Township of Spring
Communicator Volume 9 Issue 2
2013 Fall / Winter
ENGINEERING AND PLANNING DEPARTMENT Board of Supervisors Barry W. Ulrich Chairman Patti J. Smith Vice - Chairman Kyle M. Hummel Alan S. Kreider James Oswald
Township of Spring Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday Township Building: Phone: (610) 678-5393 Fax: (610) 678-4571
Zoning Ordinance Update Two years ago the Township undertook a study of the Penn Avenue Corridor with the goal of developing a plan for revitalizing and strengthening this critical commercial area within the Township. The revitalization plan outlined specific actions for both public and private sectors aimed at creating a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly corridor. This included promoting the proper mix of uses along various parts of the corridor and maximizing the compatibility of development with adjacent residential areas and homes. The Plan is intended to carry out concepts that allow people to live close to where they work and shop. The Board of Supervisors has continued moving toward this goal of revitalization by forming a Committee to investigate possible revisions to the Township Zoning Ordinance. These revisions would alter some of the regulations that may currently be acting as impediments to the use of commercial properties both along the Penn Avenue Corridor and throughout the Township. While primarily aimed at promoting business, the regulations would encourage a mix of complementary land uses that includes residential along with commercial.
The Committee that was formed to address the Zoning regulations consists of members from the Board of Supervisors, the Township Planning Commission, Township staff and community members with experience in codes and zoning requirements. The Committee has been meeting since February of this year to review the current zoning provisions and identify areas where changes could be beneficial to businesses without negatively affecting neighboring residential areas. The standards that are being evaluated include the types of businesses that are permitted within the commercial zoning districts, the measures required to minimize impact upon nearby dwellings, the current limitations on specific businesses and provisions for off-street parking. The work of the Committee will take several months to complete and should culminate in draft revisions to the Zoning Ordinance that will be forwarded to the Township Planning Commission for review and comment. These regulations must also be reviewed by the Berks County Planning Commission and will be adjusted in response to review comments prior to being forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for adoption. That adoption process will include an advertised public hearing to hear comments and suggestions from Township residents and property owners. In time, other components of the Penn Avenue Revitalization Study may be considered and appropriate steps taken to promote those objectives. These could include: •
Improving traffic circulation and parking characteristics along Penn Avenue.
Amending the sign regulations to balance the need for business advertisement with the desire to keep the community attractive.
A building façade program with incentives for property owners to invest in improving the exteriors of their buildings.
Working with property owners to install sidewalks, plant trees and make other streetscape enhancements.
Manager for the Township of Spring In April of this year, I was appointed to the position of Manager for the Township of Spring. Since that time I have been asked many times “How do you like your new job?” First and foremost, I am extremely honored to hold the position of Township Manager for, what I feel, is a great township. I am also fortunate to work with a talented staff that truly cares about the Township and the residents we serve. The hardest part of my job is maintaining the delicate balance between providing exceptional public services to our residents and doing so in an efficient and cost effective manner. During the past 27 years I have served as a member of the Parks and Recreation Board, held the Left to Right - Shelly Livingood, Gregg Rapp and Jay Vaughan position of Road Master/Director of Public Works and served 18 years as a member of the Board of Supervisors. Throughout this time, a lot has changed in the Township and in our society, especially since 9-11-01. The events of that day ignited a renewed sense of patriotism and community involvement in many Americans, including myself. As a result, I am even more committed to ensuring that the Township of Spring remains a great place to live and raise a family. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR On July 1st, 2013, Shelly Livingood was hired as the Township’s first full-time Human Resources Director. Shelly had worked with the Township for approximately 2 years as an HR Consultant with her prior employer, Reading-Berks HR Management and was hired as part-time HR Director in April 2012. She has a B.A. in Accounting from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster and an MBA from St Joe’s University in Philadelphia. Shelly also holds professional HR certification as an SPHR. (Sr. Professional in HR)
Shelly has spent a good portion of her HR career right next door to Spring Township, having worked as a Sr HR Generalist at Alcon Manufacturing on Fritztown Road for almost 13 years before leaving to work as a consultant on a part-time basis to spend more time with her then newborn son. With her son turning 6 and starting kindergarten this year, Shelly was very anxious to get back to a full-time career in HR and
