Clarks Summit Borough Council votes to place restrictions on fences

By Robert Tomkavage - | July 7th, 2015 10:45 am

By Robert Tomkavage

CLARKS SUMMIT — Carol Williams addressed Clarks Summit Borough Council during a meeting July 1 to talk about an “eyesore” on Timber Lane with regard to a fence that was recently constructed.

“I think it looks horrible for the front of the house,” Councilman Herman Johnson said. “I think it takes away from the neighborhood.”

According to borough manager Virginia Kehoe, the only restrictions on the current fence ordinance is for safety issues.

Council approved a motion, 6-0, mandating homeowners, within two weeks of installation of a chain link fence, to completly install all privacy slats or not install any privacy slats at all, effective July 1.

“All we’re asking for is uniformity,” Councilman Vince Cruciani said.

Council also approved a motion, 6-0, to place a two-month moratorium on the construction of front yard fences over four feet high.

According to Kehoe, homeowners can appeal that decision.

Kehoe plans to ask the planning commission to review the ordinance at its next meeting, set for July 15, and Cruciani suggested revisiting the topic during the borough’s July 28 work session meeting.

Committee member Dori Waters announced the Abington Area Community Classroom will hold a Sponsor Appreciation event at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 23 at the Clarks Summit Borough Building.

“It’s an opportunity to publicly thank all the people who have given us grants and donations,” Waters said.

Council approved a motion to close the road from State Street to Spring Street from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate the event.

Waters also asked council to consider appointing a liaison who would work closely with the organization.

Tom Kelly was appointed, 5-0, as the borough’s Abington Regional Wastewater Authority (ARWA) Representative. Councilman David Jenkins was precluded from voting due to being a member of ARWA. Jeffrey Ames was appointed, 6-0, as the borough’s Emergency Management (EMA) Director and Tanisha Jagoe was appointed, 6-0, as the EMA Assistant Deputy Director.

Council plans to vote on Ordinance 2015-06 Zoning/SALDO Amendment during its August meeting. There will be an opportunity for public discussion during the July work session meeting.

“It changes the minimum lot size for subdivisions,” Kehoe said. “You can’t take a property and subdivide it unless it’s larger than the current requirements. The minimum lot to to build in an R-1 residential zone would change from 10,000 to 20,000. In an R-2, it would be 15,000 and in an R-3, it would be 12,000.

“I think this is hugely necessary,” Kehoe added.

According to Cruciani, the ordinance would aid the borough’s MS4 stormwater initiative.

Council voted, 6-0, to approve a $6,500 quote from Keystone Fence, along with additional charges, for gate repair and the instillation of a chain link fence at Hemlock Park.

Kehoe also plans to ask the planning commission to incorporate the use of pods into an ordinance.

“Our trash ordinance covers dumpsters, but it doesn’t address pods,” she said. “I think we need to come up with an amendment.”

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.