Lackawanna Cutoff still on hold
Andover welcomes Pace Glass

The Andover Township Council prepares to open the public portion of their meeting. From left: Councilman Ellsworth Bensley, Jr., Councilman Tom Walsh, Township Attorney Fred Semrau, Mayor Janis McGovern, Township Administrator Diana Francisco, Deputy Mayor Dolores Blackburn, and Councilman John Carafello. Photo by Mandy Coriston

By Mandy Coriston
Andover — The announcement of the final deal to gain access to the Lackawanna Cutoff is still on hold, Andover Township Attorney Fred Semrau told council members and the public at Monday's Township Council meeting.
“It’s still in the hands of New Jersey Transit. It’s been given to (Kevin) Corbett, who is the new head of the agency,” Semrau said.
“We’re just waiting now,” Mayor Janis McGovern said. “The deal is done, but they have to approve it.”
While there seems to be a sense of frustration over the delay, Andover still has plenty to be excited about. Earlier this month, ground was broken on the Pace Glass Recycling facility on Limecrest Road.
McGovern said, “This is major for Andover; it will be bringing 80 jobs to our community.” McGovern also praised the support of Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Attorney Semrau added to the report, saying, “The attorney from Pace gave the Andover governing body accolades” and told Semrau he “was pleased with how the township handled the process”, from the initial public hearings through the groundbreaking. Councilman Ellsworth Bensley, Jr. said, “The Pace facility is a win-win. The glass stays out of landfills, and we get jobs in our town.”
In another move designed to attract new business to the town, the council also approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance which governs prohibited uses of land. The amendment removed the section of township code which disallowed any businesses except for banks to have drive-through services. The town is also looking into improving cellular phone service in town, by leasing easements and taking bids to build new cell phone towers within the township. This would include a new monopole tower on the same property as the Municipal Building on Newton-Sparta Rd.
Two new matters were brought before the council by the public on Monday night, one concerning zoning and the other a drainage issue. Resident Barry Walsky, who lives in the Lake Lenape section of the township, is seeking a zoning variance that would allow him to keep chickens on his property, which is prohibited under township code. Walsky’s fiancée would like to keep the birds as emotional support animals, and they presented a doctor’s letter supporting her claim. Walsky previously met with Township zoning officer Fred Suljic, who said he would be in support of the variance for up to five chickens, pending the approval of the council.
“I’m not sure where that would fit into township codes, but I’ll look into it,” Attorney Semrau said, adding that he will be in touch with Suljic and delve into state codes to see what the appropriate action would be.
The drainage matter was introduced to the council by Elizabeth and Ron Foy, who recently began occupying a house on Ballantine Rd. According to the Foys, their property sits below the level of the roadway and consequently, rainwater runoff from the road pools at the front of their yard and does not drain away. The Foys have already been in touch with their neighbors to discuss the possibility of gaining rights of way to amend the drainage issue and mitigate flooding.
“There is a history of drainage issues there, and you have a fresh approach to handling it. Great job speaking with your neighbors and doing your footwork,” Semrau said.
Because they may also need the approval of other agencies to do any work on the problem, it was agreed that Township Engineer Corey Stoner will come out and assess the issue and report back to the council and the Foys about what next steps would need to be taken to remediate the problem.
In an update to previous business, Councilman Tom Walsh reported that he has been in talks with a representative from Elizabethtown Gas regarding the possibility of bringing natural gas service to the Lake Lenape and Lake Iliff communities. Lake Lenape resident Ray Doidge had brought the question before the council at its last meeting. Councilman Walsh said Elizabethtown will be investigating the matter soon, but that the business is in the process of being acquired by a new parent company. Records indicate that company is South Jersey Industries, based in Folsom, NJ.
Of note to residents, the municipal building will be open under new seasonal hours beginning the week of May 21. The offices will be open 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. Thursday, and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Fridays. The offices will be closed for holiday observances on May 28, July 4, September 3, and October 8. The council also moved to eliminate scheduled council meetings on July 9 and August 13, unless need should arise to hold two meetings during those summer months. Residents are also reminded that Andover Township day is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, at Hillside Park.