is excited to have this opportunity to be part of the Township team. In her position at Alcon, Shelly was responsible for all aspects of HR, one of the primary product lines representing about 350 employees. As an HR Consultant, Shelly worked with a wide variety of clients in all industries including municipal governments. Shelly’s position here at the Township is responsible for all HR functions including insuring compliance with all employment laws and regulations, risk management, recruiting and hiring, performance management, employee/labor relations, administration of benefits, developing and interpreting policies, workers compensation and assisting Directors and employees with any issues or questions they may have concerning their employment or how best to handle various employment related situations. Shelly is always happy to answer any questions or
WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT SUPERINTENDENT Greg Rapp joined the Township staff in April of 2013 as the new Waste Water Treatment Plant Superintendent. He filled the position left vacant by Dave Pchola’s retirement in February. Greg’s career began in the field of computer software research and development. He then opened and operated an excavating business specializing in aquatic facilities. Greg completed the DEP Licensed Wastewater Operator program at Montgomery County Community College and spent the next five years working at the
Berks Montgomery Municipal Authority in Gilbertsville, PA. Greg has been happily married to his best friend Gretchen for over 27 years. Together they have two daughters, Samantha and Nicole and this April they welcomed their first grandchild, Eric James (EJ for short). When he is not at work, Greg enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, gardening, golfing, hunting and fishing. Greg is looking forward to the challenges and rewards of working for the Township of Spring.
The internet makes it easier to accomplish many things. Research, banking from home, booking vacations, and shopping can all be done from the privacy of your own home. Just as the internet makes it easier for legitimate pursuits, it also makes it easier for scammers, con artists and other online predators to carry out a wide variety of crimes that affect many aspects of one’s life from financial to actual physical security of our families. On-line scams are constantly evolving but here is one that law enforcement has heard a lot about recently: Citadel Malware Continues to deliver Reveton Ransomware in Attempts to Extort Money 07/27/13 – The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have recently received complaints regarding a ransomware campaign using the name of DHS to extort money from unsuspecting victims. In May 2012, the IC3 posted an alert about the Citadel malware platform used to deliver ransomware known as Reveton. The ransomware directs victims to a download website, at which time it is installed on their computers. The ransomware has been called “FBI Ransomware” because it frequently uses the FBI’s name, but similar ransomware campaigns have used the names of other law enforcement agencies such as DHS and IC3. As in other variations, the ransomware using the name of DHS produces a warning that accuses victims of violating various U.S. laws and locks their computers. To unlock their computers and avoid legal issues, victims are told they must pay a $300 fine via a prepaid money card. This is not a legitimate communication from law enforcement, but rather is an attempt to extort money from the victim. If you have received this or something similar, do not follow the instructions in the warning, and do not attempt to pay the fine. It is suggested that you: • Contact a reputable computer expert to assist with removing the malware. • File a complaint at www.IC3.gov. • Keep operating systems and legitimate antivirus and antispyware software updated. The above excerpt is taken from the FBI website. For additional information on this and other internet scams, please visit www.fbi.gov. To report potential e-scams, go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.IC3.gov) and file a report. www.springtwpberks.org
FIRE RESCUE SERVICE
FIRE RESCUE SERVICE
FIRE RESCUE SERVICE
Message from the Fire Commissioner Volunteers Needed! On behalf of the Officers, Firefighters, Fire Police and Administrative Members, Iâ€™d like to thank you for supporting Fire Rescue Service in the Township. If you are considering volunteering your time, we would like to invite you to meet with our organization to learn more about what we do. Please feel free to stop by the Fire Station or Fire Commissioner's Office to learn more about our strong values, commitment to service and professionalism. No experience is necessary and we provide all training and equipment to perform the job. If you are not interested in emergency operations we have other needs as well such as Administrative, Public Relations, Fire Prevention and Community Outreach.
New Firefighters Hired The Township of Spring Board of Supervisors approved the hiring of four additional career firefighters on August 26, 2013. Having completed a very competitive and rigorous selection and hiring process, the new firefighters are scheduled to start on September 9th 2013. This raises the total number of personnel on duty to three per shift 24 hours a day in addition to our Volunteer personnel.
