by Betsy Wallace
At both their Workshop and Business Meetings this month, the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners addressed COVID-related matters and regular Township business. Here are the highlights of both meetings and votes taken at the Business Meeting, where applicable.
The Township’s COVID-19 Return to Work Plan
Using the Governor’s State Reopening Plan as a guide, the Township developed its own “Return to Work” Plan for Township employees and operations in the likely event that the State reopens the region, changing from the strict stay at home order now in place (the red phase) to eased restrictions (yellow phase) and finally to the green back-to-normal phase. The entire Return to Work Plan is available on the Township’s Website under COVID 19 Resources: https://www.springfieldmontco.org/media/2333/covid19-return-to-work-plan-final-_20200512.pdf
Currently, all Township facilities, including the Township’s Administration Building, the Free Library of Springfield Township, and all municipal playgrounds, remain closed under the “red phase” of the State’s Reopening Plan. All non-essential township employees are working remotely and continue to monitor and respond to all emails and telephone message during normal business hours.
The red phase of the Township’s Return to Work Plan directs that all Township employees wear masks and follow social distancing rules outside of their private offices. All those returning to work (Police & Public Works, Building and Zoning, Permits and Inspections) will be required to conduct daily self-administered temperature checks.
With the easing of restrictions under the State’s and Township’s yellow phases, township playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms, Sandy Run Park fishing pier and sports fields will be open to the public. Rentals and reservations for fields and outdoor facilities will be permitted for groups of less than 25 individuals. If the region is still under yellow phase restrictions on June 19, 2020, the Township will delay opening of the Parks and Recreation summer program until a tentative start date of July 6, 2020. The Township Building will remain closed, as will the Free Library and the Recreation Center. All red phase social distancing, mask wearing, and daily temperature requirements will remain in effect for all at-work employees.
With implementation of the green phase, all Township offices and operations return to pre-pandemic normal.
Board President Baird Standish cautioned at the outset of the Business meeting held on May 13, that “the number of positive cases remain high in our Township,” and that “Township residents and the region still remain under the Governor’s stay at home order.” On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, Standish strongly urged all residents and businesses “to remain steadfast in the ongoing fight against COVDI-19 and to continue to adhere to state and county health guidelines. We owe it to our first responders, local health professionals, and all other essential workers to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to minimize the potential for a second wave of affliction.”
Special COVID Testing site and Voting locations announced.
COVID-19 Testing. Standish announced that Montgomery County has set up a “by appointment only” drive-through testing site at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell Campus for residents. For more information on eligibility and to register for an appointment, visit montcopa.org/COVID-19 or call 610.631.3000, starting at 8 a.m.
Voting. At its Business meeting, the Board announced four COVID-19 polling locations in school facilities for the delayed election on June 2, 2020. More information is available at springfieldmontco.org. Board President Standish reminded Township residents that they “have the option and are encouraged to apply for a mail-in ballot.” For more information, go to the PA Voter Services website: pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin
Plans for a public walkway and more recreational fields at Sandy Run Country Club and Enfield Elementary School.
Sandy Run. The owners of Sandy Run applied to the Township for a waiver to construct a new golf cart storage building and have agreed to allow the Township to build a public walkway on golf course property along Walnut Lane. At its Workshop meeting, the Board heard from Township Engineer Mark Eisold about the proposed 6-foot wide by 1200-foot long walkway, which would cost about $252,000. The township is looking for grant money to cover expenses. At its Business Meeting, the Commissioners voted unanimously to grant the waiver conditioned on the Country Club’s grant of a Right of Way and construction easement for the proposed walkway.
Enfield Elementary School. Eisold also reported at the Workshop meeting that the Enfield Elementary School will be turned into two softball fields and one multipurpose field once the School District demolishes the building. While the parking lot on Paper Mill Road will remain, Commissioner Eddy Graham expressed concern about overflow parking disturbing local neighborhoods on Lantern Lane and Bergen Road and ready access by outsiders to private homes in the same area via an existing walking path. The stormwater plan so far is not consistent with the County’s standards of practice. The construction plan is still in its preliminary stages.
Traffic flow complaints continue Unresolved.
Rose Lane. The township recently put up arrow signs at the curve closest to Wissahickon Avenue to the dismay of many Rose Lane residents who complained about it at the Commissioners’ Workshop meeting on Monday, May 11. They wanted the signs to be taken down because they did nothing to resolve the car volume and speeding problems that all neighbors on Rose Lane agree need to be addressed. Apparently, a different set of neighbors agreed to the arrow signs at the Board’s March meeting. Four traffic studies have already been conducted between 2015 and 2020 and the Township has turned down a proposal to make Rose Lane a one-way street. Painting a yellow center line will occur in the summer. In the meantime, the signs will stay up and the matter will be referred to the Traffic Safety Police.
Traffic Light Request at Gordon Road and Bethlehem Pike. Two engineering studies conducted by PENNDOT and the Township concluded that a traffic light at Gordon Road and Bethlehem Pike would cause more accidents because of the grade of the road and the curve. At its Business Meeting, the Commissioners voted unanimously to rescind Resolution No. 1449 and to withdraw their request for the traffic signal at that location.
The Board of Commissioners tables the adoption of state fishing regulations.
The Board of Commissioners tabled the adoption of the PA Fish and Boat Commission Regulations for activities at Sandy Run Park and Hillcrest Pond pending more input from the Friends of Hillcrest Pond on how to preserve the special nature of the pond, which currently allows fishing without a license for any child under 15 and any senior 65 or older.
Township residents can see and listen to Recorded Business meeting via ZOOM here: springfieldmontco.org/government/meeting-agendas-minutes/. Check the Township website for all Public Meeting Agendas, minutes and video-recordings of the Township Business meetings at springfieldmontco.org