meeting as well.
William Miller, a resident of Bear View development, addressed the board on the matter.
"They (Navitat) said that their study said that the traffic on Bear Creek Drive would increase 10.5 percent," said Miller. "My calculations put it more like 43 percent. If they are only willing to contribute 10.5 percent, who will foot the difference, the township?"
"No," Montemuro said in response, "we can't; it's a private road. That is what the planning commission is there for (to get answers to those questions)."
Supervisor Alan Katz, who attended the meeting via conference call, weighed in.
"Any company that's coming in and bringing in extra traffic on that road is in fairyland if they think they can do that."
The next planning commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 26. At this time Navitat is not on the agenda. Anyone interested in attending the planning commission meetings regarding Navitat should check with the township after the close of business on Nov. 13, to confirm if Navitat will be on the agenda.
In other business, the township has received four applications for the recreation committee. Anyone interested can fill out an application at the township building. There will be seven members selected for the committee. Three from above the turnpike, three from below the turnpike and one member will represent the Jim Thorpe Area School District. All candidates must submit to a background check.
The amended amusement tax ordinance will be advertised this month and will be submitted for approval next meeting.
There will be a budget workshop held on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.
The township received two letters from DEP dated Oct. 19, regarding fill material and the storage/stockpiling of reclaimed asphalt pavement and construction debris. This was in response to a complaint received by DEP regarding the materials collected from the PennDOT repaving of Route 903, that is being stored across from Bear Lake.
The letter stated that "DEP conducted inspection on Oct. 18, 2012 which found stockpiles of RAP appear to meet the requirements/conditions of PA Industry Wide CoProduct #1. No further action appears warranted by the Waste Management Program of the PA DEP at this time."
The township has received a plan for the traffic lights which will service the slip ramps for the turnpike access on Route 903. The plan would start to be put in place in spring 2013. The plan calls for installing twelve traffic lights in total. Montemuro explained the once the lights are installed they become the property and responsibility of the township.
"We want the best options included in the plans," Montemuro said.
He pointed out the concerns the board has with the area where the lights will be installed, indicating that they will be requesting that the plan include such things as LED lights, flashes so the lights can be seen in the fog, backup power generators and switching so that the lights change automatically for emergency vehicles.
The township building will be closed to the public Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Election Day; however, the lower level will be open for polling.
The building will also be closed Nov. 12, for Veterans Day.