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Newton supervisor threatens to push resident through windows

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Newton supervisor threatens to push resident through windows

Postby Admin » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:36 pm

Township resident Sal Pileggi and founder of the NewtonPA.com information website was asking questions about the Township’s land use plan.  After about 5 minutes Supervisor Ronald Koldjeski told Pileggi that he was wasting too much of their time causing the discussion to get heated and then Koldjeski threatened to push Pileggi through the windows.  The details follow.

This is not an all-inclusive transcript but are some of the highlights of the Newton Township supervisors meeting of December 13, 2010.  The parties to the discussion unless otherwise noted are Township resident Mr. Sal Pileggi and Newton Township supervisors, Mr. John Pardue, Mr. Ronald Koldjeski and Mr. Douglas Pallman.

01:30 Announcement of conditional use hearing to be held on December 29, at 7PM for Scranton Sheet Metal, Inc. Discussion, president of Scranton Sheet metal not available on that date.  Hearing already advertised.  Solicitor will see if they can send someone in place of the president.

Discussion regarding the 2010 budget.
04:20 Pileggi raised concern that the budget was not made available to the public on the Township’s website and there was discussion about it and related costs.

07:40 Pileggi asked what is the solicitor and engineer hourly rate. $210 & $225 respectively.

10:29 Pileggi objected to the Township paying South Abington for police because it was financially irresponsible since part-time officers could be hire for far less.  Objected was noted.

Discussion moved to SAPA Scranton Abington Planning Association land use plan.  Note: While it is still called SAPA, Scranton rejected the plan on June 22, 2010 and is not part of it.

11:20 Pileggi ask supervisors if they own land in the Township.  None of the supervisors own any land other than the lots that their home is on.

12.04 Pardue stated that his family owns land that is all in green space.  They intend to do nothing with it and preserve it.  Pileggi asked if there was any tax benefit and Koldjeski (Koldjeski is deputy director of Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau) said that there is no clean and green in Lackawanna County.

14:53 Pallman stated that the Pallman farm was is South Abington.  There was some discussion regarding the accuracy of land use map, as it appeared to show the farm in Newton.  Pallman stated that he is not on the deed and did not know if the farm is in Newton.

16:02 Pardue asked Pileggi where are we going with this and Pileggi replied that the plan affects the landowners.

16:14 Koldjeski asked Pileggi how the plan affects the landowners of the Township and said that Mr. Pileggi was wasting a lot of their time. (Discussion got heated) with Pileggi telling Koldjeski you will not push me around.

16.45 Koldjeski threatened to push Mr. Pileggi through the windows.  Because he is tired of hearing all around town, that Pileggi is accusing them of making backroom deals.  Pileggi accused Koldjeski of slandering him by saying that he owed the Township money and Koldjeski denied it.  (The two of them went at it some more)

18:02 (Order was restored) Mr. Pardue asked Pileggi why he asked him about owning land in the Township.  Pileggi discussed the land use plan and restrictions that would have a negative financial impact on farmers and landowners and asked what they are proposing as a minimum lot size.

20:16 Mr. Pardue stated the same that our ordinances calls for now.  He went on to say the land use plan is only a suggestion.  Can go by suggestion or go by what we have now.

20:39 Mr. Koldjeski stated the original SAPA plan call for restrictions and that that they did not want to restrict farmers and landowners from developing their land however they see fit.  And that the Newton Zoning and subdivision ordinances would take precedence over the SAPA plan.  Pardue interjected that the only thing the SAPA plan does for us is allow us to keep manufacturing out by sending it to south Abington.  They can’t take us to court because they can go to South Abington.

22:37 Pallman said the plan is not a zoning ordinance or land development ordinance it is a comprehensive plan.

23:40 Pileggi asked, are you saying that all of the current uses that are permitted in agriculture area will remain the same.  Koldjeski said “yes, I’ll say it absolutely” Pardue said “the day they take that away from us will be the day we pull out of SAPA.”  Pallman stated, we can pull out of SAPA at any time.

30:13 Pileggi pointed out that the SAPA plan says that anybody can withdraw at any time but SAPA has no authority because the Municipality Planning code prohibits any municipality from withdrawing or repealing from the joint zoning ordinances for 3 years.  The supervisors agreed but that if they don’t like the joint zoning ordinance they can get out before the plan is in effect.

There was much more discussions regarding landowners property being designates as open space and resources conservation areas and restrictions that it would impose on landowners.

43:32 Pardue asked if anyone has any questions on the 2011 budget.  Pileggi stated that he could not comment on the budget because he didn’t see it and that it was inexcusable that the budget was not available on the Township website.  Pileggi’s concern was noted and with no other comments, the budget was passed by 3-0.
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Re: Newton supervisor threatens to push resident through windows

Postby Sal » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:07 pm

Some comments about the December 13 meeting.

Supervisor Pardue said the only thing that the plan does for us is keep manufacturing out of Newton.  If that is all it does, it is not worth the risks.  It is not true that Newton can’t be taken to court because manufacturing can go to South Abington as Mr. Pardue said.  Municipalities that have joint zoning can and are taken to court over land use.  

In addition, the PA Attorney General has sued many municipalities that have joint zoning and the reason is, after they implement the zoning restrictions, they start interfering with farms.  While the Attorney General has been successful at protecting the farmers from illegal ordinances, the devaluation of the farmer’s land, which helps put the farmer out of business, has not yet been addressed.

Newton has an area zoned for manufacturing.  If Newton removes that zone and SAPA breaks up, then it would have to make a new spot for manufacturing and that would be disruptive to the Township.  I never heard of any problems with manufacturing in Newton and if someone wants to put up a shop, the Township should be grateful because it would generate tax revenue and create jobs.  Therefore, there is no benefit to keeping manufacturing out and I concur with North Abington and Scranton that there is no benefit to SAPA.

North Abington truly cared about the people in their township and got out because they know how to read and the SAPA plan is full of restrictions that would harm the people and the township.  Newton supervisors say one thing but they adopted the same plan that is full of restrictions.  So, what are people suppose to believe.  The Newton supervisors should not have adopted a plan that clearly calls for a multitude of restrictions on Newton if they do not intend to implement those restrictions as they say.
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