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Supervisors don’t duck waiver requests


Special to The Press

During their Feb. 8 virtual meeting, Weisenberg Township supervisors addressed a number of land development items, beginning with an agricultural duck operation for 8245 Holbens Valley Road.

Molly Hughes, representing the applicant, and township engineer Stan Wojciechowski noted the project had three waiver requests.

The first was to waive the preliminary approval requirement and proceed as a preliminary/final plan.

The second proposes flat-bottom basins instead of ones with a minimum 1.5-percent grade, and the third was a waiver from the 100-foot separation distance between buildings to basins, per the township stormwater management ordinance.

Township Administrator Brian Carl recommended that the applicant request a waiver from the township’s $2,500 recreation fee.

“This is a little bit unique for us, with the large-scale ag operation,” Carl said.

The board voted to grant all three waivers, waive recreation fees and grant preliminary/final approval for the project.

For the second land development item, the board voted to grant preliminary/final approval and planning model for a minor subdivision at 9162 Gackenbach Road, which Wojciechowski said was seeking to create a new 1.72-acre lot out of an existing 8.3-acre parcel.

Carl said the landowners were looking for a waiver to delay the planting of street trees, as the new land parcel would likely be used for construction of a home.

Supervisor Tony Werley proposed a motion to allow planting of street trees to wait until new home construction begins, which his fellow supervisors accepted.

The board also discussed an ordinance regarding stop signs along Kecks and Klines Mill roads, which had been tabled for discussion at a previous meeting.

Carl said township staff had met with residents who had earlier expressed concerns about the steep road grade at the proposed four-way stop on Klines Mill Road.

Two existing stop signs on Klines Mill Road would remain, while a new stop sign would be added to southbound Kecks Road, heading toward Route 863.

Solicitor Peter Lehr said the new arrangement would meet all PennDOT requirements, with no need to advertise the ordinance again.

Supervisors approved the three-way stop, and resident Winona Schappell thanked the township for meeting with residents, hearing their concerns and agreeing to a compromise.

The board also approved adoption of a 25 mph speed limit on Herber Road from the Lowhill Township line to Weisenberg Church Road.

Additionally, supervisors had another discussion regarding the property at 3286 Masters Hill Road and its second driveway, which the board had asked to be closed and removed in several previous meetings.

Carl said he recently drove by the property and said a gate or fence, which the board had asked to be erected, was not installed, though he said the property had not been plowed, and a beam had been placed across the driveway.

He also noted that the deadline for the homeowner’s waiver to close the driveway was that evening’s meeting.

Chairwoman Linda Gorgas said the property’s residents were still asking why the gate was not installed.

“What’s the solution here, tonight’s the deadline,” she asked, adding the homeowners had been ill for several weeks, but also reiterating the second driveway issue had been going on for more than a year.

Board members said they would not accept the beam as an adequate mode of closing the driveway.

Gorgas said the board and neighbors had been very patient given the circumstances.

“But, I feel like we’re getting excuse after excuse, after excuse,” Gorgas said.

After continued discussion, the board elected to tell the homeowner a fence or gate must be installed by the board’s March meeting or enforcement action will be taken, which Carl said would be a civil complaint with the magistrate.

In the fire department report, Fire Chief Matt Krapf reported there were 16 calls to date for the year, with 10 in January.

He said most of the department’s members had received their COVID-19 vaccinations, with a few awaiting their second dose in the near future.

Krapf said grant requests had been submitted to purchase a fire hose for the new 5121 Tanker Pumper, as well as three new Berks County radios for vehicles.

He also said the department was moving forward with upgrades to the card access and fire alarm systems, and for the installation of cameras in the station.

Finally, both Krapf and Werley commended the township’s road crew for efforts clearing the roads and removing snow during the recent winter storms.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 8.

PRESS PHOTO BY SARIT LASCHINSKY During their virtual Feb. 8 meeting, Weisenberg supervisors approved a new duck operation proposed for along Holbens Valley Road.