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Quarry Expansion, Zoning Appeal, Police Dominate Marlborough Discussions
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent

            At last week's monthly board meeting, Marlborough supervisors received an update on Perkiomenville Quarry's request to expand areas of operations at its Crusher Road site.

            Solicitor Zachary Sivertsen, filling in for Mark Cappuccio, explained that the quarry is offering to preserve some of the adjoining properties in exchange for township approval of the expansion.

            "It would be a deed restriction for the benefit of the township," said Sivertsen.  "This is a legislative decision that you guys are being asked to make."

            Chairman Billy Hurst attended the last meeting with quarry representatives on the topic. The supervisors directed the solicitor to look into the ramifications of the expansion and the agreement. The supervisors also committed to attending the next meeting.

            The supervisors also discussed a zoning challenge by Halteman Brothers Sumneytown Partners, LP concerning the Sumneytown property that includes the post office.

            In July Marlborough's zoning officer turned down Halteman Brothers' proposal to renovate three apartment spaces in the post office building and to put two more apartments in a reconstructed barn on the property.

            "You can't have more than three dwelling units on the entire property after you do the conversion," said Sivertsen in explaining the reasoning behind the decision. 

            In its appeal letter, Halteman Brothers argued that the proposal is "permitted by right as an expansion of a nonconforming use." If that argument fails the company is requesting a special exception or variance "to permit the additional residential units as proposed."

            The supervisors directed the solicitor to represent them at the appeal hearing to be held via Zoom on October 1.

            The proposal would not affect the post office itself.

            Police department negotiators notified the board that negotiations on a new contract have reached an impasse and they have hired an arbitrator for "issues in dispute."

            This was done to meet the state's deadline under Act 111 and does not necessarily mean there has been a snag in negotiations.

            For its part, the board voted to retain the legal services of Joe Rudolf, of Clark Hill, to help with negotiations.

            Given the resignation of Officer Mark Hopwood, Chief Darren Morgan asked permission to seek applications for a part-time position.

            Morgan sees the position as a fill-in to meet the department's patrol needs when the other part-time officers are not available.

            Supervisor Brian Doremus pushed back on the request despite Morgan assuring the board that he would stay within budget.

            "I'm thinking we hold tight on this," Doremus said, "until we get through our contract negotiations."

            "As I've always done, I'll be operating within my budget. I'm not asking for any additional money or hours," Morgan said.

            Hurst and Bill Jacobs Jacobs were persuaded by Morgan's arguments and Doremus was outvoted 2-1.

            Morgan urged the community to visit the Marlborough Police Department's Facebook page and find the link to "Montco Pikes". Montgomery County is looking for help in identifying "key issues or problems along the Montco Pikes" which include Sumneytown and Geryville pikes.

            The draft sewer ordinance, which Marlborough has been trying to align with Green Lane Borough's ordinance, is getting closer to approval.

            "The (Green Lane Marlborough Joint Sewer) Authority has requested that the board move the proposed ordinance that we drafted forward for professional review so that hopefully we can authorize advertisement," said Sivertsen.

            The board did just that in a 3-0 vote.

            According to Sivertsen, the borough is happy to let the township and the authority take the lead in drafting the ordinance.  

            In a related matter, the joint sewer authority is moving closer to acquiring the Candle- wyck sewer plant. The township's sewer plan needs to be amended and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approval must be obtained.

            "It's a minor revision to our existing plan," noted Doremus.

            The supervisors voted unanimously to move the proposal to professional review.

            In road news, Public Works Director Jake Ferguson noted that the Reihman Road bridge is a "little worse" but still usable.

            Swamp Creek Road, which is PennDOT's responsibility, remains impassable. Hurst reported that Price Road has been worked on but it has not been paved. PennDOT has started topping Weitz Mill Road.

            The board voted 3-0 to authorize the purchase of a 2021 model F-350 replacement pick-up for the Public Works Department.

           At the beginning of the meeting, resident Joann Moyer questioned the supervisors about Doremus electing to participate in the township's healthcare plan, a perk allowed through an ordinance approved in 2019.

            Moyer questioned how the board was going to pay for the coverage, but Secretary/Treasurer Marybeth Cody replied that the healthcare money had been budgeted for.

            Since healthcare is labeled as "compensation" in the ordinance, Moyer wanted to know whether the $1,875 stipend paid to the supervisor would now go toward Doremus' healthcare.

           The answer from Sivertsen was no.

            The board held executive sessions on Sept. 3 and 9 to deal with personnel issues.

            The next board meeting is Wednesday, October 14 at 7 p.m.





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