Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Four Interviewed for New Hanover Board Vacancy

Charles D. Garner Jr. resigned from the New Hanover Township Board of Supervisors last last month.

Four applicants for the vacancy on the New Hanover Township Board of Supervisors were publicly interviewed Monday night in alphabetical order.

Former supervisor Charles D. Garner Jr., announced his resignation in May and the supervisors officially accepted his letter earlier this month.

Supervisors Chairman Kurt Zebrowski said the vote to the fill the vacancy will happen at the Thursday, July 1 meeting.

Four people applied to fill the seat for the six months remaining, including Keith Youse, the retired township police officer who leveled charges of racism within the department and who won both the Republican and Democratic primary elections last month.

His opponent, Greg Maskrey, also applied, as did William Moyer, the retired police sergeant who was among those Youse and another former officer accused of making racist remarks. The fourth candidate was Sharon Hoffman, who was interviewed first.

Sharon Hoffman introduces herself to the supervisors.
Hoffman is the president of the homeowners association at the problematic Windlestrae subdivision, which regularly experiences stormwater problems, which is perhaps why she identified stormwater as one of the biggest issues facing the township.

Hoffman, who serves on the township's parks and recreation committee, said she and her husband moved from Hatfield after it became overdeveloped, and they wanted a more rural setting.

Now, Hoffman said she worries the same thing may happen to New Hanover. 

The township, she said, "needs more amenities, not just homes all over the place. Development needs to be strictly controlled."

Greg Maskrey during his interview.
Maskrey, who has lived in the township for 44 years and has served on the zoning hearing board for seven of those years, agreed that development and stormwater are the township's top issues.

"We have to hold the developers to the standards," he said, noting that some residents of the Woodfield subdivision "are being told they need to have flood insurance. That's not right."

Maskrey, who retired as the second-in-command of the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department, worked at the Pottstown Borough codes department and then for 10 years as an investigator for Diamond Credit Union, also served on the township's emergency services board.

A regular at township meetings, "including some where I've thrown stones at the board," Maskrey said, "I figured it's my turn to stand up."

William Moyer addresses the board of supervisors
The third applicant also retired as the second in command of a local police department. William Moyer, who is also the fire chief at the New Hanover Fire Company, told the board what they well knew, that he "retired honorably on Christmas 2020."

"New Hanover is special," he said, saying its rural nature must be preserved. However, he also added "being mindful of people's right, we need to steer the township in the right direction."

He added his voice to the chorus of applicants saying development and stormwater are two of the biggest issues facing the township.

"We can't stop growth, but we can control it and manage it," Moyer said. "Developers come in and do what they feel they need to do, and they're gone and we have to deal with what comes afterward."

What often comes afterward is flooding, he said. Noting that he is certified in swift water rescue, Moyer said "the water I've seen here in the last two years scares the hell out of me."

Keith Youse addresses the supervisors.
Youse told the board he also believes development and stormwater are major issues for New Hanover

Noting that "the township has grown exponentially," Youse added that he knows a building moratorium is not feasible, "but let's slow things down a bit."

Youse also advocated for better involvement with the community, saying technology allows the township meetings to be livestreamed, or at least recorded. He got some pushback from Zebrwoski who argued that the best feedback for the supervisors, is the live back-and-forth at a meeting.

"I don't just want to see someone sitting at home, watching the meeting, instead of participating in it," Zebrowski said. "What do you say to the single parent who is running their children around and doesn't have time to come to a meeting?" Youse responded. "They still want to know what's going on."

One resident told the supervisors she has a long commute and listens to the Boyertown School Board meetings during the commute, and "I'm excited Keith won the election."

Youse told another resident he could not regularly attend meetings because of the possible conflict it would create with his job as a police officer. He also told the board that despite winning the election, if they choose someone else he's fine with. "Just keep the seat warm for me."

Several other news of interest occurred at the meeting, including a raise for the township manager, but you'll have to wait for further reporting on that, or, you could click here to read all the Tweets from last night's meeting.

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