Robeson Township ordinances address high grass & delinquent payments

Ordinances related to high grass and weed management and an ordinance to address delinquent payments were approved by Robeson Township Supervisors.

There have been questions about how the weed and grass ordinance will be enforced in rural areas, Robeson Township Attorney Chris Hartman said. Enforcement will be generally focused on residential lots in developments where the largest lots are close to two acres.

The area around the house is of concern, he said. It is not intended to apply to every parcel in the township. Agricultural land, fields for livestock, wetlands, banks along creeks and woodlands are exempt.

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Township Manager Tom Keim said he has received two calls from concerned residents. He also had a call from a resident who wants to preserve a bamboo thicket.

Bamboo has to be kept under control especially at intersections. If a resident decides to sell the property, the next owner may not care to control the bamboo, said Hartman. Bamboo must be cut from the site triangle along roads and intersections. Bamboo is classified as a noxious weed like thistles and marijuana.

Only a neighbor can enter a complaint about a bamboo growth, said Supervisor Robert Deeds.

A person cannot go around the township looking for bamboo, said Hartman. If it is in the site triangle, it is another subject. If the bamboo exceeds three feet in height in a hazardous place, it must be controlled.

Bamboo is not on an approved list of shrubs suitable for residential planting, said Township Engineer Gary Kraft.

Hartman showed a composite collection of all subdivision rules and ordinances. Some have recently been updated. After a motion was made by Chairman Roger Feeg, approval was granted to the codification process.

Also approved was an ordinance to be included in the codification of ordinances which is directed to neighborhood blight.

The need for the ordinance arose out of concern that if people do not pay bills for services provided by the township, blight would occur because in the long run the township would have less funds to maintain those services, said Hartman, who had studied similar ordinances throughout the state. We would deny permits requested by any resident of Robeson Township who has any outstanding bills due to the township.

Regarding other municipalities, Hartman said, It would create an administrative challenge if we go outside this township to include bills due to other municipalities. There is no uniform system to determine if money is owed in another community.

In other news, monthly reports had been requested from Township departments that provide service.

These departments are part of the infrastructure and we are dependent on them thus it is important to have a monthly activities report, Feeg said.

Reports were available from the waste water treatment plant. The average daily flow to the treatment plant was 121,240 gallons and the monthly flow treated was 3,758,000 gallons. A listing of routine maintenance duties was included in the report.

Three resolutions relevant to listing fees for sewage permits were not adopted at the Jan. 28 meeting.

Building Codes Officer Gary Kraft submitted a report that included information for 13 permits with an improvement value of $193,762. The total permit fees received by Robeson Township ares $4,806.13.

A detailed daily report on activities of the Road Crew for December was presented by Road Master Dave Wicklein, who reported that recently, there had been some complaints about lumps of salt on roads.

Some of it had been stored in Northampton County. Wicklein said he will try to make sure future distributions of salt do not leave lumps on the roads.

Very cold weather has created many problems. So far this winter about 587 tons of salt has been used on township roads. About the same amount of anti-skid material has been used, according to Wicklein.

In other news, two residents living along Evergreen Drive were in attendance with the hope of determining what would be done to speed up the replacement of an antiquated bridge over the Allegheny Creek. Evergreen Drive is off of Route 568. There are five residents affected on the dead end road.

So far, $25,000 has been spent on studying options, said Kraft. There have been reports from three experts on bridge construction involved in the study.

Feeg said, There would be a meeting with the residents who live along Evergreen Drive. The meeting will not be open to the public but is intended to discuss problems with those affected who live along the road.

The time and dates will be set. Two supervisors will be present.

Kraft said, Differences in the approach to the bridge, styles and a route for traffic during construction will be discussed.

We will show pictures of the proposed bridge, said Kraft.

Feeg said, We worked very hard to get the funds to replace the bridge this spring.

There were snickers in the background from some residents. One said they have been haggling about this since 1991.

In other news, Chief of Police Mark T. Phillips said, During December the Robeson Township Police Department responded to 472 incidents. Included were 27 arrests and four juveniles were reprimanded. The value of stolen property was $21,800 and property recovered had a value of $13,100. There were 344 property checks. Fines paid to Robeson Township amounted to $4,200. There were 17 traffic accidents investigated by the police department with two injuries. There were nine criminal investigations and 15 cases were cleared.

For the 2013, year there were 8,199 local complaints sent to the police department. Arrests totaled 576 and the value of stolen property was $153,630. The value of property recovered was $56,500 and the property destroyed was $13, 330. Six vehicles were reported stolen and 126 accidents were investigated. There were 38 injuries in 2013 from traffic accidents. There were 55 written warnings and 6065 property checks. Also there were 18 burglaries, 51 thefts and 20 driving under the influence arrests, reported Phillips.

Also, Friendship Fire Company #1 of Geigertown gave a report of every incident responded to included type of call, date, time and location.

In other news, Wicklein said, Weight limits have been posted on a bridge on Seton Road and the Old River Road Bridge.

Also, Joy Graham has been hired to work with Keim to build and maintain the Robeson Township website.

Time extensions have been granted to Park View Estates, Burkhart subdivision, Gibraltar Estates, Parkside Subdivision, Cedar Hill Estates, Feinsot, Beaver Run subdivision, Gordon Subdivision, Durnall Subdivision and Quaker Ridge.

Kathleen Farrell will serve as recording secretary. Geraldine Sensenig will serve as secretary to the Municipal Authority. Kraft Code Services provides the Codes Enforcement officer. Supervisor Galen Brown is Emergency Management Coordinator. The sewage Enforcement officer is Berks Enviroteck.

The supervisors will meet on the 3rd Tuesday at the Municipal Building, 2689 Main St., Birdsboro at 7 p.m. The Zoning Hearing Board meets on the 4th Thursday at 7 p.m. as needed. The supervisors workshop is held on the Thursday prior to the 3rd Tuesday. The Planning Commission meets on the 1st Monday at 7 p.m.