This meeting was a great example of all the reasons we ought to attend these meetings: when the agenda looks boring and empty, there are often hidden treasures that you’ll never hear about unless you’re there:
- Under “Concerns of Staff” Township Manager Julie Jakubec mentioned that the State apparently has a new program that will allow residents to acquire abandoned property adjacent to their own yards as a “side yard” at reduced cost for the property and with waivers of some of the usual transfer fees. I didn’t catch all of the details, but watch “The Herald” for an advertisement. Or we can wait a month until the minutes of this meeting are approved and publicized and check back then. I hope it won’t be too late: I think I heard Julie say that only two such applications can be approved per community.
- At the beginning of the workshop session, Julie asked the Council if they would be willing to listen to an unscheduled presentation on the Aspinwall Marina project from Susan Crookston. Susan is a dynamo of a young woman who noticed the property available on the river in Aspinwall, envisioned it as a park, asked a friend who happened to be a landscape architect to draw up a plan, and then began figuring out who she would have to work with to make the project happen. To make a long story short, not only was she able to answer technical questions from the Council with more confidence than most developers evince when seeking approvals, Susan also announced that she and her friends have already raised $1.2 million of the $2.3 million needed by October to acquire the property. They’re looking for a “naming gift,” so if you or anyone you know might be interested, give the Township office a call and have them put you in touch with Susan. There’s also a bit more detail on the project in this short article from last November’s Herald.
- The most exciting item that was actually on the agenda was a discussion of the Township Long Range Comprehensive Plan. There has been a long-range planning commission working since May of 2007 to develop the plan. The final plan with all comments incorporate is almost ready. The Township Manager plans to make an executive summary available on the Township web site, and a full copy of the book containing the plan is available now at the desk during business hours. It was strongly suggested to Julie that it would be a good idea to make the entire plan available electronically. This is something that we really ought to at least browse through before it comes up in front of Council. Its intent is to provide a look at where the Township stands now in areas ranging from population to commerce to land use to sewers, roads, and other infrastructure, to cultural and recreational resources, and beyond. Then it projects these forward ten years into the future and makes recommendations for zoning changes, improvements to infrastructure, and so on to meet the needs identified by Township residents and consultants hired by the planning committee to assist with the process. Cranberry has an interesting long-range plan available on the web that you might want to look at to get an idea of what’s included. And let’s all encourage our Township Manager to make our own plan available electronically. Julie seemed concerned that it might be too difficult to create a PDF, but maybe she could call Cranberry and find out how they did it 🙂
That’s all for this meeting. Pretty good for an agenda that inclined one to say “Nothing important on the agenda,” eh? Don’t forget about the meetings on the Saxonburg Boulevard Area Sanitary Sewer Project on April 26 (7pm) and May 7 (9am)! They’re not on the Township web site yet and the Council minutes where those meetings were discussed won’t be coming out until they’re approved next month. But at least you heard about it here and can call the Township office for details 🙂