Lehigh Valley

Moore Twp. supervisors will make a $700K offer to buy farmland

Also, alcohol ban could soon be lifted from the township's pavillion.

MOORE TWP., Pa. - A Northampton County township plans to make an offer to buy a proposed 35-home subdivision that is for sale in the township.

The Moore Township Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 during Tuesday night's meeting to make an offer to purchase Sunny Slope Farms.

The board said the impetus behind purchasing the 40-acre property was two-fold.

The first was the potential income the township could derive from renting out portions to farmers.

The second was placing the tract of land into the farmland preservation program to preserve the land from development, thus maintaining the rural and scenic nature of the township.

After much debate, Secretary Richard Gable made a motion to offer between $700,000 and up to $800,000 to purchase the property.

After some discussion, supervisors agreed to initially offer the $700,000 amount.

"You can always come up if you need to," Gable said as to his philosophy of negotiation tactics.

Vice Chairman Daniel Piorkowski countered by saying that while that was true, it would also be detrimental to their efforts at acquisition if the initial offer proved insulting to the property's owners. 

Gable assured Piorkowski that the offer would not be viewed as insulting, even if ultimately it was deemed insufficient and needed to be countered during negotiation.

The property was appraised at $886,000, according to comments made by Gable on Tuesday night.

In other business, supervisors moved one step closer to amending a township ordinance that has stood since 1981 that bans alcohol from the township's pavilion.

The amendment was drafted by David Backenstoe, the township's solicitor, and would allow for the consumption of various alcoholic drinks, but would continue to prohibit the sale of those same drinks, except for township sponsored events, without the approval of the board of supervisors. 

The amendment will allow the township the opportunity to sell alcoholic beverage during 2015, the year in which the township will celebrate their 250th anniversary.

After making modest wording changes to reflect the wishes of supervisors, Backenstoe will present a proposal to supervisors at their next meeting and then advertise the document to the public, thus satisfying all legal requirements before the supervisors could vote to make the amendment law.

The alcohol permits would be administered only to individuals who lease the pavilion located at the recreation center, which is positioned between Monocacy Drive and English Road in the township.

Alcohol would still be banned at other township parks.

And in other news, supervisors moved forward a garbage ordinance, described chiefly as a "self-policing ordinance" by Backenstoe, that would dissuade individuals from simply throwing their trash onto the shoulder of township roads or onto the roads themselves. 

The ordinance discussed Tuesday night would provide residents options to have licensed carriers haul it away.

The ordinance would also not punish any township resident who is already disposing of their trash in a legal manner, such as someone, according to Piorkowski, who is employed at a company and uses the company's facilities to dispose of their trash.

The ordinance would require, if requested by the township, that residents produce documentation that corroborates they are disposing their trash legally, within 72-hours of the request by the township.

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