by Betsy Wallace
Twenty-three Springfield Township residents attended the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners monthly public workshop meeting held on Monday, Dec. 9. Here’s a snapshot of the issues that were discussed:
Township Police shooting range noise – Wissahickon and Stenton Avenues
BOC representatives, the Township Police and the Township Manager, Mike Taylor, met with Erdenheim Farms to brainstorm ideas for addressing the noise problem. All agreed that at $7,000, hiring a sound engineer would be too costly. Possible solutions discussed included moving the practice area for the loudest guns (Mach 3s) to a different location and installing a soundproofing roof. The township is researching how other communities handled similar police shooting range noise problems. Erdenheim Farms is willing to make a financial contribution toward dealing with noise abatement.
Intercounty girls’ softball team
For the last year, the township has supported both the Little League and the Intercounty Girls’ Softball League. The Parks and Recreation Committee recently voted to end its support of the ICGSL without reviewing the program. The parent and volunteer coaches voiced concerns about the decision to terminate program support. Eddie Graham, the Commissioner designee for the Parks and Recreation committee, arranged a meeting of all stakeholders for Wednesday, Dec. 11 at noon. Taylor will ask the Parks and Recreation director to start online registration for the ICGSL, which is due to begin this Sunday, Dec. 15.
Resident petition proposing joint purchase of 380 Haws Ln. by township and school district
The 4.7-acre vacant lot at 380 Haws Ln., which is adjacent to the township’s school campus, is zoned for institutional buildings. In September, a prospective buyer/developer abandoned plans to build a 100-unit apartment complex there when the Zoning Board rescinded its grant of a zoning variance in the face of opposition by 800 residents and the Township BOC.
Residents Paul Depolo and Katie Carruthers presented a new petition of 339 signatures asking the BOC and school district to buy the land for the township/school district’s use. Possible uses include an open green space, an open learning area for students or an environmental center. Prior to the November elections, the school board’s Property Management Committee had no interest in purchasing the property. The new school board may think differently, however. The BOC has communicated to the school board its willingness to provide incentives for the school district’s purchase of the property. The BOC could consider a joint purchase with the school district only if the township could also use the land for its benefit. The residents have a meeting scheduled with the school board in the near future. The BOC will write a letter of support regarding the school district’s purchase of the land in advance of that meeting.
• Trumbauer Road: Residents complained about parking congestion on both sides of the road. Police recommended that the “Parking Permit” signs on north side of Trumbauer Road be replaced with “No Parking” signs.
• Patton, Carlisle and Farrell Roads: Residents requested that the roads become one way. The traffic safety officer recommended that the BOC decline the request.
• Oreland Mill Road: Residents complained about speeding. The traffic study recommended increased enforcement of the speed limit.
Engineer’s report: stormwater runoff at 417-419 Haws Ln.
Mark Eisold, Township Engineer, presented the BOC with various options to address the excess stormwater runoff onto 417-419 Haws Ln. in response to residents’ complaints. The repair costs ranged from $12,000 (build up driveway approaches and grade the edges to prevent water from flowing onto the properties) to $42,500 (installing raised sidewalks). Eisold recommended that the township consider building up the driveway approaches as the most efficient and cost-effective way to address the problem. The township will evaluate the need for storm drains on the west side of Haws Lane next year.
Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership
The Township will extend its participation in the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership. The group consists of 14 municipalities and some wastewater management plants in Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties that works to protect the watershed by addressing the causes of the impaired water flowing from the Wissahickon Creek. The township joined the partnership in 2016. All municipal and other partners make contributions to the partnership – the township’s financial responsibility is about $25,000.
Budget meeting schedule for 2020
The BOC will vote on the 2020 budget at its Business Meeting on Dec. 11. There will be no increase in taxes, but there will be an increase in the yearly Trash Fee of $9.10 (from $214 to $223/year).
Yard waste program update
The township is waiting for approval of its year-round yard waste program by the PA Department of Environmental Protection. The township wants to start the new program with a kickoff educational campaign in early 2020.
Police body cameras
The police department is receptive to the idea of police body cameras. They will investigate grand funding and inclusion of body cameras in their 2021 budget.
Environmental Advisory Commission
Township resident and former EAC member Joy Bergey will fill the vacancy in the commission created by the resignation of a full member in November.
Township residents can listen to the audiotape of the entire workshop meeting – just contact Mike Taylor, Township Manager, at 215-836-7600. Check the township website for all public meeting agendas, minutes and video recordings of the township business meetings.