State still considering 'Cutoff' deal
Other news from Apr. 23 council meeting

From left, Councilman Tom Walsh, Attorney Fred Semrau, Mayor Janis McGovern, Administrator Diana Francisco, and Deputy Mayor Dolores Blackburn listen to infrastructure concerns from resident Ray Doidge at Andover Township's Council Meeting, Monday April 23. Photo by Mandy Coriston

By Mandy Coriston
Andover Township — Residents will have to wait a while longer for the details of the deal needed to move forward with the proposed rail station at the Lackawanna Cutoff. At the Township’s council meeting held Monday April 23, Township Attorney Fred Semrau said, “The draft has been sent to New Jersey Transit and the agreement has already been made with the landowner.”
Semrau expressed optimism that the deal will be finalized shortly.
“We’ve come a long way since the state was looking to approve $800,000 to completely change the route of the railbed, to get to where we are. This is the last step,” he said.
The agreement will be considered complete once it receives final approval from New Jersey Transit.
“The deal is moving forward,” Mayor Janis McGovern said, noting that the council had had a conference call with NJ Transit earlier in the day. “We should be announcing all the details at the next meeting.”
That council meeting is slated for May 14. Residents in attendance Monday night seemed encouraged by the news that the agreement is indeed close to being in place.
In other matters, township resident Ray Doidge inquired regarding bringing natural gas to Lake Lenape.
Doidge, who lives on Old Creamery Rd., was curious as to why Elizabethtown Gas, which ran a pipeline along Limecrest Rd. within the township, had not offered service branching off Limecrest Road up into Lake Lenape, and likewise, up Skytop Rd. near Lake Iliff.
“If service was offered, I would be interested; so would other Lake Lenape residents. It would save us a lot of money.” Doidge said. “We pay a lot in taxes, and to get something back would be nice. If it could be tied in with Lake Lenape water improvements, it would really do a lot for the infrastructure around the lake.”
Councilmembers suggested that Elizabethtown Gas may find it cost prohibitive to run new natural gas lines through the rocky substrate in that part of the township. Councilman Tom Walsh offered to take action by reaching out to Elizabethtown Gas and contacting John Drake of the county Economic Development Council to see if he can find a definitive answer to Doidge’s question.
In business news, Mayor McGovern announced that the planned Pace Glass recycling plant on Limecrest Road will break ground on May 1. The facility will be built on property previously owned by Limestone Quarry Developers and, once in operation, will serve as a processing plant for glass collected regionally.
Deputy Mayor Dolores Blackburn reported that the final permit approvals have been given to A&G Pizza to demolish and rebuild on the site of Max’s Station House, at the corner of Newton-Sparta and Lawrence roads. The local pizzeria chain purchased the property after the death of Max’s owner Joan Waldron in 2016. A new two-story restaurant is planned, to be built on the footprint of the current structure.
The council also voted Monday night to approve two new ordinances. The first vote was to approve an addition to the town’s abandoned property ordinance and outline a fee schedule for registration of properties known to be abandoned. The second vote amended requirements and fees for fireworks permits within the township.
The Recreation Committee has finalized the date for this year’s Andover Township Day as Saturday June 2, 2018, to be held at Hillside Park.
The DPW reported that it removed an ash tree at the park due to damage from emerald ash borer, an invasive species of insect. They are working in conjunction with JCP&L to monitor, treat, or remove affected ash trees throughout the town. Councilman Ellsworth Bensley reported that the firehouse renovations remain on track and that the Lakeland Emergency Squad has been working on their building as well, installing new LED lighting as a cost-cutting and energy-saving measure.
Mayor McGovern also reported that The Greater Andover Seniors were recently treated to a presentation by ATPD Chief Eric Danielson about the dangers of phone and email scams. The club also named Joyce Smith as Andover Senior of the Year. She will be honored with a luncheon at the Seniors’ next meeting on May 7th. Also of note, the town will be collaborating with the Sussex County Technical School to design and manufacture new “Welcome to Andover” signs to be installed at the town’s borders. The council hopes to unveil the proposed logo next month.
As a reminder to residents, FREE child safety seat checks will be performed on Friday, April 27, from 1-4 p.m. at Gary’s Service Center, 222 Newton-Sparta Rd. across from the Florence M. Burd elementary school.