MOORE TWP., Pa. – Moore Township will review assessing impact fees on development along Route 512, weighing whether the payback would cover the cost of going after developers.
"It's a very involved process," Solicitor David Backenstoe told Moore's Board of Supervisors Tuesday during a virtual audio-only meeting.
Backenstoe said townships can set fees for capital improvements based on how much traffic a development will generate. He estimated that setting up a committee and securing engineering studies could take as long as 18 months and cost $50,000.
Township engineer Kevin Horvath of Keystone Consulting Engineers Inc. said capital-improvement impact areas are limited to 7 square miles. The township has one impact zone now but it cannot be expanded to Route 512.
The goal would be to charge developers, not taxpayers, for the cost of road improvements and traffic signals, Backenstoe said.
Traffic has increased along Route 512, the supervisors said, along with warehouse development. They opted not to make a decision Tuesday.
"We'll come back to that next month," Chairman Daniel Piorkowski said, asking Backenstoe and Horvath to study the issue. Vice Chairman David Shaffer and Supervisor Richard Gable agreed. Their concern was the potential for the ordinance to cost more than it would raise.
The supervisors also discussed livestock, which are common in the 38-square-mile rural township in northern Northampton County.
Backenstoe will prepare a nuisance ordinance to address the problem of livestock running at large. Goats have been getting loose often and could cause car accidents. An ordinance will allow the township to fine owners of wayward farm animals. The board will vote next month.
Matthew Flower of Scenic Drive asked whether a farmer would be at risk of a fine in case a cow escaped. That inevitably happens from time to time, he said, even at professional operations. Backenstoe said the ordinance would not be directed at responsible farmers.
Horses on recreation center trails
The board put off a decision on barring horses from the Moore recreation center between Monocacy Drive and English Road. Two issues were raised — the center's trails are not made to support horses, and riders have not been picking up manure. Township Manager Nicholas Steiner said residents have complained about droppings.
"People don't clean up after them and then you get walkers and runners and bikers who are upset," Backenstoe said.
The board decided to wait for more information before moving forward, though there was agreement that the center's trails are not suitable for horses.
A decision to paint the center's two tennis courts so they can also be used for pickleball will be considered later after the cost is reviewed. Pickleball is a racquet sport that is growing in interest, particularly among senior citizens.
"Both courts can still be used for tennis or pickleball" if painted, recreation commission Chairman Michael Tirrell told the board. "It looks like we have quite a bit of interest from residents."
The board heard that a resident has asked for an anti-bamboo ordinance. Zoning Officer Jason Harhart said neighboring rural townships do not have such rules. Bamboo is an invasive species that spreads rapidly and can damage property. Suburban Palmer and Bethlehem townships, among other communities, have passed bamboo bans.
Steiner said preliminary estimates of the township's share of the latest round of federal COVID-19 aid exceeds $900,000. Final rules on when the money will arrive and how it can be spent are not available. The American Rescue Plan money could be used to replace township revenue lost during the pandemic, he said.
The supervisors met via Zoom audio, but this may have been their last virtual meeting of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their May 4 meeting will be held in the township's recreation center pavilion.