Holahan Objects to Kalahari Employee on EDA, Proposal to Increase Time for Zoning Permits Tabled
POCONO PINES – At their work session on January 19, the Tobyhanna Supervisors found themselves revisiting a couple of appointments they had made at their reorganization just two weeks earlier.
During the report on the Economic Development Authority, Supervisor John Holahan questioned Supervisor Brendon Carroll about Daryl Morris, placed on the EDA earlier in January. At the time of the reorganization, Carroll suggested Morris for the spot and when asked if there were any other applicants, Carroll said there were not.
At the January 19 meeting, Holahan again asked about Morris. Carroll said that Morris lived in Pinecrest, was a member of the golf club there, and had “some hospitality management experience”. After more questioning, it came out that Morris is the General Manager of Kalahari. Holahan said, “we’ve got a problem.”
Holahan thought there was a conflict of interest placing a Kalahari representative on the development agency. Carroll said he liked the idea of “someone with skin in the game having a seat at the table.”
When asked directly if the nominating committee had recommended Morris, Carroll said “no”. From the discussion, it was unclear if Morris had even applied for the post. The solicitor told the board that they couldn’t remove Morris. No action was taken.
The second item was the voting delegate to the PSATs annual meeting. At the reorganization meeting, Holahan was designated as the voting delegate for the state township supervisors convention. Holahan decided that he would not be attending, so someone else was needed. Supervisor Dave Carbone volunteered.
In other business, the township solicitor was authorized to represent the township in the appeal of Kamal Trucking, Long Pond, from a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board declining their request for a variance.
Bob Bartal, township manager, reported that septic applications in December 2020 were up substantially over the previous December, with 15 having been received in 2020 versus only 4 in December 2019. Similarly, he reported 26 zoning permits last month, as compared to 17 in December 2019.
Carroll gave the regional police report, noting that the township’s hours used were virtually exactly what they had committed to using, thanks to the extra hours they purchased when Mount Pocono reduced its police coverage.
A proposed amendment of the zoning ordinance to enlarge the time for the township to act on a zoning permit application was again discussed. Currently, the period is seven days. State law allows up to 30 days but permits municipalities to adopt a shorter period.
At the end of last year, the supervisors proposed increasing the time to 15 days. The Planning Commission sent that back with a recommendation to make it ten days and to fine Bureau Veritas, which is handling the applications if they fail to complete the work within the time.
The solicitor opined that Bureau Veritas would never agree to such a short time frame nor to financial liability. He also reminded the supervisors that the rule would apply to all zoning permit applications, those which take very little time to process, as well as the more complex.
Staff members detailed the steps that a permit application goes through to be processed. The solicitor also noted that, if they accepted the Planning Commission recommendation, they would need to revise the proposed ordinance and re-submit it to the county and township commissions.
After extended discussion, the proposal was tabled.
The proposed lease and professional services agreement under which Bureau Veritas would provide zoning officer services to the township was approved. Tom McKeown’s proposals to conduct appraisals of the Pocono Summit Properties for $16,500 in connection with the Route 380 project was tabled.
Bartal asked that the supervisors amend the ordinances to permit him or his designee to issue certain administrative permits, such as yard sales, to avoid the time and expense of sending them through the regular process. After an extended evaluation, the proposal was approved.
Changes to the official zoning map, to correct errors and make adjustments, was again the subject of discussion. Holahan noted that the correction process was already over two years old. Last month, the supervisors suggested that the new members of the planning commission come in to review the maps since they were not part of the process originally. The commission objected and asked that the information be provided to the entire commission simultaneously. The supervisors tabled any action and will try to set up meetings with the planning commission to review the map and the various issues.
The supervisors approved bills in the amount of $669,888.87.
The next meeting of the supervisors was to be Monday, February 1, at 6pm, but was canceled due to the snow storm. Rescheduling information will be on the township website at tobyhannatownshippa.gov.