For the past couple months, the new owner of land that was formerly Tubby’s nightclub has pressured the Penn Twp. supervisors to relinquish part of Inn Road so he can build a new business.
Vince DiPaolo of Penn Twp. wants to build a 5,000-square-foot automotive garage where Tubby’s formerly stood, he said. To do so, he’s asking the township supervisors to abandon about 400 feet of Inn Road so he can fence off nearly all of the property and prevent people from driving to the road’s end.
The township in March asked for more specifics about DiPaolo’s plans. After hearing more from them and attorney Adam Britcher in April, they asked to see a survey plan that outlines setbacks, road changes, rights-of-way, and the established property lines. They got that this month.
But the supervisors have still been non-committal only saying in April they would look at it, and outlining some of the problems that PennDOT raised, such as lack of room for buildings, setbacks and proper cul-de-sacs, as well as rights-of-way.
“I don’t get this,” DiPaolo said at the May 26 meeting when supervisors again panned on moving forward with a road abandonment.
DiPaolo said giving the road to him is the best way to secure the property to prevent thefts as well as the dumping issues that have occurred since a fire destroyed the former nightclub. Tubby’s burned to the ground in March of 2017. Original owners wanted to rebuild, but that never happened, and the property was sold.
DiPaolo and father Rodney DiPaolo have been aggressive over the past couple months, prodding supervisors to abandon the road, which would give the DiPaolos the 50-foot by 400-foot roadway, or roughly 20,000 square feet.
The DiPaolos submitted a plan that shows how the property would change, including an offset cul-de-sac at the property line that would allow cars, township trucks and emergency vehicles to turn around. Currently, the old road dead-ends near the elevated Route 11/15 and the mountain slope.
“This will improve everything in the township,” Rodney DiPaolo said.
However, supervisors reiterated some of their concerns about abandoning the road, such as access to the various utilities that run under or adjacent to the part that would be fenced under the DiPaolos’ plans.
Supervisor Paul Soltis said last month PennDOT’s concerns about lack of space for road changes influenced him. At last week’s meeting, he said he was definitely against the proposal because it raises too many problems. He also was concerned that abandoning it would mean less liquid fuels money for the township. That’s important even if the money isn’t much because it benefits everyone, he said.
Supervisor Henry Holman III noted there’s at least three rights-of-way that would be cut off by the plans to fence the property, including access to the Penn Twp. Municipal Authority’s sewer manhole about halfway back on the road. Additionally, there’s the communication and electric lines. Workers need to access those utility poles, too.
“If they lock the gate, then you can’t get to the electric, communication or sewer,” Holman said after the meeting.
Supervisor Joe Landis said the township would ask its engineer to look over the issues before giving a definitive answer.
Vince DiPaolo said if the township doesn’t abandon the road, he’ll work with the property as it is, but that would likely include fencing on both sides of the road so he could secure his business, equipment and vehicles.
Solicitor Mark Allshouse sent the supervisors a resignation letter, effective July 1. He told the township he could no longer be the solicitor due to professional and personal obligations.
The supervisors appointed attorney Rich Wagner to fill in as solicitor until the end of the year, at which time the township could put the position out for proposals.
Wagner formerly was the Penn Twp. solicitor. He scaled back his municipal business considerably in recent years to focus on other clients.
Supervisors appointed Holman as the temporary roadmaster at a rate of $18 per hour without benefits. Prior, all three supervisors were joint roadmasters following a resignation earlier in the year.
The supervisors approved wage increases for township workers, including 50 cents an hour for the codes enforcement officer and building cleaning person, as well as a total of $4,400 for all other employees. The increases are retroactive to the beginning of the year.
The supervisors held off on increases until all annual employee reviews could be completed.
The supervisors awarded several road material, work and paving bids. The Creek Road paving project was awarded to New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. for $87,856. Pennsy Supply bid $94,155 and Jay Fulkroad and Sons bid $98,174.
The project to resurface parts of Hoffman, Rebecca and Pfautz roads with tar and chip, as well as Suzanne Drive was awarded to Russell Standard of Fayetteville, Pa. for a total cost of $48,208. The township received two bids for the projects, the second being for $48,922 from Midland Asphalt Materials of Bloomsburg.
Jim T. Ryan can be reached via email at [email protected]
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