Andover governing body does some housekeeping

Jackie Espinoza, a representative of JCP&L, stopped by the Andover Township Committee meeting on August 13to deliver information about a new initiative being developed by the utility company to reduce frequency and length of outages. Espinoza is shown here handing materials to (from left) 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 Township — The Andover Township Committee held its August meeting on Monday night, August 13. While there was not too much new business to discuss, some old business was clarified and wrapped up at the last meeting of the summer.
During the public portion of the meeting, the two items brought up for discussion dealt with infrastructure and development.
Resident Mary Jane Nemeth, of Wilson Place, had an inquiry regarding the old Stewarts’ Root Beer building on Route 206, and wondered if anything could be done about the “ratty” condition of the property. Councilman John Carafello said that the zoning officer, Fred Suljic, could be contacted to assess the property and action would be taken at his discretion.
“There’s been interest in the property, but because it sits near a C1 stream, there’s no room for expansion,” Deputy Mayor Dolores Blackburn said.
Streams which are designated C1, or Category One, by the Highlands Act, require a 300-foot buffer between the stream and any new construction. Township Attorney Fred Semrau explained that the property is along part of the Rt. 206 corridor that the township is looking at for redevelopment opportunities, and perhaps some zoning changes might benefit that particular property.
The second question brought to the council was from Karl Halteman of Highland Court, who was curious as to why a bid for Cape Sealing from Asphalt Paving Systems was listed on the consent agenda as having been rejected.
Councilman Carafello, who had spoken about the Cape Sealing process at the previous meeting, said, “The bid was simply too high for the area on Cliffside Drive where we wanted to experiment with the process.”
Carafello also said that Byram Township is having the process done on a large scale this month, and that Andover will keep an eye on their results and assess whether the expenditure will be more cost-effective in the future.
The council passed three resolutions on Monday evening, all regarding new or existing town ordinances. The first was a resolution to introduce an amendment to the Bring Your Own Beer law which governs establishments that allow people to bring their own wine and beer for consumption. The amendment would restrict the hours which alcohol can be consumed in such establishments to between the hours of noon and 10 p.m. The second and third resolutions were to do a bit of “housekeeping” about newly adopted ordinances regarding property maintenance and soliciting.
The amendment to Ordinance 2018-10 clarifies the responsibilities and authority of the township zoning officer, who is currently Fred Suljic. The amendment to Ordinance 2018-11, the freshly-minted No-Knock Ordinance, is simply a matter of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It had previously said that the township would mail all residents and business owners a form to fill out if they wished to be listed as a no-knock property. To avoid the large cost and labor intensity of such a mailing, the ordinance has been modified to eliminate that action. All parties interested in being on the no-knock list may obtain a form by visiting the municipal building during regular business hours. Township Administrator Diana Francisco said that there is currently only one valid peddlers’ license active in the township, so all business solicitation other than that of a representative of the financial firm Edward Jones is in violation of the new ordinance and can be reported. Religious and political solicitation does not require a license.
In other business, further brief discussion of the potential redevelopment along the Rt. 206 was led by Councilman Carafello. He said the planning board has formed a subcommittee, and that they will be looking at properties like the old lumberyard and the abbey, among others, as potential redevelopment sites for light industrial businesses.
“The highway could handle that type of traffic, but this is going to be a process that takes a while. We have a lot of factors to look at,” Carafello said.
Two items regarding the Recreation Committee were on the agenda Monday evening as well. The committee, which had expressed concern over the need to cancel future events due to budget limitations, received a donation of $500 from the American Legion. Also, Kimberly Post, who last month was appointed as a substitute on the committee, was renamed and reappointed as a regular member. The only other unfinished business was from Attorney Semrau, who said that the latest small update on the Lackawanna Cutoff is that the state will begin taking construction bids in the 1st quarter of 2019.
Mayor Janis McGovern had varied items of note in her mayor’s report, including information on two meeting which she recently attended as a representative of Andover within Sussex County. The first was a panel on opioid abuse led by Sussex County C.L.E.A.R.’s Director Becky Carlson.
McGovern said, “The statistics are startling, including a 200% increase in overdose deaths in Sussex County between 2013 and 2017. The panel discussed the need for more public education and more funding for recovery.”
McGovern also attended a meeting of the Sussex County Library System along with a small group of municipal leadership from elsewhere in the county.
“The meeting was to focus on the future of the library system, and to determine if they are meeting the needs of the county,” she said, adding that the library would be interested in having a book locker at the train station once it’s built at the Cutoff.
In his report, Carafello said the DPW has been working hard to keep fast growing brush from creating sightline issues at intersections around the town, and that homeowners can do their part to keep the corners of their properties clear. Asked if this was the town’s responsibility or the homeowners’, Semrau said, “It’s really on a case by case basis. Some of the land on the street corners is privately owned.”
Mayor McGovern suggested the ordinances on this topic be posted on the township website as a reminder of the code on keeping high brush clear.
Carafello and DPW Supervisor Darren Dickinson continue to monitor and assess ash trees for signs of the emerald ash borer, and the town will also continue researching ways to work with a forester to come up with a long-term management plan.
The next meeting will be held Monday, September 10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. The municipal building will remain on seasonal hours until further notice.