LT Code Enforcement Officer Answers Ticketing Ordinance Questions

CLEARFIELD – The Lawrence Township Supervisors passed the Alternative Dispute Resolution Ordinance, or Code Ticketing Ordinance, at last month’s meeting. Code Enforcement Officer Debra Finkbeiner reported she had received a lot of calls with questions on the ordinance.

Finkbeiner explained that, basically, if there is a violation of any township code, tickets will be issued, with fines starting at $25.

Finkbeiner gave several examples of the most common code violations, including lack of or inadequate garbage disposal and recycling, burning garbage (and Finkbeiner noted that disguising garbage burning is still garbage burning and will be ticketed), junk vehicles, work without zoning permits or building permits , sewer and sewer line in-flow infiltration.

Finkbeiner said building permits for non-business purposes require 15 days to process, and 30 days for business projects. She advises that contractors or individuals consider processing time for project permits, because work started without permits is a violation and will be cited.

Regarding sewer and in-flow infiltration violations, Finkbeiner said the main locations include Hyde, Long Meadow and Country Club areas. She noted that she had previously gone door-to-door to 75 houses to serve notices of required sewer line testing, and has received no response to schedule testing. She said she will go back now to serve tickets for this violation.

She said she has been working with residents who do not have the finances to get required sewage correction work done, but people need to get the testing scheduled or they will be in violation. She noted that smoke testing is done on Wednesdays, and 10-day notice is required to schedule the tests.

Finkbeiner also reported receiving two conditional use requests, one for Bee Kind Winery and one for Family Day Care. Public Hearings for the conditional use requests were scheduled for June 2 at 6:40 p.m. and 6:50 p.m. at the township office.

The supervisors opened four bids for 1000 tons of 2 RC stone. The bid was awarded to Woodland Equipment and Supply for $12.86 per ton.

Only one bid was received for purchase of a grader, from David G. Casper Inc. for a Volvo grader for $57,000.  The supervisors approved the bid.

Roadmaster Ron Woodling reported he is conducting pre-work sewer surveys for upcoming paving projects. On his request, the supervisors approved to have the paving contractor, HRI Inc., install risers for storm water inlets while paving. Woodling is to prepare a list of risers for the contractor change order.

The supervisors approved for Police Sergeant Crystal Panebianco to attend Sirchie evidence collection training in Youngsville NC at a cost of $600. The supervisors extended thanks to Panebianco who researched the training opportunity and for covering the expenses to attend the training herself.

Solicitor James Naddeo presented recommendations that supervisors pass a resolution to approve a sub-recipient agreement toward Community Development Block Grants. Naddeo said the state Department of Community and Economic Development requires the agreement for the township to be a recipient of CDBG funds, noting that the county is the main recipient of the funds. The supervisors approved the resolution.

Prior to the meeting, the first in a series of public meetings was held to announce the availability of CDBG funds for Lawrence Township for fiscal year 2015.  The public was invited to ask questions and discuss the needs of the township’s communities that may be addressed with Block Grant funding. Lawrence Township is eligible to receive $100,000 in CDBG funds for the year. A second public hearing will be announced.

Naddeo also pointed out that PA Act 153 requiring comprehensive background checks for employees and volunteers “responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children,” will be in effect for volunteers beginning July 1. Both Naddeo and Chairman Bill Lawhead expressed concerns on how these changes will affect the Junior Firefighters program with the local fire departments.

Supervisor Ed Brown said it would likely be the township’s responsibility to cover costs for background checks.

Naddeo noted that there are reporting requirements included in the law. He said the law, designed to curtail pedophiles, is “our government at its best…or worst,” and that now there will be “cleared and trained pedophiles.”

The supervisors adjourned to executive session to discuss possible litigation for claims against the contractor for the sewer line replacement project. No action followed afterward.

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