RANSOM TWP. - At the beginning of the Ransom Township Supervisors meeting May 6, under public comment, attendees discussed the recent decision of the supervisors to move the public comment section of the agenda from the end of each meeting to the beginning. Resident Bill Auriemma said he feels it should be at the end where it used to be, because it’s difficult to comment on something that has not yet been discussed.
Supervisor Dennis Macheska said the intention is for attendees to read the items on the agenda before the meeting begins in order to find out what is planned for discussion. Then they will be able to ask questions and make comments when it’s time for public comment.
Auriemma replied, “It’s a lot easier to talk about it than to read about it.”
Macheska pointed out they had discussed this at the previous meeting and even asked for a show of hands among residents to see how many preferred public comment at the beginning as opposed to the end. More people preferred the beginning.
Township Solicitor Edmund Scacchitti explained the idea was his, and the reasoning behind it was that people do not tend to show up to Wednesday work sessions, where issues are discussed the most. He said at the last work session the board drafted a peddling and soliciting ordinance, which was advertised, but no residents were in attendance.
In order for the supervisors to listen to the opinions and answer the questions of residents regarding the ordinance before voting, public comment would have to be made at the beginning, not the end, when it would be too late.
“It makes no sense to hear comments after voting,” he said.
Auriemma suggested allowing for public comment scattered throughout the middle of the meeting on the question before votes are made. Scacchitti said that is reserved for the board members and to open it to the public would prolong meetings.
The supervisors said they will take Auriemma’s concerns under advisement
Auriemma also inquired about land on Main Street in Ransom, formerly a quarry, that was purchased several years ago by the township. He asked if the supervisors had thought about selling it for a profit, adding he was not sure why the property was purchased in the first place.
Supervisor David Bird said they are not necessarily considering selling the property, but are looking into ways to make money, such as using it to generate solar energy.
Resident Bud Stann said he feels the land was a good investment and will be worth even more 30 years down the road.
“No one will ever persuade me that that’s a bad investment,” he said.
Stann also commented in regard to a longstanding issue with an exposed gas line running across a creek on his property. He said the company, UGI, visited him two days prior with the final plans to fix the problem, and the work should be started soon during this low-water season.
Resident Hank Rowinski asked for update on the proposed land development plan for a shooting range by Ransom Recreational Shooting Sports.
Macheska read a letter dated April 25 from the company to the township Planning Commission in regard to a fencing ordinance. The letter stated the current plans meet all the requirements. It was noted, however, this is Planning commission business, not supervisors.
Macheska also outlined another letter received by the supervisors from the same company requesting a formal ruling on several issues Scacchitti said he feels a formal ruling from supervisors at this point would be premature, because no recommendation has been given yet from the Planning Commission.
Other items discussed at the meeting included the Peddling and Soliciting ordinance and resolution, in which the board voted in favor; a misunderstanding which was worked out between a resident and the township zoning officer; the staff reports and minutes from the previous meeting.
It was noted the next regular meeting will be held June 3 at the Mount Dewey Community Hall.