Loi­ter­ing, lights top Whit­pain Town­ship agenda

The Ambler Gazette - - POLICEREPORTS - By Linda Finarelli

“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.”

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