Trouble brewing in Texas
HONESDALE — At Monday night's meeting of the Texas Township supervisors, issues regarding signs and certificates of occupancies were the hot topic of the night.
Grace Anderson, owner of G's Plaza on Route 6, and her attorney, Tammy Lee Clause from Greentown, shared their concerns about getting a variance hearing for an LED sign on the building.
"I feel like the ordinance is holding us back," said Clause. "My client is trying to create more business and wants to switch to an LED message board. I wrote a letter asking about a variance hearing early in November and we still haven't heard anything. When can we find out?"
"I don't want to just go out and do it," said Anderson. "I'm trying to comply with the regulations and I'm doing everything I can to do so. I came to you for help. I was misinformed of the size of signage I can have and got a letter explaining the mistake. I was told we would go through the proper format to do this right."
The misinformation she mentioned was how big the front sign could be. Anderson said she was told it could be 16 square feet, but found out that it's really 96 square feet.
The supervisors said they would discuss the situation with the zoning officer, Steve Ostrander. They promised to give Anderson and Clause some sort of answer and also asked to meet with them again. Anderson and Clause agreed.
The other hot topic was certificate of occupancies (COC). During the first public comment period, John Bartron said that the supervisors are only concerned about Rusty Palmer and his business.
Palmer owns a large recreational vehicle dealership and restaurant on Route 6 in Texas Township.
"Don you said that the only thing you had to say was that you have to be fair to Rusty Palmer," Bartron stated, addressing board chairman Don Doney. "But that was never in the November 5 meeting minutes...because that's not all you ever said."
Bartron went on to say that Palmer said he would get a certificate of occupancy "when I'm damn good and ready to."
"He's pretty cocky saying something like that," Bartron added. "You three are allowing him to continue his business without a COC. Under the UCC regulations it says his place is unsafe. Any place with a COC pulled should be closed immediately and stay closed until the problems are fixed. You aren't concerned with the public who walk into that building when it's unsafe. As supervisors you are obligated to look out for Texas Township. This all happened with the signs because it didn't conform to Rusty Palmer's demands and we went down from there. You have the final say whether you let him stay open without a COC or to shut him down to protect the citizens."
Page 2 of 2 - Resident Georgette Piscatto also spoke up.
"A lot of what is said at these meetings is substantiated and almost becomes real because it is printed," she said. "I want to see if you can say something about whether things are true or not true."
Doney said that Palmer has a temporary COC.
"He's making progress," he said. "You don't want any of those employees out of a job."
"The COC has been removed," added Ostrander.
He said that was as of six months ago.
"What makes Rusty so special?" Clause called out. "Why does he get an exception?"
"He's open without a COC and I've been waiting nine months to get an answer about my signs?" Anderson commented. "This feels personal."
"He is working on getting the building in shape," said Ostrander.
Supervisor Rich Southerton wanted some clairfication.
"Did anybody ask you to shut him down?" he asked. Ostrander shook his head no. "So you, yourself make the decision to enforce this or not." Ostrander nodded yes.
After speaking with Palmer on Tuesday, he says he does have a temporary COC.
"If I didn't have one, I wouldn't be in business right now," he said.
Wayne Earley issued the COC that Palmer currently has. Earley worked as zoning officer in Texas Township for many years.
"Things are going a lot better than they were a month ago," Palmer added. "We just can't have fighting every time we try to get things done. The planning commission didn't work with us at all."
The supervisors voted to reappoint Timothy Moffatt for another five-year term on the central sewer board.
The millage for the 2013 budget will stay the same and it will be available for the public to view until Dec. 27 when it will be adopted.