Howe Twp. has become the hub of development in Perry County.
Supervisors gave conditional approval to the Newport Convenience Center plan during their Sept. 2 meeting. Penn Holding Group development on Bretz Court just off Shortcut Road will include a convenience store, gas station and a Dunkin’ Donuts.
In approving the plan, a sidewalk requirement was waived, however, a footpath would need to be added later should an adjoining property install one.
In making the approval, Chairman Dale Beaver said he was somewhat concerned with the stacking pattern for cars going through the drive-through, but the plan was in compliance with township codes. He said he would also prefer underground electrical wiring, but a precedent had been set by allowing the adjoining Burger King to have its underground facilities tied into existing above-ground wiring.
Jason Finnerty of the Perry County Planning Commission encouraged supervisors to participate in the county’s updating of the comprehensive plan. Finnerty said he wants to work with the county municipalities to assist them in achieving development goals. He also noted participation in the process would enable inter-municipal cooperation and a more regional approach to development by identifying shared interests of neighboring municipalities, which could increase the likelihood of projects receiving grants.
Townships can choose to participate at three different levels with a corresponding cost ranging from $600 to $2,400. Finnerty emphasized now was an ideal time to conduct the update, coming on the heels of the latest census data.
While no action was taken, supervisors expressed enthusiasm toward participation and said they would take further consideration during upcoming budget talks. Supervisors scheduled three budget meetings to be held at the Buffalo Twp. building at 1 p.m. on Oct. 12, 19 and 21.
Beaver said he felt the comprehensive plan was very important and Howe Twp. “wanted to be on the train.” He thought Howe has a wonderful mix of commercial, residential and agricultural development. He hopes the newly completed sewer project would spur more residential growth and township is exploring a town center concept, possibly including a 55-plus community.
Finnerty said the county has a housing committee which the township would likely find beneficial on multiple fronts, including planning and ordinance development.
Frank Campbell gave an update on the sewer project. He said the system is basically ready to go, but delays relating to back-up generators for the pump stations have kept the system from going fully online. The generators have been delivered and should soon be installed. He said residents should be receiving letters in early October explaining they have 60 days to establish connections.
He also reported customers will be asked to vote on one of two options regarding the tapping fee. Option one is a $1,500 fee with an estimated monthly bill of $113. The second option carries a $3,000 upfront cost, but a projected monthly bill of $85. The next sewer authority meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 20, at Hope Eternal U.M.C. Residents are invited to attend and participate in the process.
The zoning hearing board is looking to fill a vacant seat; residents interested in serving should submit a letter of interest. A hearing on changes to the McDonald’s drive-through is pending, but no date has been set.
Ron Crockett was hired for the road crew at $20 per hour. He will receive a $500 signing bonus upon completion of training and 60 days of satisfactory service.
A recent storm had the road crew busy backfilling washouts on township roads.
The township is planning to do line painting later this month. Beaver reported Messick’s has delivered the necessary snow removal attachments for the township tractor.