Moving forward with considerable difficulty to conduct township business with heavy hearts, Richland Township has approved a truck restriction ordinance that is related to the controversial proposed reopening of the quarry in neighboring East Rockhill.
The township also approved for advertising an update to its ordinance governing “transient merchants,” to further restrict door-to-door soliciting.
At the outset of the March 11 public board of supervisors meeting, Supervisors Tim Arnold and Tim Ritter mourned the untimely death of young township road crew member and friend Erich Sprague. Ritter read similar sentiments in abstentia from Supervisor Rick Orloff.
Sprague, hired three years ago, left a wife and two children. The township’s American flag will fly at half staff for the week, per federal guidelines allowing that for police and other municipal employees.
The new, quarry-related truck ordinance, carefully in the works for several months to help promote enforceability, features a new weight restriction of five tons for vehicles traveling on segments of Rockhill Road, Rich Hill Road, and Muskrat Road, while also providing for stiff fines for violations. Exceptions for school buses, emergency vehicles, and local deliveries are still allowed.
A comprehensive traffic engineering study by the township’s engineering firm had noted deficient cartway width and the absence of shoulders, as well as deficient pavement subbase material and other issues, that would create problems from heavy truck use.
Last November, supervisors rejected a request from quarry representatives for a no-obligation, quarry-supported study by the township engineer, to determine what measures might be taken to change township roads to make them more suitable for the heavy truck traffic the quarry would require. Meanwhile, the quarry reopening is being challenged in federal court.
The transient merchant ordinance update includes revised allowed door-to-door soliciting hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday, to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It also updates background check requirements to feature an FBI background check obtained by the merchant, and establishes a “do not solicit” list for residents to prohibit soliciting at their address. Permit requirement exceptions include “farmers selling their own produce, and persons engaged in any religious or political activity that does not involve the sale of goods or merchandise.”
The revision was initiated as a response to complaints from residents. Supervisor Ritter praised the township’s ordinance review committee and solicitor for quick work on the matter.
Also at the March 11 meeting, supervisors remained cool to a revised sketch plan for a now 97-unit development off Route 309 near Reservoir Road. While discussion featured what the township might receive in exchange for increased burden on township services, concern was especially related to its location at the edge of what the township’s comprehensive plan presently defines as outside the growth area for planned development.
Later in the meeting, Land Preservation Chair Kathy Fedorocsko noted there were other areas in the township wide open for development, while officials agreed in any event that the circa 2007 plan was ready for an update, and the process was begun.