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Antis Township conducts routine business

Aside from major bid openings, the Antis Township Board of Supervisors yesterday discussed numerous items of routine business.
The public comment portion of the regularly scheduled meeting was highlighted with discussion concerning the safety of the new playground material scheduled to be placed in the Bellwood-Antis park this summer.
According to Ray Amato, chairman of the park and rec committee, the multi-gym that will be placed in the park is constructed with steal and is covered with plastic and rubber to lessen the risk of injury to children.
A concerned resident questioned Amato about the type of fencing that will surround the playground area and also inquired about the woodchips that the equipment will rest on.
Amato said the committee decided to go away from a wood picket fence for the park, and instead, decided a chain-link fence with a plastic coating would be the best option. Concerning the wood chips, Amato said they will be a hardwood material that has been already tested by the state and approved for use in an area frequented by children.
Questions were also raised concerning Tuesday’s public meeting in regards to the township’s property along the old railroad bed.
Tuesday’s meeting saw more than three dozen concerned residents express their opinion about what the township should do with the property. Many would like to see a Rails-To-Trails project go into the area. Others believe the property should be sold to the property owners who live adjacent to the railroad bed.
The problem with the railroad bed was brought to the supervisors’ attention months ago when a concerned resident approached the board to find out what could be done about the excessive running of all-terrain vehicles in the area.
Last evening, Amato told the public that “No Trespassing” signs were ordered and in the possession of the township; however, they could not be installed until the ground thaws.
Also, resident Bob Himes questioned the board as to when a decision about what the township will do with the property will be made.
“There’s no real big rush to make this decision,” said Chairman supervisor Leo Matuszewski. “I think we are all still debating within ourselves as to what we should do with it.”
Questions were also raised about snow removal following the snow storm on Feb. 16 and 17. Residents said Igou Road and other areas of the township weren’t cleared until well into the evening hours.
Amato explained that only three drivers were able to be out on the road following the storm. Normally, there are five drivers who work feverishly to clear township roads. But according to Amato, one of the men was recovering from illness in the hospital and the other was still waiting for a doctor’s clearance before returning to the cab of a plow.
“Overall, the township is in good shape,” said Amato in his road report to the board. “Sometimes everyone wants everything in one minute. We have more than 40 miles of road to take care of and some areas only have ten miles. Overall, the crew has done a good job throughout the township with plowing and removing ice. This has been an old fashion winter.”
Amato also noted the need for supervisors to look into drafting an ordinance concerning snow removal from sidewalks. He said if the board decided not to overtake this obligation, an ordinance would need to be written explaining the residents are responsible for clearing sidewalks that border their properties.
He also raised questions concerning parking vehicles along roadsides during or following a heavy snowfall. This year, he explained two vehicles were struck by plows.
Supervisors agreed that because the winter season has nearly come to an end, the issue will be looked at in more detail and if ordinances were to be drafted, they would be enforced beginning next winter.
Supervisors agreed with a 4-1 vote to advertise an amendment to the township’s nuisance ordinance. The ordinance explains that junk cars, which are not licensed or not inspected, must be removed from residents’ properties.
According to solicitor Pat Fanelli, each day a residence is not in compliance with the ordinance, they can be fined up to $1,000 and receive a 90-day incarceration sentence.
Vehicles on farms are automatically discluded from the ordinance, as are vehicles that are covered or stored inside buildings. Also, Fanelli said businesses, such as repair garages, are exempt from this ordinance.
The single opposition to the measure was made by supervisor Charles Taylor.
“I think this is an unnecessary infringement on our residents’ rights,” he said.
The supervisors also approved, unanimously, to advertise an amendment detailing the township’s agreement to enter into a Regional Emergency Management Agency.
Both ordinances will be posted at the township building for the public to review and comment on prior to the supervisors formally adopting the documents.
The supervisors agreed to authorize Matuszewski to sign an application and release a $100 filling fee for a NPEDS Phase II MS4 permit application.
According to Matuszewski, the state Department of Environmental Protection has set a new procedure concerning storm water management. He said DEP is requiring anyone who wants to install a pipe in the ground must apply for a permit to do so.
The document Matuszewski will file will ask DEP to waive this requirement in Antis Township because the population is less than 6,000.
In other business, the supervisors:
•approved releasing $17,000 of budgeted funds for the Bellwood-Antis Park and Recreation Authority. Amato noted that Bellwood Borough has recently increased its allotment to the authority from $10,500 to $14,500.
•approved a resolution that supports The International bike race and permits the inclusion of Kerbaugh Road, Becker Road, Moser Road and Riggles Gap Road in the route of the event. Amato noted the township will sweep these roads and remove all anti-skid for safety purposes.
•agreed on a Sewer Service Agreement between Northern Blair County Regional Sewer Authority and Bellwood Borough. Supervisors voted 4-1, with Ron Gensamer casting the dissenting vote.
•authorized the Bellwood-Antis School District to install “No Parking” signs along Stadium Drive. State police will monitor and ticket violators. Bellwood Borough has no jurisdiction.
•approved using the Lerta program to be used as a tax abatement program for the proposed Furrer Beverage Co. facility. This program is a tax-incentive program used to entice business to locate to these specially designated areas.
Taylor questioned the board as to why the township should lose that tax revenue because the company has already committed to the location. He said other businesses moved into that area without the incentive and this case should be no different.
“This ordinance may not really apply or serve the community in a positive way,” said Taylor. “At one time, the program may have helped bring businesses in, but now I don’t think we need to give incentives to get businesses in.”
•approved releasing $7,000 of already budgeted funding to the Pinecroft Volunteer Fire Co. Amato said company representatives have approached him stating the fire company will request $10,000 in funding in 2004.