Bald Eagle Township considers consolidation of two zoning posts

MILL HALL — Bald Eagle Township does not have a zoning officer, and the township supervisors would like to hire one.

Rob Getz has a new job and has resigned from the position.

The zoning officer basically issues permits.

If complaints come in, they go to a different officer, the zoning enforcement officer, who investigates and reports back to the supervisors.

That position isn’t filled right now, either.

At their most recent meeting, the supervisors discussed combining zoning and enforcement into one job, as many other townships do.

Supervisor Chair Gerard L. Banfill also said, “We need to look at all permits, all fees, to get us up to this century, not 1960.”

Another position open right now is emergency management coordinator.

The township put a number of pieces of equipment up for sale — a roller, power broom, an old lawn tractor that does not work, a lawn-tractor trailer, and a loader.

It also bought a new tractor. The offer from Bradco Supply was the only one received, and it was accepted. Bradco Supply offered the same tractor the township had been renting for the past two months, for $90,000. Bradco also waived the rental fees. The new tractor comes with a 90-day warranty on the power train and a warranty on the mower until July 1.

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. has been providing fill dirt to First Quality’s Lock Haven site, where the local industry plans to build a new building. One of Hawbaker’s dig sites was on Keystone Central Drive, behind Central Mountain High School. A near-constant stream of trucks went back and forth on Keystone Central Drive, and the supervisors believe it is time to address the state of that roadway.

Banfill has met with Hawbaker representatives, and the supervisors should soon see a written plan to take care of the road. He believes the road will be repaired in two steps, because the weather is turning and everything probably can’t be done this year. Immediate problems will be taken care of this fall, he said, and then in the spring, a few areas of roadway will be overlaid.

The supervisors also awarded bids for road stone to Hanson Aggregate, the apparent low bidder. Hawbaker was the other bidder.

Ernie Emel brought up problems with groundwater on his Plunketts Run property. The township reportedly did some work this past spring to help alleviate it, but Banfill said the state Department of Environmental Protection has since told the municipality to stay out of the stream.

“If we put a machine in the creek right now, they are going to come out and fine us,” he said.

He encouraged the neighborhood to get together on a potential solution, as a grant might possibly be available to fund improvements.

The township has seen a multitude of groundwater problems this year, the supervisors noted.

The supervisors seemed willing to work with Dave Campbell who has multiple properties and has chosen a U-shaped one with a pond to become a sanctuary. The township is expected to abandon 900 feet of Campbell Road, from the sanctuary entrance to where the road ends, so that the sanctuary section becomes a private road. And Campbell is expected to grant the right-of-way for a turn-around outside the sanctuary entrance.

The township was complimented for berm work along Dry Run Road and reminded that a small bridge on that road can be dangerous in the fog. A 10-foot drop into the creek is less than two feet from the roadway, a resident said.

The supervisors said they are aware of the situation and want to install reflectors to help drivers stay on the road.

After a closed-door session on personnel, the supervisors promoted Corey Houtz from seasonal employee to township/sewer authority employee and given a pay raise of 50 cents per hour. His duties will be split between the township and the sewer authority.

Zoning hearing board members will continue to receive $20 per person for each meeting with minutes.

The supervisors also agreed that township planning commission members be paid $20 per documented meeting, which is something new.

They also reported that the township’s pension plan is solid, and the township does not have to put any general fund dollars toward it this year.

All of these actions took place during the same meeting when the supervisors accepted an additional liquor license in the community. Sheetz convenience store on Hogan Boulevard proposes to install a “Beer Cave” and sell alcohol. With this in mind, the corporation purchased an inactive liquor license from another Clinton County municipality, then applied for the supervisors’ permission to move it into Bald Eagle Township.

The supervisors held a hearing on the matter in August, and reportedly went into a closed-door session during that hearing. The reason for the executive session was not made clear when The Express first inquired about it. Banfill has since clarified it. He said the supervisors discussed a legal issue that, if not taken care of properly, could have resulted in a case against the township.

One of the sticky points of law was that Sheetz had applied to bring the liquor license into the township at a time when there was only one seated supervisor and the township could not respond within the allotted time frame of 45 days.

Banfill also said he does not believe there will be a legal suit now.