Update: Township Retains Second Inspection Firm for Help

Apartment construction (at top) under way at Sanatoga Greene

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – For specific inspection expertise on commercial construction now under way or soon to come in Lower Pottsgrove, the township Board of Commissioners agreed Thursday (May 19, 2022) to add the services of a second outside firm to assist Code Enforcement Officer Joe Groff in managing a growing workload.

The board has hired Barry Isett and Associates, an engineering firm with offices on Egypt Road in Oaks, to conduct commercial inspection services of 5 or fewer hours weekly as needed at a rate of $125 hourly.

Township Manager Ed Wagner explained the Isett firm will assist Groff by focusing specifically on projects like the apartment buildings currently being built at Sanatoga Green on the west side of Evergreen Road. Isett also likely will help with inspections at two medical office buildings that are next planned to be erected at the development.

Commissioners only 17 days ago also hired a Boyertown company, Tom Wargo Underwriters Inspections, to provide property maintenance and backup inspection services primarily for residential structures, also to help Groff.

  • Read an earlier story (below), published May 10 by The Post, in which township officials talk about the inspection tasks and how they’ll be handled.

Township Hires Additional Inspection Help Through October

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – There’s just not enough of Lower Pottsgrove Code Enforcement Officer Joe Groff to go around, the township Board of Commissioners concedes.

Groff for several years has served as the township’s inspector of completed buildings and construction projects-in-progress to ensure they adhere to published codes. He’s also its zoning officer, and consultant to the Lower Pottsgrove Zoning Hearing Board. And he’s the township assistant fire marshal, a back-up to long-time Fire Marshal Lew Babel. Those titles alone means Groff has his hands full.

Things have become even more complicated in recent months, township Manager Ed Wagner reminded commissioners during their May 2 (Monday) meeting:

  • Major construction of apartment buildings, town homes, and soon-to-come medical office buildings is currently rising at the Sanatoga Greene complex on the west side of Evergreen Road;
  • The last homes for sale are being completed at the Spring Valley Farms housing community on Bliem Road;
  • Building demolition and land grading are starting for an Evergreen Road west-side shopping center just south of the eastbound entrance to U.S. Route 422 at its Sanatoga interchange;
  • Ground is already broken for a significant expansion of the Moove In rental storage facility on East High Street in Sanatoga village; and
  • Plans are nearly finished for the Royal Farms fueling center and convenience store proposed on Armand Hammer Boulevard adjacent to A.D. Moyer Lumber. They are anticipated to be submitted soon for township Planning Commission review.

Groff will likely be involved with all of those stretching into 2023, Wagner said.

More work is expected, he added, as spring and summer 2022 get under way. That’s when Lower Pottsgrove will resume enforcing its property maintenance ordinances. They address lawn mowing; weeds, brush, and invasive plant control, and general appearance issues. Under normal conditions, that work also might have fallen onto Groff’s already crowded calendar.

Commissioners, though, needed little convincing to determine current conditions were anything but routine. Even before their first meeting of this month, Commissioner Ray Lopez said in response to a question, the board had considered hiring a second inspector.

They have not acted on that impulse. Instead, members heeded Wagner’s suggestion to retain the services of an outside inspector at a set cost and limited hours for a duration of only a few months.

Commissioners agreed and voted to hire Tom Wargo Underwriters Inspections, a Boyertown company. It will conduct “property maintenance and backup inspection services” through Oct. 31 (2022), at a rate of $65 hourly for a maximum of 10 hours weekly. The township also intended to talk with representatives of engineering firm Barry Isett and Associates in Phoenixville, Wagner said, to determine what assistance it could offer.

After the period ends, Lopez added, board members likely will re-evaluate how to handle the future growth of inspection work.

Photo by The Post