September 10, 2009
The Jackson Township Supervisors held their regular meeting at 8:09 a.m. at the Jackson Township Municipal Building. Members present were Supervisors Dave Bracken, Bruce Baker and John Wallet as well as Manager Dave Hirko and Solicitor Bill Barbin. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Bruce Baker with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
Board Roll Call was taken with all three Supervisors present.
Executive Sessions Held:
Chairman Baker announced, There was an Executive Session held today from 8:00 to 8:08 am to discuss potential litigation.
Public Comments Concerning Agenda
Other New Business:
Marlin Plymette said, I would like to comment in regards to the continuing issues with George Zearfoss and G.C.I. Construction. I understand that from a previous meeting that the road that he is blocking with his gate is in fact a public road. I understand that if that is the case, he needs to remove that gate immediately. He is blocking access to the fire hydrant that protects our homes and is part of our insurance coverage and so Iím speaking on behalf of myself and my wife who live on Spring Glen Drive and on behalf of Caroling McGraw who is not able to be here this morning but we have been here in the past and brought this issue up. My understanding from a previous discussion is that in 1999 when he filed for the plot plan in order to develop that land that then became a dedicated road to the Township and the residents of Spring Glen Drive who is myself and Mrs. McGraw and he continues to defy taking the gate down. He continues to block our access to the fire hydrant in case of an emergency. . .the Fire Company can not get there. . . the Water Company can not get there. Now, at one point, he was told as long as he didnít lock the gate. . .thatís ok, however, this winter weíre concerned about how the road is going to be plowed. When we bought the property the understanding was that Mr. Zearfoss would keep the road plowed. Last year he reneged on that and didnít plow until we called to complain about it when we had almost two feet of snow on the road. . . we couldnít get out the road. Since itís a public road and we are part owners or at one point the comment was made it is a private road but since we are part owners of that. . either way, we want the gate taken down so we have access to the fire hydrant and so that we can arrange to have the road plowed this winter so that if there is an emergency, the Fire Company can get to the fire hydrant. . .we can get out if we have a doctors appointment, medical things. . . whatever we have to get out for. . it doesnít matter whether itís an emergency or not. We want the gate removed so that road can be cleared. The gate right now is secured by a strap which is used to tie down loads on the one side. . .thatís the side he swivels it on when he opens it. It rests on the ground so if we get snow, that gate can not be opened. My concern is that when that gate is frozen or if we get freezing rain, what will that do to that gate to swivel open in the event of an emergency. On the right side, itís tied by a rubber bungee cord. Again, if we get snow or rain on that and it gets frozen, how is anybody going to open that gate to get down there. . .to get to the fire hydrant? Why canít we try to potentially stop any kind of legal action and potentially stop any kind of problem with it by taking action in advance and informing him that this is not his private road and he can not continue to blockade it. Quite franklin, I think he just wants the property because he still continues to dump illegal waste down there and doesnít anybody to see that. . .he doesnít want us to be able to see that. Iíve got a 100 pictures of the waste he dumped down there when I realized he was starting to do this and quite frankly, itís disgusting and thatís his reason he doesnít want anybody to access it. . . he wants to go down there without anybody knowing about it so since it is a public road. . . I realize in a sense that Jackson Township has to take it over. Solicitor Barbin said, it is not a public road. Itís a private road. Plymette said, I think you said that at the last meeting that because you dedicated it, itís a public road. Barbin answered, no. . you heard what you wanted to hear. . itís not a public road, itís a private road until we accept it. Itís dedicated for public use. . no question but itís not a public road. Chairman Baker said, itís dedicated for public use. Barbin said, I donít disagree with that itís dedicated for public use but itís still a private road until the Township accepts it. Plymette added, and as long as itís brought up to certain standards. Barbin said, and as long as itís not accepted, the Township doesnít have jurisdiction but you have private rights. I donít have a right to drive on that road right now because the Township has not accepted it because you bought a lot in a plan of lots. You have a right to go down to that fire hydrant. You have a right to have your agents and authorized people like the Fire Company go down there and access the fire hydrant because you purchased a lot in a plan of lots which gives you a right to use all of the dedicated public features but theyíre not open till the general public until theyíre accepted. A dedication is an offer and a contract takes an offer and acceptance and he made an offer but we havenít accepted it yet. He would have needed to meet conditions prior to our acceptance but he made an offer to you and you accepted it when you bought that lot. . . .you accepted his offer on the subdivision plan. Plymette said, I guess what Iím asking is can you send him a letter reminding him of the fact that he dedicated this road for public use? . . that itís not his private road. . he can not blockade it. He has ignored the Water Companyís request to do so they can access the hydrant for flushing and so on. That letter was sent some time ago and he was given 10 days from the Water Company Meeting to do that and he refuses to do anything and I was hoping we could get this settled without going to suit or getting to that point . . .that something could come from you folks. Barbin said, this comes down to George Zearfoss is interfering with the rights you were entitled to when you bought a lot there. . the right to use the road, the right to have him finish the road, the right to access the hydrant. . . .thatís interference of private property rights and an injunction could be filed by the Court. I can point out the issues and the way you accept a road is when itís brought up to standard. Plymette said, one of the things we discussed was that because itís a private road we would do what we need to do to bring it up to standard because that was one of our requests. . to send a Roadmaster out to investigate and see what would be required to do that and give us an estimate of what it would cost to do that but since then, George refuses to do that and he has intentionally damaged the road. Barbin said, there is the possibility that this could be obstructing a public right-of-way which would be a criminal offense addressed in the Crimes Code. Plymette said, I understand the difference between a public right-of-way and a public road. . . we were just looking for a way to solve this. Having the gate there could cause a delay of time in the event of an emergency. . .if they have to stop and open that gate or whatever. Our concern is this winter. . when that gate is there. . .if the snow is piled in front of it, noone will be able to open it. Baker said, well. . .weíre look to get PennDOT to move that appointment up to get down there and look at the road and a cost estimate to see if we can go that way.
Chairman Baker announced, The Board of Supervisors next scheduled meeting will be held on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Jackson Township Municipal Building.
Motion Bracken, second Wallet to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 a.m. Vote-3 yes.
David M. Hirko, Secretary