Improvements

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Two engineers from Borton-Lawson Engineering, the firm Fairview Township hired to assist it in preparing an annual report required by the state, as well as a representative of the county’s Conservation District, spoke to about a dozen residents as well as township supervisors at the meeting. The experts explained the importance of the stormwater and sewer regulations and what both the township and the public can to do protect the waterways that the runoff leads into.

New equipment was purchased for the Fairview Township Police Station this year, giving officers better security and communications. The equipment included a new police radio, video surveillance system, and door access system, furnished by CK Alarm Systems, in Mountain Top.

Wright Township

The expansion and renovation to the Wright Township municipal building began this year with Champion Builders, of Kingston, undertaking the $954,000 project. The expansion is to include the construction of a new 1,677 square-foot police station, connected to the east side of the municipal building, which will be atop a lower level, where three additional bays will be built for the public works department.

The majority of the project will be paid for from a $710,000 gaming grant and Wright Township will pay for the remainder. The improvements to the 45-year-old municipal building are expected to be completed by next year.

Wright Township also began the first steps in updating its comprehensive plan this year. Funded by the Luzerne County Office of Community Development, the new plan will outline goals for community development, including areas such as transportation, land use, recreation, utilities, and housing.

In November, supervisors in Wright Township solicited opinions from residents about their hopes for the future of the area by randomly mailing out surveys. The suggestions that residents made in the surveys are to be used to draft the new comprehensive plan.

Jack Varaly, who was hired to draft the new plan, will present the survey results to supervisors, collect further opinions from both supervisors and the public at a public hearing, and later write the new plan which should be adopted next year.

The township began using a new recycling compactor earlier this year and, Zampetti reported, it has saved the township money because it reduces the volume of recyclables. Before the compactor, about four dumpsters, at a cost of $36 each, were hauled away with recyclables each week. Now, the same amount of materials fit into one dumpster.

The new machine, at the recycling drop-off center behind the municipal building, crushes glass, plastics and newspaper. Tin and cardboard are placed in separate bins.

“It’s much more organized and efficient,” Zampetti related, adding that the reduction in the number of dumpsters needed has freed two bays in the recycling center for other use.

In July, the Wright Township Zoning Board granted St. Jude’s Catholic Church a special exception and two variances for the construction of a new church, near the existing one at the intersection of Route 309 and Church Road. With the zoning board clearance, the church is now working with the township’s planning board on the project. Construction should begin next spring and completion is expected by June of 2017.

The building of a new church is necessary with the growth of Mountain Top’s population and St. Jude’s congregation, Rev. Joseph Evanko told the board then. Simply renovating or expanding the current church, built in 1953, would cost more than building a new church, he said.

The current church has 550 seats and the new one would have 750 seats. It will also be constructed to unify the parishioners, he said, as all seats will face the altar, rather than the current L-shape that divides the congregation in two. Also, with a larger church, fewer masses will need to be held each weekend.

The special exception was for the construction of a church in an area zoned residential. Since the church has been there for 62 years, it was found that constructing a new one would not alter the character of the neighborhood.

The zoning board granted the project a parking variance, allowing nine-feet wide parking spaces instead of the 10 that the law requires. The second variance granted was for the church and lot to cover 43-percent impervious surface; the law allows for a maximum of 30-percent coverage, but engineers proved the variance would not negatively affect the property.

Wright Township had a successful summer park program with Brianna Burford as director. The summer park program was attended by 56 children this year.