E. Marlborough supervisors approve amended medical marijuana ordinance

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Tempers flare: residents demand action on Unionville safety issues; 2017 budget presented

By Karen Cresta, Staff Writer, The Times

medicalmarijuanaEAST MARLBOROUGH – Prior to the monthly township Board of Supervisors meeting, a public hearing took place to approve zoning amendments, one that allowed growing facilities for medical marijuana. A statewide ruling legalized such facilities and the township Planning Board Chairman Cuyler Walker worked with township solicitor Frone Crawford to draft the amendments for the township.

Walker said that the state recognized medical marijuana’s legal use in Pennsylvania and the township must provide amendments in their own ordinances. Only growing and processing — no sales — will be allowed in the limited industrial district, but not in residential districts. Municipalities need to authorize use in their ordinances and to regulate the manufacturing and production for medical use.

“I’d like to emphasize this amendment is just for growing and processing,” Walker added.

The board voted unanimously to approve the amendment, as well as another amendment regarding riparian buffer provisions.

In addition, a modification to the Agriculture Security Area to add 21 acres at 365 West Street Road was approved as part of the agricultural district to allow for funding.

During the regular meeting, the board approved a conditional use order for the construction of an automated car wash facility on Onix Drive. Each conditional use was read and approved unanimously with supervisor John Sarro abstaining.

The board approved to publicize the 2017 budget and take a vote in December. Supervisor Bob Weer insisted that the discussion take place in public at the time of the meeting. The board reviewed it briefly as board chairman Richard Hannum said he did not have time to review it in detail as Weer did.

Weer summarized that the budget was “overall pretty much the same” from the previous year and there would be no raise in taxes. The board’s formal discussion will continue at the next meeting.

Sarro presented an update on the Safety Committee initiatives to improve safety of the township roads. Sarro worked with public works director Dennis Mellinger to improve visibility by replacing faded road signage and trimming trees. The use of speed trailers and police presence, especially in the village of Unionville was increased. Some crosswalks were improved but work still needed to be done.

Traffic Planning and Design, the township’s traffic engineer, is in the process of amending an initial $30,000 proposal to improve conditions and install additional crosswalks. Sarro indicated that he wanted the costly projects to be itemized and the crosswalks in front of the schools to be separated. He is awaiting the new proposal and will have a safety committee meeting when the proposal was received.

“Why it’s taking this long, I don’t know,” said Sarro.

Resident Jack Greenwood, a member of the Safety Committee, directed his frustration with the delays and lack of meetings to Sarro. He interjected, “Are we going to have a safety committee meeting?”

“I figured there’s no sense in having one until we have that proposal on hand,” Sarro answered.

“I thought the purpose of having our committee is for the committee to get together and discuss these things as opposed to you and [retired township manager] Jane (Lazlo) discussing these things,” Greenwood added.

Sarro, who took over the lead with the Safety Committee about four months ago, defended his commitment and said, “I’ve spent a lot of time walking up and down Route 82 looking at the situations…I’ve been there already and I used to live right past Hood’s for over a year so I’m well aware of your struggles there.”

“It’s just crazy. I’ve never seen so much traffic in such a small town and you guys have to do something to change it,” said another resident sitting next to Greenwood.

Greenwood said, “Here’s my thoughts. We don’t meet. It’s all talk and I’m tired. Really, it is frustrating. I am tired of no action.”

“If I get that proposal tomorrow, I will email it to you, no problem. We will have a meeting at the end of this week or the following week,” Sarro said.

“If you want to get something accomplished, you go out and you do it. You don’t talk about it,” added Greenwood in a hostile voice.

Hannum attempted to stop the arguing and explained that Greenwood’s comments were appreciated and Sarro is working hard to get things done, but that there is an approval process with the township engineer and PennDOT.

“I think we have to take John [Sarro] at his word that he will set up the next meeting and that we will be able to move forward in the process and discuss the proposal and take action,” said Hannum.

“In the meantime, you guys need to think of some way, some ideas to change the road. You have to,” said the resident. “You’ve got to step it up that’s all I’m asking. Step it up. I’ll make a phone call. Want me to call the guy? I’ll call that company [Traffic Planning and Design] all day long. Just put it in your cell phone and hit speed dial.”

“I understand that but it’s not the only thing going on right now. It’s going to get done. There’s a lot that’s been done the last few months,” said Sarro.

Weer agreed with the traffic problems but stated that Sarro is working on it and through the hurdles and obstacles.

Hannum closed the discussion and stated that he is on board and concerned about the safety and welfare of all residents.

In other township business, township engineer Jim Hatfield provided the final list of nine items for the Unionville Park to be completed. Some items mentioned included the final steps needed to complete the pavilion, fencing and adding signage to distinguish the park’s property line with private property bordering the park.

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