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Two Washington Twp. Appeals Head to Court
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner

            Two separate legal decisions recently rendered in Washington Township have been appealed to Berks County Court of Common Pleas. 

            On Thursday night, Washington Township Solicitor Joan London informed the township's board of supervisors that the township zoning board reaffirmed its approval, with conditions, to permit Diamond Disposal, a trash hauling business, to park its trash trucks on a 7-acre site it owns along Old Route 100. 

            Previously, Tom Palmer, a property owner near the trash hauling business, appealed the first zoning board decision to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.  The Common Pleas Court remanded the original decision back to the zoning board, requiring the township zoning board take another look at its decision that originally approved the trash hauling operation at the site.

            Since the zoning board reaffirmed its original decision, Palmer has appealed the zoning board decision to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas again.  It is expected arguments will be heard concerning the zoning board decision on December 21st. 

            In another legal matter, Shadeland Developers/Kelly Builders Group appealed the board's denial of its conditional use application to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.  The developer proposes to construct a clubhouse on 168 acres it owns along Kutztown and Schwenkenfelder roads in the township.  The clubhouse would be for the use of residents of a proposed housing development. 

            However, no formal plans for a housing development have been submitted to the township for the property.  As a result, the board denied the conditional use application.  Legal arguments are expected to be heard within a few months. 

            In other matters, Eric Westrich, a representative from the Boyertown Soccer Club, held a discussion with the supervisors concerning advertising signs at the township's JK Memorial Field. The soccer club leases the facility from the township. 

            Washington Township and the club have a contract for the use of the field.  The soccer club uses the money it earns from advertising signs to maintain the soccer field.  Westrich noted that the JK Memorial Field is an expensive field for upkeep.  Its maintenance costs are double any of the other fields the soccer club uses.  He added the advertising money is dedicated solely for the maintenance of JK Memorial Field.

            The supervisors would like some of the revenue the soccer club collects from the advertising signs to be dedicated to the township recreation committee because, as Township Chairman Dave Moyer claimed, the soccer club's use of the facility precludes many other activities. 

"The township residents own the field but have very little use of it," Moyer said.

            Supervisor Tom Powanda agreed with Moyer. 

            The supervisors suggested some financial assistance from advertising at the field might benefit the entire township through the recreation committee. 

Westrich noted the soccer club has had "phenomenal feedback from the community."  He agreed to discuss the matter further with the soccer club board. 

            Washington Township does not expect to receive any federal or state assistance from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage to public property as a result of Tropical Storm Isaias.  Neither PEMA nor FEMA will release any funds to the township.  Washington Township incurred expenses for clean-up, including road repairs, of approximately $40,000. 

            Currently, the township has had no response from PennDOT concerning the mitigation of flooding problems along Ehst Road and Route 100.  The board discussed possible changes, for safety reasons, to Barto Road and Old Route 100.  Additionally, the supervisors discussed making Ehst Road one way on the south side of Route 100. 

            The supervisors agreed to advertise the township's 2021 budget of approximately $4,150,000.  That sum includes the township sewer fund.  There are no new taxes, no increase in taxes, no increase in real property millage, and no sewer service fee increase in the 2021 budget.  Once the proposed budget is advertised, it will be available for public comment.  It is expected the 2021 budget will be adopted by the end of December 2020. 

            Moyer spoke for the board when he wished all township residents a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

            The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Thursday, December 17 at 7 p.m.  This is one week early due to the Christmas holiday.





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