News Eagle Correspondent
The Shohola Board of Supervisors would consider having a cell-phone tower built in the township if a local resident can provide the land.
A township resident expressed concern over the lack of communication during Hurricane Sandy at the Nov. 8 monthly supervisors meeting, and suggested a cell-phone tower would be a good solution.
"You can do it, but it’s a conditional use-type situation. First, someone would have to come before the Planning Commission. I think it was done maybe 15 years ago. For whatever reason, it didn’t pass, but that was before people had cell phones," said Chairman George Fluhr Jr. "Right now, I think at this point, we would entertain anybody who would be interested in it. Of course, it depends on where it would be put."
Supervisor Keith Raser, who is also director of Transportation for Pike County, said he heard CellularOne has been purchased by Verizon, and it is looking for locations to build a cell-phone tower in Barryville, Lackawaxen or Shohola.
The resident also asked whether the township can take down trees crossing over state roads such as Route 434 because of fire hazards. He mentioned that two trees were blocking Route 434, and the road was closed by the state. Fluhr said he had extensive discussions with PennDOT, and the answer is no, only PennDOT has the power to re-open the road.
Chris Malzahn, chief of Shohola’s fire department, said that the emergency operations center at the fire station opened at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29, the day Hurricane Sandy arrived. He explained that the fire station was open 24/7 from Monday, Oct. 29, until Saturday, Nov. 3 to keep the generator going, as a location for local residents to get water for their homes, and to address medical needs.
Malzahn said that the department set up portable generators for several local residents who have medical issues, and he called in 46 poll numbers to PPL to notify them they were down. He emphasized that Shohola residents should let the department know when future storms happen if they need help.
We cleared 90 to 100 trees from different roadways throughout the township. At some point during the storm, the trees were coming down so fast, we had to cut our way in, turn around, cut our way back out. So, it was a very busy night," Malzahn said.
Fluhr thanked the fire and police departments for their work during Sandy.
On behalf of the board, we would like to thank you and the entire department for all that you did. We all communicated back and forth, but it was a pleasure to work with such an efficient and professional unit, and the Shohola Police Department," said Fluhr. "They really did an outstanding job, and I think the whole town should be proud of how things were done."
Page 2 of 2 - Raser noted that any Shohola residents who are on food stamps and lost their food during Sandy can receive a voucher from DPW to replace it. He also said that, according to the governor’s office, hurricane deductibles will be waived when filing insurance claims.
In other news:
• Michael Sullivan, executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce, asked the supervisors to consider a five-year property tax abatement program on improvements for businesses that move to Shohola. Businesses who make improvements would receive a 90 percent tax abatement in the first year, 80 percent in the second year, 60 percent in the third year, 40 percent in the fourth year, and 20 percent in the fifth year. Sullivan said there is a Shohola business owner who currently has 40 employees and is looking to expand to 80, and it’s important to create incentives for businesses to stay and move to the township. According to Sullivan, New York State made a more attractive offer to the business owner, but they decided to stick with Shohola because it’s a hospitable place to be. Sullivan also said the township would need to hold a public hearing before approving the move. Fluhr said Township Solicitor Jason Ohliger will review the proposal. According to Sullivan, all the county commissioners are on board with the proposal.
• The supervisors approved the purchase of a new police and road crew vehicle.
• Former township administrative assistant Marianne Yeaw said she heard some permits being issued are taking more than six weeks to be granted by zoning officer Robert DiLorenzo. She suggested the township look for another sewage enforcement officer if DiLorenzo doesn’t have enough time to balance his workload between Shohola and other townships. Fluhr Jr. said if somebody is having permit issues, they should come directly to the board.
The Pumpkins in the Park event, held Oct. 13 at Rhoman Park, drew 219 residents with children. More than 100 children participated in the costume parade.
Shohola Board of Supervisors meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m., at the township building, 159 Twin Lakes Road.