Kyma’s traffic impact fee upheld

By on October 24, 2012

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

By a 2-1 vote, East Cocalico Township supervisors upheld the $28,633 traffic impact fee which George and Nick Barakos appealed at a long (119 minutes), Oct. 3rd hearing.

Alan Fry, casting the dissenting vote at the supervisors Oct. 17 meeting, asked during the supervisor’s deliberation, "Can the fee be deferred?"

Attorney Joselle Cleary explained it legally needed to be assessed or not assessed.

That was the question the hearing needed to answer.

"I feel we have treated everyone fairly," said supervisor Noelle Fortna. "We have not assessed seasonal seating. When additions are made which can extend the season, then we look again at the situation."

After the decision was delivered, Tony Luongo, zoning officer, said that if the Barakos brothers had applied for a building permit before starting construction on their deck improvement, he would have reiterated this impact fee process.

What struck me," Chairman Doug Mackley noted, "is that the expert witness, Greg Bogia, P.E., PTOE, (called by Wyomissing attorney, James Gavin, representing Kyma) looked at the traffic impact fee like a tax and said that it should have been assessed in 2011 when the 74 additional seats on the deck were added."

"State law says that you can go back and collect the tax if you’ve found you’ve erred," he said. "We will not make exceptions. We will treat everyone equally."

East Cocalico historically has not collected the traffic impact fee on a seasonal deck which can only be used during approximately 12 to 16 weeks of the year.

Township engineer Scott Russell testified that a calculation for seasonal seating is not found in the state manual which dictates how a traffic impact fee is calculated.

In every case where a deck addition has occurred, the township has indicated to business owners that further improvements, such as a roof covering, could trigger a traffic impact fee.

The room was filled with supporters of the Barakos brothers. Questions about Kyma were not permitted because the Oct. 3 hearing was concluded.

Following the supervisors vote, George Barakos approached the front of the meeting room and, in a loud voice said, "Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot for helping our business."

Nick Barakos, who had testified extensively at the Oct. 3 hearing, left the room, followed by George and most of the audience, who came for this one issue.

Nick Barakos’s prior testimony stated the deck cover at Kyma is an awning, not a roof. While the covering can be taken down, the business intended to allow it to stay up. Two sides would get "shades" to keep wind gusts out. The Kurtz Road side of the deck would remain open.

Township officials view the overhead protection as a "roof" and think that the roof and the addition of a dozen heaters extends the use of the deck past what is traditionally seasonal.

The $28,633 traffic impact fee is legally due to East Cocalico Township and can be collected at this time.

In other business:

? Waivers, modifications and deferrals were granted to two land parcels of the Ansel Family Trust.

? Morganshire Phases 2 and 3 received a reduction in escrow, if all conditions are met.

? High Concrete’s letter of credit was released with the completion of their two projects.

? The Veterans Monument was moved from in front of the Comfort Inn (formerly Holiday Inn) to the Turkey Hill property across the street at the intersection of Denver Road and Route 272. A re-dedication ceremony will be held Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

"There will be a long list at the ceremony of people and companies to thank for donations to make this move happen," Luongo said.

? Police Chief George Beever noted that "Between 15 and 20 percent of DUIs are due to drivers being under the influence of a controlled substance. This is not necessarily an increase. This is a compliment to our officers, who are very good at detecting this."

The chief cited an example of an officer observing a car going the opposite direction of his cruiser on Route 272. Observing the odor of the smoke coming from an open window of the car passing him, the officer correctly identified it as marijuana and stopped the vehicle, resulting in an arrest.

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