Fire Prevention Tips In this edition of the Communicator you will find information on Fire Prevention Tips for residents of the Township. Please take a moment to read these life and property saving tips. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have questions or comments; my direct office number is 610-678-5393 Extension 1211. Fire Commissioner Pat Brandenburg
COMPASSION * INTEGRITY * RESPECT * SERVICE
HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY A Season for Sharing in Fire Safety Each year fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in damage. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.
Preventing Christmas Tree Fires â€˘ Christmas Tree Fire Hazards Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
FIRE RESCUE SERVICE HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY
• Selecting a Tree for the Holiday Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard. • Caring for Your Tree Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. • Disposing of Your Tree Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
Holiday Lights • Maintain Your Holiday Lights Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended Holiday Decorations • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire. • Artificial Christmas Trees If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant. Candle Care • Avoid Using Lit Candles If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning. • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches. Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan If you are interested in obtaining more information or how you can help prevent fires and fire deaths, please contact the Towns ship of Spring Fire Rescue at 610-678-5393 the non-emergency fire department's office phone number (not 911). www.springtwpberks.org
WEST SIDE REGIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY CODEREDMOBILE ALERT APP RECEIVES UPGRADE TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION Thomas Bausher, Emergency Management Coordinator West Side Regional Emergency Management Agency Serving Twp of Spring, Boroughs of Sinking Spring, West Reading, and Wyomissing 2301 Monroe Ave, West Lawn, PA 19609 phone 610.898.8060 fax 610.898.8054 email : email@example.com Residents in West Side Regional EMA, including the Boro of Sinking Spring will receive enhanced public safety alerts through the recently released version of the public safety app – CodeRED Mobile Alert. The app is provided through the WSREMA existing contract with Emergency Communications Network, LLC. The new version of the app, which is a free download for iPhone and Android subscribers, will allow residents the ability to view all active alerts for the entire country. This ability was previously limited to a 500-mile radius of the subscriber’s current location and has since been expanded to a 5,000-mile radius. As subscribers navigate to view alerts outside of the area, they now have the option to simply tap the compass icon at the bottom right hand corner of the screen to return them to their current location. The enhanced app features group badge icons on the subscriber’s setting page to alert the user to select the types of subgroup notifications available. The enhancement was made to draw attention to the subgroups of alerts available as part of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app’s highly customizable settings. To select subgroups, the user must tap on the icon, which will reveal additional alerts available. The upgraded version of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app will enhance public safety by giving subscribers the ability to see alerts outside of their current area. “If we have a resident traveling outside of the Sinking Spring or Berks County area, they can access active alerts that may have been issued in other CodeRED communities and continue to be informed. Residents who would like access to the enhanced CodeREDMobile Alert must update their current CodeRED Mobile Alert app. For iPhone subscribers, the user may visit their App Store and search for Updates. For Android subscribers, the user will receive a notification that an upgrade is available for the app. The upgraded version of the CodeCodeRED Mobile Alert app comes at no additional cost to the WSREMA current contract with Emergency Communications Network. We encourage all our residents who have smartphones to download the app. The app enables us to send notifications to only those citizens in the affected area of the alert, reducing false alarm, The app is available for a free download on the iTunes store and Google Play. For more information or to download theCodeRED Mobile Alert app, visit http://ecnetwork.com/mobile/getitnow.html.
PARKS, RECREATION & PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT In 2013 the Board of Supervisors continued to support the Departmentâ€™s Play Equipment Replacement Program with the renovation of Drexelwood Park. Two new play units where installed in April. One unit is designed for school age children (6 â€“ 12 yrs. old) and the other unit is designed to meet the needs of pre-school children. The new equipment meets the current guidelines for safety and accessibility. We encourage you to stop by and visit Drexelwood Park and try out the new equipment. The access path to Drexelwood Park is located along Wellington Boulevard and is part of the Greenways and Trails System.
Spring Township Snow Removal Program The Maintenance Staff will begin salting and cindering operations as soon as deemed necessary. Once the snow/ ice accumulates to approximately four (4) inches or more, the snow-plowing operations will begin. In order to provide space for additional snow fall, residential
areas will be plowed from curb to curb and rural roads will be plowed to the edge of the road. During storms, please keep children, pets and yourself out of the streets. Sledding in the streets is dangerous for everyone. Our staff works hard to clear the roads in a timely manner and to keep the traveling public safe.
