The Dovin family presented their concerns about the removal of their tree to address rain runoff to the Caernarvon Township Board of Supervisors at the May 12 meeting.
The Caernarvon Township family objects against tree removal on their property and argues that the source of rain runoff issue is bigger than a tree.
At the end of March, the Dovin family received a letter from Township Engineer William Witman. The letter stated that their tree is “clearly within the right-of-way” and “given its placement at the point of curvature in the roadway,” it forces rain runoff into the roadway and creates hazardous conditions.
Paul, Jean and Deborah Dovin objected to the letter and stated their case May 12 during the meeting. Deborah Dovin spoke on the family’s behalf, presenting images, maps and an inspection report from a DH Enterprises engineer.
“The issue is bigger than the tree,” said Dovin. “We have a severe water runoff issue from the [Hopewell] church. The core problem is not being addressed. The core problem is we have all this undetained water gushing off the church property, and a berm wall across from the church property was created and is blocking the natural flow.”
According to Dovin, the runoff begins at Hopewell Church, where more than five acres worth of water are undetained, with a neighboring four acres worth of water being pushed into a small detention basin that is damaged and not properly functioning.
According to a report from DH Enterprises engineer Michael Hartman, as presented by Dovin, the berm built by the owner of a neighboring farm is keeping the runoff from flowing onto his farm and directing it farther down the road onto the Dovin property, where the tree is located.
According to Dovin, the water gushes across Hopewell Road, which she stated creates more of a safety hazard.
“That should never have happened,” she said. “Something needs to be done by the township to deal with the issue right there.”
Township Supervisor Scott Moyer addressed Dovin, stating that because he hasn’t had an opportunity to review the report, he cannot address the issue thoroughly.
Vice Chairman Paul Whiteman, Jr. still relayed necessity for the tree to be removed.
“The main reason we picked this tree is because our road got damaged because we couldn’t finish our swale,” he said. “What happened was it got to the area of the tree, and it bumped down into the roadway. When winter set in, and the road froze, it popped the road.”
Dovin rebutted, stating that the source of the problem begins at the church and “it shouldn’t even be getting that far down.”
Dovin also stated that because the berm built by a neighboring resident is in the right-of-way, the township could remove it, or parts of it, at any time they choose.
Jean Dovin, one of the property owners, interjected.
“The berm is diverting the water onto our property,” she said. “It is a very serious problem. My husband can’t even go out with the tractor it’s so waterlogged. When he goes out with the tractor and gets stuck, he has to pay people to pull him out. We cannot enjoy the property. They’ve ruined it.”
Chairman Allen Styer said, “We’re going to look at it and see what we can do as far as handling the water. I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s property either.”
The board agreed to review the information presented to them by the Dovin family and look into the issue further.
In other news, effective April 28, Caernarvon Township has established a policy that requires any parent, employee or volunteer attending an event within the township, and that is expected to be in contact with children, to provide clearances that are consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
These clearances include the Pennsylvania State Police criminal history check, the Pennsylvania child abuse clearance and an FBI criminal check.
The township has enacted this policy in an effort to keep their children safe, and all those affected must be in compliance by July 1.
A memo stating the details of this policy can be found on the township’s website.
The next Caernarvon Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the township administration building.