Residents Upset Over New Fence Around Compost Facility

Trappe's Pacer Lane homeowners attended the Borough's monthly meeting to discuss the new fence around the Collegeville-Trappe compost site located at 333 West 7th Avenue.


Several Trappe residents spoke out against the newly erected fence around the shared boroughs' compost site at the January 2, 2013 Trappe Borough meeting.

"I'm disgusted with the process," said Pacer Lane homeowner Bob Swartley. He showed a signed petition indicating that none of the homeowners around the site had been asked for input on the fencing project.

"There's been no respect for adjoining property owners," Mr. Swartley stated.

Council President Fred Schuetz said that there was a reason for the fence. There were safety and liability concerns, as well as problems with dumping on the property.

The new six-foot tall chain link fence has barbed wire laced across the top. There are also slats to be installed on the fence, with plantings planned to go around the fencing.

Homeowners informed Council that the fence does not keep the site secure as a newly installed gate is wide open and unlocked.

Councilman Paul Edwards stated that key installation will be completed on the gate by January 4th. He has also requested that Public Works remove the barbed wire by the end of the month.

"Where is the plan for this project and what is the budget?" asked an audience member. "How much has this already cost the taxpayers?"

Council was unable to answer those questions and Councilman Edwards said that he did not have that information in front of him, but that Public Works would have it.

"I'm concerned about the procedure here," said Councilman Scholl. "Where is the plan? We get an estimated cost and then go out for bid."

When asked about the budget for the landscaping around the fence, President Schuetz said that the budget has not been determined. He assured residents that they would have input and be kept informed from this point forward.

Borough Manager Jacqui Guenther reminded residents that there is a scheduled curbside Christmas tree collection on January 19. Trappe residents can take their Christmas trees to the compost site before or after that date during the site's business hours.

Bob Swartley January 04, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Thank you Joanne for educating the public to the fact that some Borough councilmen operate our local government on their own agenda and DO NOT have the taxpayers/property owners best interest at heart.
Jack Minster January 04, 2013 at 06:52 PM
A few points omitted in the article: Back in the Dec Council meeting, Edwards commented that "residents/ homeowners were involved or notified about what was taking place.” But two nights ago when shown a petition signed by affected neighbors testifying NO, we were never contacted, Edwards had no comment. At this week’s Council meeting, Bob Swartley pointedly asked Edwards which neighbors he had contacted. Edwarts did not answer. Several times Swartley accused Edwards of not contacting neighbors. Edwards did not respond. He did not apologize. Finally he blamed Joe Hastings of Public Works, that Joe "failed to do his due diligence." The post holes were dug and the barbed wire, chain link and slats were on site for installation, paid for with our water rate dollars. Because Public Works failed to apply for a fence permit until AFTER the job start, 3000' of barbed wire and 1000' of slats purchased with our dollars were disallowed by Trappe Ordinance. This fence was started with no permit, built with no plan, no budget, no public involvement. When asked by other members of Council and the audience about the total project cost to ratepayers, Edwards said he doesn’t know. Edwards also represents Trappe on the Collegeville-Trappe joint Public Works Committee. He advised anyone curious about the cost should inquire at Public Works.
Jack Minster January 04, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Apart from the obvious questions about certain elected local officials showing no regard for residents and ratepayers, I also wonder if the small gate on the far side of the site was included to appease a property owner there who admittedly drags his own leaves across his yard into the site during non-business hours. Edwards and Public Works claimed no, that this gate is for ease of grass mowing grass outside the fence. Will the homeowner get his own key? The compost site is for resident use only. I met with one home-bound neighbor who reported vehicles bearing business addresses from outside our area, dumping during normal operational hours, when Public Works personnel are on site checking IDs to ensure dumpers reside locally. Why secure the site with barbed wire fencing but then make exceptions? Also, a developer plans to erect houses next to the compost site. Edwards, Schuetz and team in the past approved the development - then tried to move the compost site from its current location out of concern for the new sub-division, to make the area more appealing to potential buyers. The developer had placed Edwards-Schuetz-Diprete-Stomel political signs on his property during their recent campaign. I’m curious if the fence and future plantings of greenery, paid for by we the ratepayers, have anything to do with this new development – especially now when for no fiscally justifiable reason, Public Works Committee just voted to increase our water rates.
Bob Swartley January 04, 2013 at 07:20 PM
I saw a landscaper with trailer in compost yesterday at 12:30 pm dumping something.The gate was locked on 7th Avenue, so they came onto the site illegally.I emailed Paul Edwards about this 24 hours ago and he has not responded.
Red Tape January 05, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Barbed wire? Why so serious? We are talking yard debris,right? Perhaps you should look at the problem another way? People are "illegally dumping" because the hours are too few and far between? The traffic congestion and safety issues, to which the maintenance department can surely attest, is another issue evolving out of the hours, which, the additional fencing surely will not help.
Jennifer January 06, 2013 at 08:02 PM
what would you rather have..an ugly fence or a Perkiomen Trail running through your back yard?
Jennifer January 06, 2013 at 08:04 PM
People illegally dump because there is no local place to dump anything for a small price..I would like to get rid of a couch..any suggestions?
Gary Hacker January 07, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Looks like politics as usual for some Trappe Boro council members! These folks as well as all government officials lose scope of the people (tax payers) for the people, by the people.
Jack Minster January 09, 2013 at 01:37 PM
$67,000 for a fence wholly unwanted by those living around it, paid for by two year's worth of the water rate increase recently levied by the Public Works committee. Something to keep in mind as we watch the water flowing down our drains, and also when deciding for which candidates to trust in future local elections.
moneybags May 22, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Just came back from the compost site, less then a year later gate left wide open 2 kids playing on one of the piles. Why is there a gate on the other side that opens up to some ones back yard. I have to tell that 67,000 for a fence was well worth it.


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