The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)
Police officers promoted; new hire recognized
UPPER GWYNEDD >> The Upper Gwynedd Police Department now officially has a new second-incommand, a new member of the force, and a new sergeant.
Longtime Sgt. Ted Caiola was formally promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief during a township police promotion ceremony on July 22, marking the start of a six-month training period alongside his outgoing predecessor.
An Upper Gwynedd native who joined the department as a patrol officer in 1999, Caiola was promoted to detective in 2002, to
patrol sergeant in 2008, the detective sergeant in 2013. In February the township commissioners voted to promote Caiola to Deputy Chief effective July 1, to allow for a training period alongside current Deputy Chief David Poirier, who will retire at the end of 2019.
During the July 22 ceremony, the department also recognized the promotion of longtime Officer Ray Royds to the rank of Sergeant, and formally swore in newly hired Officer Ryan Sloan. In a subsequent Facebook post, the department thanked District Judge Suzan Leonard, ceremony emcee Bob Coleman, members of the township’s Civil Service Commission, township staff, and representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department who attended.
‘Battle of the Badges’ blood drive: Upper Gwynedd’s police and volunteer fire company are both taking part in a friendly ‘Battle of the Badges’ running through Friday, Aug. 9.
On that day, the fire company will host a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their firehouse, 660 Garfield Avenue, and those who donate will be asked to vote for either the police or fire department. The winner will receive bragging rights, and those who donate can receive t-shirts, vouchers for a free coffee and doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts, free Amazon.com gift cards, and a ride to school in the police department’s D.A.R.E. car.
Those interested in donating can register online at www.RedCrossBlood. org and enter sponsor code “Upper Gwynedd Battle” or call 1-(800)-REDCROSS.
Hancock Road detour
The commissioners voted unanimously on July 22 to approve a detour plan for upcoming roadwork on Hancock Road, on the township’s border with North Wales Borough.
The detour will be necessary due to planned work on the utility lines below the roadway for the nearby “Newbury Two” development, and a detailed schedule will be announced once final approvals are secured from PennDOT, according to Township Manager Sandra Brookley Zadel.
“They’re trying to connect the sewer pipe, and that pipe is 18 feet deep, it’s extra deep pipe for some reason, and it’s also right in the middle of the road,” said Zadell.
“There’s no way for them to do that work, and flag around it, since it’s right in the middle of the road and it’s so deep,” she said.
The planned detour route would take traffic up and down Walnut Street to either Welsh Road or Tenth Street in the borough, then north-south on E. Prospect Ave. around the portion of Hancock that would be closed between Walnut and Prospect, according to the detour map approved by the commissioners. The closure will likely be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for roughly a week, according to Zadell, who said the North Penn School District will be notified if the planned schedule could interfere with school bus routes on those roads.
The commissioners also held a public hearing on July 22 to field public comment about their proposed pollutant reduction plan to reduce sediment runoff into stormwater.
The hearing outlined the township’s plans to reduce the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that runs into local stormwater systems, in order to meet increasingly stringent state and federal requirements.
“The township has leveraged a lot of grant funding and partnerships to help fund our TMDL projects that we started in 2013,” Zadell said.
Details of the plan and its associated projects, along with tips for residents to reduce their own stormwater runoff, can all be found on a dedicated “Stormwater management” page on the township’s website.
Events get OK
The commissioners also voted unanimously to approve several upcoming events.
The second annual “Wish Them Well” Walk will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sept. 22, on the grounds of the township’s Parkside Place complex, with the goal of raising funds to assist women in Africa who must walk long distances to obtain clean water.
The 20th annual Laurel House 5K Dash Against Domestic Violence will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Oct. 20, with runners starting and ending at the township complex and proceeding to North Wales Road and Walnut Street, with funds raised to assist local domestic violence shelter Laurel House.
Two contracts were also approved relating to the upcoming Upper Gwynedd Township Carnival, scheduled for Sept. 6-7: one is an update to the prior contact with ride operator Skelly’s Amusements and a second is an agreement with Merck allowing visitor parking on Merck properties during those nights. Details on all are included in the board’s meeting materials packet for July 22.
Rental code update
Staff are currently working on an update to the township’s codebook, which could modernize and clarify language relating to short-term rentals.
The update is needed in light of recent decisions by the state’s Supreme Court, and planning and zoning officer Van Rieker and Solicitor David Onorato said they both recommend the board proceed with updating the township’s rules and regulations.
“It’s recommended that we have more than just a reliance on a court decision, that we actually be more proactive on where they would be allowed, short term rentals, and where they wouldn’t be allowed,” Rieker said.
Those rentals are currently allowed within the township, not within the single-family residential zoning district, Rieker and Onorato said, but currently within the transit overlay and business professional district.
“We’re making a policy decision that they’re allowed in the township, but only in certain places,” Onorato said. The board voted unanimously on July 22 to advertise a public hearing on the rental code update, to be heard during the board’s Aug. 26 meeting.