Material Distributor Approved for Silver Lake Road Site

Material Distributor Approved for Silver Lake Road Site
by Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, June 21, 2018 – Pike County Dispatch

DINGMANS FERRY – A thermal processing materials distributor with a corral of signature customers that includes NASA, Sony, Honeywell and Rolls Royce is relocating from Port Jervis to 523 Silver Lake Road for a planned early fall opening.

The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors approved Dingmans Ferry resident Jeffrey Opitz, owner of applicant Cera Materials, to move forward after a conditional use joint hearing during last week’s meeting.  The three supervisors, Township Administrator Krista Predmore and township Solicitor Thomas Farley were joined at the head table during the hearing by four of the seven members of the township Planning Commission, including Chairman Len Glamann, Vice Chairman Ron Hough and members LoriAnn Hynes and Robyn Eldred, as well as township engineer Jon Tressler of Boucher & James.

Opitz also is a member of the Planning Commission, but Farley made it clear at the meeting that Opitz was appointed after submitting a letter of interest long after he had applied for the conditional use permit.  Opitz recused himself from the Planning Commission during meetings it had held on the application.

The condition use calls for a PennDot Highway Occupancy Permit approval and to include in the deed indicating the easement of two lots included in the 11.47 acre parcel.  The business will take over and restore two buildings for its use on the property, a 45-year old pole barn on one lot that will house office staff and a 5,000 square foot building previously used as a lumberyard that will serve as Cera’s warehouse on the adjoining lot.  Opitz is linking the two lots that were indicated on a subdivision map drawn in 1984 that was presented at the hearing. 

“I think it’s good to take buildings already existing and utilize them,” commented Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson of the approval after the meeting. 

Opitz has four full-time employees for his distributorship, which handles more than 20 products such as graphite carbon insulation, graphite insulation customized shapes and specialty felt for batteries.  Other clients include Stanley Black & Decker, Space X, Kenna Metal and Milwaukee Tools in what Opitz said during the hearing is a “pretty diverse customer base” from aerospace to concentrated heat testings and homeowner applications such as material for wood-burning stoves.

During his testimony at the hearing Opitz handed out samples of his products to the supervisors said that his company is strictly business-to-business with not retail sale to the public.  “In no way are we a manufacturer or fabricator.  We’re strictly a distributor,” Opitz said.

He said the products are non-hazardous and safe to ship in a high transportation environment.

“we hope to have it opened by September,” said Opitz, a graduate of Delaware Valley High School and the University of Pittsburgh who worked for the company for three years before taking ownership a year ago.  “For me, it’s really great to move my business to a place where I rode back and forth on the school bus every day.”

Opitz credits a solid staff and “smart digital marketing” as keys to his company getting well established and his quick ascent to ownership.

The supervisors voted their unanimous approval as the half-hour hearing ended and then gave approval again when the regular meeting resumed.  No residents or members of the Planning Commission offered testimony or criticisms during the hearing.

Tresslar said two minor comments raised in a letter from his offices to Cera on May 1 were addressed and resolved satisfactorily.

Milford attorney Doug Jacobs during the hearing questioned site engineer Gene Ruzanski of Schoenagel & Schoenagel in Greentown as well as Opitz about plan specifics for the business.

Opitz said there would be no additional construction, just improving the existing building conditions, which he said includes painting, resolving mold issues, insulation, HVAC, new walls and floors and bathroom facilities.  “You name it,”  Opitz said with a smile. 

Ruzanski said when asked by Jacobs that the business would not jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of township residents.  He also answered that the amount of truck traffic involved would not congest roads and no traffic impact report has been requested. A roadway on the property to what would be the warehouse would adequately accommodate large trucks entering and leaving for pickups and deliveries.

Ruzanski said, when asked by Jacobs, that only two exterior lights would be needed – one per building.  He said soil erosion would not be an issue and no landscaping or conservation is required.

Henderson noted afterward that large tractor-trailers would be driving into the property but shrugged off any concern whether it would become a traffic issue.


Also at a meeting, Supervisor Jane Neufeld announced that the board was informed that efforts by state Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-189, and the Pike County Road Task Force has led to PennDot’s commitment to make needed road repairs at the intersection of Route 739 and Milford Road/State Route 2001 and for the badly rutted Milford Road section from Silver Lake Road to the Lehman Township road widening construction site.  “This will be more than pothole patching,” said Neufeld.

The board also approved Predmore, Administrative/Human Resources Assistant Robin Jones and road master Vincent Flatt attending a Hazardous Weather and Flooding Preparedness session on July 18-19 at the Pike County Training Center.  The board also approved Predmore, Jones and Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker to attend an Emergency Operations center Operations and Planning for All-Hazards Event training on Aug. 21-23 at the Homeland Defense Security Facility at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, at no cost.

The board said during the workshop before the meeting that it will apply for a $25,000 Pike Marcellus Mini Grant that will be award by the county’s Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program toward a new loading and fishing dock at Akenac Park lake.  Lackawaxen Township already has put in an application for the same grant to service its trails.  Applicants have a July 31 deadline.

Akenac Expenditures Top $2 Million

Resident Steve McBride asked if the study of money spent for Akenac Park requested by Henderson was completed.  Henderson said $2,212,939 was spent over the past 12 years on the park, including $1.1 million toward the original purchase, about half of which came from grant money.

The board also will continue to seek out companies to remove six dilapidated cabins in Akenac Park at some time in the fall, as recommended by Supervisor Rick Koehler after examining the park.  Henderson said three companies inquired but did not act on it.  The removal plans were also approved by the Pike County Commissioners at their last meeting.  At least one of the other four cabins will be used for storage, Neufeld said.

Supervisors during the workshop also talked about needed improvements in the park, including a redesign of the kitchen, which they said might be done after consulting with three professionals in the restaurant business.  "The design of the kitchen is flawed and unsafe,” Henderson said.

Henderson, who is leading the efforts to resurrect the township Recreation Board, said the volunteer members duties must be detailed in the township ordinance. 

“They were terrified they would have to do all of this stuff and raise money, and walked away,” said Henderson.

It was pointed out in a previous meeting that some of those duties actually reside with the supervisors and that the Rec Board members do not raise money but give recommendations on that subject to the sueprvisors.

“I don’t care if it takes six month or is carried into next year; I’d like it done right,”  Henderson said firmly of restaffing the Rec Board.

“I want people to get off their duffs and get their letters (of interest) in,” Neufeld said of the committee positions.  At the last meeting, it was announced that five people sent in letters.