Loitering, lights top Whitpain Township agenda
“Loitering” is poised to take on an expanded meaning in Whitpain Township.
The board of supervisors approved a motion Sept. 4 to advertise an ordinance adding a new section on “loitering” to the township’s code on disturbing the peace that will “make it unlawful for any person to loiter within the limits of the township,” according to a handout at the meeting.
The idea is to “modernize” the ordinance, police Chief Mark Smith said after the meeting. The current ordinance does not deal with shopping centers and bus stops, he said.
“We’ve had a few minor incidents … we want to keep kids from hanging out,” Smith said.
The board also voted to approve a number of measures involving a tax appeal, traffic lights and outdoor seating at Phil’s Tavern.
A settlement regarding a tax appeal by an office building at 925 Harvest Drive was approved in which the township will refund or credit $13,600 for property taxes paid from 2007 through 2010, according to Township Manager Roman Pronczak. The school district was hit harder, he said, noting it will have to refund about $94,000.
The board agreed to install and maintain a traffic light at Morris Road and the entrance to Montgomery County Community College, which is a safety issue, Pronczak said. The driveway is “used fairly heavily, and all bus traffic comes in that way,” he said. In the mornings, there is a lot of traffic on Morris Road and “not a lot of gaps,” for cars to enter the road.
A motion to have McMahon Associates provide engineering for pedestrian upgrades and revisions to the light at Stenton, Norristown and Narcissa at a cost not to exceed $5,050 was also approved.
As part of its land development, Wings Field agreed to extend sidewalks to Skippack Pike and the light has to be adjusted and ADA curb ramps put in to allow for pedestrian crossings at that intersection, Pronczak said.
A request by Phil’s Tavern was also approved that will permit the eatery at 931 Butler Pike to construct a 15-by-35- foot outdoor patio and associated parking lot improvements. The patio will take away eight parking spaces and it was noted that Phil’s already has an agreement to permit parking across the street, and should it lose that parking, it would have to reduce the tavern’s footprint proportionally.
In other business, resident Elizabeth Armento, whose property abuts the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension expansion, complained about trees being removed from a buffer area and plans for a sound wall that would not withstand an accident. Referring to what she described as a fiery, fatal accident in December 2011 in which a tractortrailer struck a vehicle, Armento said she wanted a wall that would prevent a tractor-trailer from coming off the turnpike onto her property.
Pronczak said the project will make the roadway safer by adding a lane and shoulders and electronic message boards, but that the noise walls are not designed or intended to protect from a tractor-trailer.
Board Chairman Joseph Palmer explained the township has no control over the design and engineering of the turnpike project, but that it has been able to sit down with representatives of the turnpike and construction company performing the work to “make our case,” regarding con- cerns.
“All we can do is get your arguments in front of Walsh [Construction] and the Turnpike Commission,” Palmer said. “We don’t have the power to tell them what to do.”