Leaf Collection Program The Township provides leaf collection during the fall season through the first week of December, unless snow falls prior to the scheduled end date. This year, the program is tentatively scheduled to begin October 15th and conclude on December 6th. Residents should place their leaves along the curb side. Leaves placed in uniform size windrows as opposed to large piles expedite our collection since the units can continue to move forward as they are collecting the leaves. The crews will continue to rotate through the Township during the collection period. Specific collection dates cannot be set due to unforeseen weather conditions, equipment breakdowns and staffing levels. If heavy rains are predicted, we suggest you wait until after the storm passes to put your leaves in the street. Leaf piles could prevent the flow of storm water and clog storm drains.
Residents are welcomed and encouraged to take their leaves directly to the Yerger Boulevard Yard Waste Site.
We appreciate your cooperation. 9
Hey! What happened to my green light? You’re sitting at a traffic light that seems to be taking forever to turn green. Finally, it changes and you are ready to pull into the intersection when all of a sudden it changes to yellow and then turns red again. You hear an ambulance (or other emergency vehicle) approaching and see it go through the intersection you were just about to enter. You might have been left wondering what just happened. Western Berks Ambulances are equipped with a device known as a “preemptive emitter”. When our emergency lights are activated, this emitter signals a device on the traffic light (seen in the photo above the red light) that changes the traffic light to green so we can continue through the intersection safely. Basically, the emitter preempts the normal operation of the traffic signal. The use of this device enhances traffic safety for both the ambulance and conflicting traffic. Pennsylvania law requires you to move out of the way of emergency vehicles displaying emergency lights and sirens. While we do everything we can to keep everyone safe as we navigate through traffic during an emergency, you can also help by following a few guidelines when an ambulance is present: • First, DON’T PANIC!! • If you hear a siren but see nothing coming towards you, check your rearview mirror to see if the emergency vehicle is coming up behind you or if it is approaching from a side street. • Either way, plot your course to pull over to your right quickly and carefully, and allow plenty of room for the emergency vehicle to pass. • Always check your mirrors before pulling out again as there may be more emergency vehicles following. • If you are sitting in a line of traffic with nowhere to pull over, it is best to stay put and let the emergency vehicle navigate around you. • Do not make any sudden moves or turns as ambulances are very heavy vehicles and cannot stop on a dime. Always remember that emergency vehicles have the right of way. Clearing the way for them is vital as seconds count when dealing with life and death. This is a public service message from your friends at Western Berks Ambulance. 10
Zoning/ Codes Department
Township of Spring Yard Residual Collection Facilities
The Township has two locations for residents of the Township of Spring and Sinking Spring Borough (by agreement) to drop off residential yard waste; however, the sites are being abused with articles that are not yard waste. Commercial and out of town residents are also illegally dumping yard waste or rubbish and garbage. Please be aware of what can and cannot be dumped at the yard waste sites. Use of the Collection Facilities shall be by the following regulations: (Ch. XII, Section 404)
A All Yard Residuals shall be deposited directly in the areas indicated by signs B. Yard residuals hauled to the site in plastic bags must be emptied into the dumpsters or emptied at an area indicated by signs. No plastic bags are to be left at the site. Biodegradable paper bags can be placed directly into dumpsters or in an area indicate by signs. C. Only yard residuals shall be accepted at the Collection Facility. No other type of recyclable material, rubbish, trash waste, municipal waste, or garbage is accepted. D. Only residents of the Township of Spring may use the Collection Facility; (Note: See Intermunicipal Agreement Ordinance No. 343 allowing the residents of the Borough of Sinking Spring to access the Collection Facility) E. Commercial landscapers, lawn mowing companies, and other similar entities shall be prohibited from using the Collection Facilities. F. Hours of operation of the Collection Facility shall be 6:00am through 9:00pm May 1 through September 30, and 6:00am through 7:00pm October 1 through April 30.
If you see commercial contractors or illegal dumping of garbage and rubbish, please contact the Code Enforcement Department at 610-898-9142. Do not confront an illegal dumper, but do try to obtain a license plate number. Provide us a written statement or contact us by phone to provide your observation. Anonymous complaints cannot be accepted.