HONESDALE — Debate continues on the configuration of the intersection of 4th and Main streets as it relates to the CVS Pharmacy project.
A special meeting of the Honesdale Borough council was held Monday to discuss a response from the borough to the proposal sent by CVS.
The intersection has been a subject of great controversy in recent weeks with the borough voteing 4-3 to let the company go ahead with the project. In doing so, CVS is actually operating with an old design for the intersection. That design did not including purchasing a small piece of property at the intersection in order to widen the turning radius from Main to southbound 4th Street.
Instead, the council signed a development agreement with CVS saying the company would, in good faith, redesign the intersection to meet the requirements of the borough.
That plan, though, has to be approved by PennDOT and if it is not, CVS is held harmless and can use the original plan.
During Monday's meeting, Mary Bogart of Bogart Engineering outlined several concerns she has regarding the latest plans submitted by CVS.
Bogart is the engineer hired by the borough to work with CVS on the project.
In a letter dated Monday to the council, she outlined several areas of concern and then addressed those with members of the council at the meeting.
One of the major issues is the fact the plan submitted to Bogart by CVS does not show the entire intersection of Fourth and Main streets.
"This plan should verify that the truck template is within the pavement area, and should verify that the stop bar for the left lane of eastbound Fourth Street is adjacent to the stop bar for the right lanes," she wrote in the letter.
"This is a major issue," said councilman Bob Jennings, chairman of the borough safety committee. "I am disappointed it wasn't shown."
In fact, Jennings said because of that, the borough sill hasn't received "the full set of plans from CVS," something he said violates the development agreement.
Jennings raised that very issue during last week's council meeting and made a motion to void the agreement because the drawings were not supplied.
But that motion failed 4-3 and led to Monday's special meeting of the council.
During that meeting, Bogart also addressed several other issues she thinks CVS should answer before presenting it to PennDOT.
One has to do with a planned curb which will be on Main Street. Bogart said that curb needs to have a handicapped ramp which leads to 191 South, which is Fourth Street.
Even though there is no sidewalk on that street, she said having the ramp should be incorporated into the plans. That would mean a ramp from Main Street into the vicinity of the Meagher (Remax) parking lot at that corner.
Page 2 of 3 - "You don't have to continue the sidewalk, but you have to make a ramp," said Bogart.
That ramp also needs to be shown on the drawings in correlation to the relocated pole, she said.
Another issue relates to the pedestrian push button on the north side of the traffic signal pole. The drawings are not showing that button within 10 inches of the landing area, which is now required by PennDOT.
She is asking that CVS "verify" the push button will be in compliance.
Another issue raised by Bogart has to do with the right-of-way area at the new intersection.
The proposal is for CVS to purchase a small amount of the Meagher property at the intersection.
According to Bogart, PennDOT requires the right-of-way line to be two feet behind the curb.
She said CVS is asking for a "maintenance agreement," which could mean the handicapped ramps are on private property.
That, she said, raises many questions.
Bogart suggested the borough solicitor should be consulted on this matter.
"The solicitor and PennDOT should be consulted to determine if the proposed handicap ramps must be within a right-of-way or easement area, instead of on private property, as shown," she wrote in the letter.
"Generally, we, as engineers, like to keep ramps within the right-of-way," Bogart told the council.
The legal issues are her main concern.
"What if somebody trips here, what happens?" she said.
During discussion, council president F.J. Monaghan suggested the comments from Bogart be incorporated in a letter to CVS.
He said that letter had to be sent electronically on Monday in order to meet the seven-day requirement as outlined in the development agreement.
That came on the heels of a dispute last week among council members, some of which said CVS had agreed to provide documents with 14 days of the agreement but that did not happen.
Some argued it was "working days" though that was not outlined in the agreement.
The suggestion by Monaghan indicated on the part of the borough, anyway, it would be seven consecutive days, not working days. The council received the drawings the previous Monday.
He said during the meeting that "... our seven days are up."
Monaghan also said CVS officials indicated they wanted to meet with officials from the borough and PennDOT in the next week or so "to go over the plans."
Bogart reminded Monaghan and the council that there are "two sets of plans."
One of those is the original plans CVS had proposed and which were eventually approved by the borough on the condition of entering into the development agreement.
Page 3 of 3 - The other set of plans are those which she said are still not completed because the entire intersection is not shown.
Jennings said he felt the council should have a public meeting with CVS and PennDOT officials because of the safety issues involved.
"I think this is of great public interest," said Jennings. "I think the entire council should be here. It should be an open meeting with the officials."
But councilman Scott Smith said he was unsure if there is a "great deal to be gained" in having a public meeting at that time.
Councilman Harry DeVrieze said it was his understanding borough officials were asked to be at a meeting in Dunmore with representatives from CVS and PennDOT.
He also said he was told that meeting "may or may not happen" sometime in late January.
Bogart agreed, saying in many cases, PennDOT takes a little more time and it could take place sometime in early February.
It was suggested by Smith the comments from Bogart be incorporated into a letter to send to CVS. Councilman Jim Brennan suggested that letter should "endorse Mary's comments."
Bogart told the council they should ask CVS to "be ready" to discuss the new plans when meeting with PennDOT because the meeting "would be more productive."
In the end it was decided to compose the letter Monday afternoon and send it to CVS.
In another matter related to this issue, Jennings said he wanted to clarify something around the issue of when this entire matter came to the surface.
"This came up in August," said Jennings about the concerns regarding the intersection. "It was not with the previous council."
He said he first talked with Bogart about the issue in August. Jennings said "some" people had indicated the matter was brought up more than a year ago and that was simply not the case.
"Safety is very important in this entire matter," said Jennings.
Monaghan said, "I don't think there is any feeling Mary has not done her job."
"I believe your concerns are wholeheartedly in the best interest of Honesdale and its citizens," said Mayor Ed Langendoerfer.