More than a dozen Northgate residents came out Tuesday night to plead with supervisors in Upper Hanover about their concerns with state police coverage, which they said translated to long response times and ultimately a safety hazard to residents.
Jen O’Hara of Wheatland Avenue cited the 45-minute response to a recent suspicious vehicle in the development as an example of the need for reform. The driver of the vehicle allegedly contacted a child at the location.
“I am concerned for the safety of my family,” O’Hara said.
Supervisor Eugene Fried assured residents that communication difficulties between PA State Police and Upper Perk Police have been resolved, allowing for Upper Perk Police to respond during certain serious emergencies in progress.
“It’s not a matter of response times, it’s a matter of the seriousness of the incident,” Fried explained. “If it’s a serious incident, both police departments will respond. That’s an understanding that I have worked out between the state police commander and the Upper Perk Police Department.”
Fried added that, with an office set up by the township at Camelot Park, there is usually at least one trooper in the vicinity if not two. Several residents questioned how recently these changes were made as issues occurred less than one month ago.
During ensuing public comment, which became disorderly at times, Michelle Diglio of Morgan Hill Drive requested that the option of bringing regular Upper Perk Police protection in the township be put to a vote during an upcoming election.
Other residents agreed with the suggestion, citing issues with everything from possible drug deals going on in the development’s playground to other criminal activity.
“Who knows what’s going on down there,” said an unidentified resident of the playgrounds.
Residents also asked about response to speeders who use Ott Road as a way to cut through between Route 663 and Buck Road. Supervisors Chair Richard Fain requested that the township’s portable radar sign be used to alert drivers to their speeding habits.
Fain added that speed and traffic data can then be sent to the state police to help develop a response. Supervisors also asked Roadmaster Larry Buck to purchase signs to deter speeders.
Fried promised to relate all the Northgate residents’ concerns to state police.
In other Northgate business, supervisors discussed THP’s request to convert 46 more properties in the subdivision from an age-restricted classification to an age-targeted for the second month with no decision reached. Tim Hendricks of THP said the request is based on an overall decrease in 55-plus home sales. Of the 15 homes previously approved as age-targeted, Hendricks reported that 12 have sold with only one buyer having children.
Hendricks added that recent reconfiguration of several other Northgate homes lessened bedroom counts, resulting in approximately 50 fewer children in the development. He explained that while the classification of the homes would change, the style of the house will remain a two-bedroom ranch with the option to convert attic space into another bedroom, a style that does not encourage families with children.
Finally, Hendricks offered to make a $2,000 contribution to the township per converted unit.
Supervisor Dottie Diehl contended that a contribution could not compensate for the potential impact on the school district.
“It would cost a lot more than that to educate a child,” Diehl said.
While Fain and Fried supported the change, Supervisor Ben Fiorito disagreed, while Supervisor Stephen Rothenberger was undecided.
“I need a little more time to chew on this,” Rothenberger said.
The decision was tabled until next month.
Finally, Fiorito announced that PennDOT has changed plans for repairing two bridges along Route 29 in Palm. Those changes will make it easier for commuters. According to Fiorito, the current signaled one-lane passage is expected to end in January 2014, with work on the second bridge beginning at that point.
With this change, only one section of the road will be one lane at a time. Both repair projects are expected to be completed by June 2014.