Upgrades to Old Lycoming Township shopping plaza get OK

A shopping plaza along Lycoming Creek Road likely will see some changes in the future, as Old Lycoming Township supervisors on Tuesday approved lifting a deed restriction so retailers can expand to a neighboring property.

The plan for 2062 Lycoming Creek Road is to tear down a house and build a free-standing Dollar General. Township Manager Bob Whitford noted that when the shopping center last expanded, supervisors lifted a nearly identical restriction on a property. Whitford also said the plan will involve renovating the plaza’s parking lot.

Supervisors David Shirn and Sam Aungst approved the measure. Supervisor Linda Mazzullo was absent.

In another matter involving changes to township properties, the supervisors voted to allow the owner of two parcels at 3155 Lycoming Creek Road to erase a line dividing the sites and consider the land a single parcel. The township’s planning commission previously recommended allowing the merger without any conditions.

While township supervisors opened a number of bids for road materials and preparation Tuesday night, only one was accepted. The supervisors voted to award a contract to HRI for 950 tons of paving materials at a cost of $62.30 a ton and 240 tons at a cost of $85 a ton.

“I don’t think there’s any question as far as the paving goes,” Shirn said.

Supervisors were less satisfied with bids for aggregate materials, sealcoating and a service of grinding and preparing about 5,500 square yards for future paving.

Only one bid for each of the latter two expenditures was received. Four bids were opened for the aggregate, or materials for the base of a roadway. With Whitford noting that there are no projects requiring the materials or services in the next several weeks, the supervisors tabled the bids for further research and to consider whether to re-advertise.

Residents attending the meeting raised their own concerns, with one resident questioning a $5 a month increase in sewage rates and another resident encouraging more vigorous enforcement of codes and ordinances against litter and eyesores.

Whitford said the sewage rate increase was passed in October and was necessary due to increased treatment costs. Shirn said he remains concerned by fluctuations in what the township pays for treatment and has been seeking clarification on how the charges are calculated.

“It is what it is,” Shirn said. “Unfortunately we can’t do anything about it.”

Shirn noted the township still has some of the lowest sewage rates in the county.

Whitford encouraged residents to report run-down properties neglecting the township’s codes and ordinances but cautioned that the township encounters some properties for which property owners are difficult to locate and contact. Township officials also encouraged residents to participate in cleanup week, April 23-27.

Supervisors also approved designating the Lycoming County Planning Commission to handle a tentative buyout of two properties by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Before the approval, Shirn questioned if there would be any cost to the township.

Whitford acknowledged some buyouts involve a 10-percent match from the municipality but said all the recent buyouts have been fully funded by FEMA.

“The last ones we’ve done have been all FEMA,” he said.

Whitford also said the township’s brush pile is open, and residents can pick up keys with proof of residency and a $20 deposit. He added the township is planning to place mulch at a nearby site so people can use it.

“We still want to make the mulch available 24 hours a day,” Whitford said.