Wednesday, February 20, 2019


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Upper Hanover Supervisors Recommend Compromise on Middle School Saturday Work Hours
Written by Candace Perry, Correspondent

            Though the final decision is in the hands of the township zoning hearing board, the Upper Hanover Board of Supervisors is seeking a compromise with the Upper Perkiomen School District on Saturday work hours for the middle school construction project.

            Mark Hosterman, an attorney for the Upper Perkiomen School District, asked the supervisors to consider a variance to the zoning ordinance to allow for work on 15 Saturdays at the supervisors' Tuesday, May 8 meeting. Saturday work is prohibited under the conditions of a previously granted Conditional Use agreement for the building's construction. 

            The goal for opening the new school is the beginning of the 2019 school year next August.  But without the Saturday work, Hosterman said, the school would not open until Christmas break.

            Project manager Zach Zazo said they would like to be "under roof" by this Thanksgiving so weather becomes less of a factor as workers labor inside the building.

            Tensions occasionally ran high as the supervisors, school district representatives, and residents of Montgomery Avenue who are affected by the construction discussed the pros and cons of the weekend work hours.

            The hours are needed, according to construction project officials, to make up for 15 lost days of work due to inclement weather over the winter months, and to offset possible bad weather from now until November.

            Some audience members weren't buying that explanation. LaBrea Huff said that inclement weather was not the factor, but that it was actually the temporary shutdown of construction in December 2017.

            Jim Mazeika of engineering firm Barry Isett and Associates, stated that the project was late getting started, even prior to shut down, but weather created more delays.

            Montgomery Avenue resident Kathy Davidson asked how many bad weather days were factored into the project when the site "was a known wet area."

            She also asked why the completion date wasn't changed when they knew they were already behind.

            Montgomery Avenue residents are objecting to the Saturday hours because of the noise and dust impacting their quality of life.

            Supervisor Dorothy Diehl suggested extending the days of the construction workers during the regular work week, and having ten hour workdays instead of eight. Zazo explained that though it was a possibility, productivity goes down after eight hours and that overtime could become a factor.

            Instead, the Saturday hours would be used as needed, if there was a day of bad weather during the regular work week. The workers would still be working their normal 40 hours.

            The supervisors agreed not to send solicitor Joseph Bresnan to the zoning hearing scheduled for May 16, but instead have him draft a letter recommending the compromise on the Saturday hours if the school district met certain conditions, including no earth moving to keep the dust down, and working within, or very close to, the building's footprint.

            In other news, the supervisors approved the addition of the property of Kendall Reinford at 1425 Hendricks Road into the agricultural security district.

            In sewer and water news, supervisor Ben Fiorito announced that construction on the authority's new garage and lab was completed, and it is now occupied.

            In roads news, supervisors' chairman Gene Fried reported that as of May 7, oil and chip had been completed where needed. Several paving projects are planned for the summer, including a short section of Anders Road, Cindy Lane, Buck Road and Second Street.





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