Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
Wednesday — June 7, 2006
The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday,
June 7, 2006, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Secretary Henry, Police Chief Kortan, and Planning Commission Chair Patton. Councilwoman Coleman and Fire Chief Young were absent.
Minutes — Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the May 3, 2006 Business Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Borough Code Director Steve Travers introduced Mike Jozwiak as the Borough’s new Building Inspector. Mr. Jozwiak has over 16 years experience as a certified Philadelphia building inspector.
Mr. Lee moved to suspend the Rules of Order, seconded by Ms. Hill. The motion carried unanimously.
Len Wert 221 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Dr. Wert asked for a status update on 231 N.
Lansdowne Avenue. President Wayne stated that a demolition grant has been applied for, the property is to go to sheriff sale on September 6, 2006, and an engineering report was forwarded to the County who deemed that the building was not salvageable.
Dr. Wert asked if a state police manpower survey had been done for the Borough. Chief Kortan stated that he had prepared a similar report about a month ago and the Public Safety Committee will be reviewing it. Dr. Wert asked why the police crime reports were not being reported on as in previous months. Ms. Hill indicated that she presents the police and fire data, if available, every month. Dr. Wert questioned the recruitment for a new police officer. Ms. Hill stated that the Public Safety Committee is reviewing the applications, a public meeting will be held and the results will be announced within the next month.
Dr. Wert questioned why the general meetings had not been televised for the past threemonths and stated there was collusion regarding his comments being excluded from the minutes. President Wayne stated that the Borough has no control over technical difficulties regarding Comcast broadcasts and that Dr. Wert could contact Comcast if he had any concerns. President Wayne commented that he was not aware of any problems in the recording of the minutes.
Edith Bassie 70 Sayers Avenue – Mrs. Bassie mentioned that she was offering her
car for sale. Mrs. Bassie commented on the current beautiful appearance of Hayes Park.
Mr. Lee moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion
REPORTS AND DISCUSSION
A. Treasurer Bill Smith – Mr. Smith reported that the Liquid Fuels audit will take place on June 19th and 20th. Additionally, the Tax Anticipation Note will be paid off on June 30th. Mr. Smith indicated that the Tax Collector was 4% ahead in tax collections from the prior year.
B. Engineer Richard Bevilacqua – Mr. Bevilacqua reported on the following items:
- 2006 Road Program – On schedule to advertise next week and to receive bids by the end of June. Two bidders are currently interested.
- Stewart Avenue Sewer Project – final milling and paving to be done this week, weather permitting. A payment request has been made in the amount of $58,918.05. Mr. Bevilacqua mentioned that approximately $40,000 additional would be required regarding lateral connections from the new main back to some properties, which were found to be located behind the sidewalk in their front lawn areas; a final total will be provided after further research. The net change between the Stewart Football Field sewer project, which was $20,000 less than contract and the Stewart Avenue Sewer project would be a $20,000 net increase. Billing for the change order will be included in the payment request.
- HVAC project – 80% of the duct work on the 1st floor has been done and work is on schedule. Completion is expected by mid-July.
C. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott reported one Executive Session item.
D. Manager David R. Forrest – Mr. Forrest gave updates on the following matters:
- 131 Nyack Avenue Buddhist Temple – A Zoning Hearing Board meeting is scheduled for June 22nd at 7:30 p.m for the variance request regarding expanding the temple and demolishing the parsonage house. The discussion centered on the issues surrounding the setback relief, parking for 16 spaces and using the monk house lot for a church building. After further discussion, there arrived a consensus to send notice of the hearing to all residents within a 500 foot radius of the proposed site and to defer any Borough Council opinion until the next Council meeting.
- Johnson Funeral Home – Code Director Travers stated that a PA1 call has been received regarding demolishing the structure but the permit application has not yet been received. Ms. Hill questioned how this property would fit into the Borough’ Redevelopment Plan. President Wayne stated that it had originally been targeted for rehabilitation.
E. Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan reported that the Memorial Day parade was a success. He has met with UAA officials for the upcoming July 4th parade and all insurance and permit related documentation has been obtained.
Chief Kortan stated that Sgt. Christians will be back on duty next week and Officer Albertoli will be returning to work on June 23rd.
F. Fire Chief Young – No report was given in Chief Young’s absence.
G. Planning Commission Chair Chris Patton – Mr. Patton stated that the June Planning Commission meeting has been rescheduled. Tentative dates are June 13th, 19th or 20th.
Mr. Patton stated that some of the matters discussed at the last meeting included LEDC design guidelines for facade improvements and matters related to establishing the Borough as a historical district.
H. Comments from Council Members and Mayor:
- Joe Urban – Move Night at Hoffman Park is June 10th with a rain date of June 17th.
- Steve Wagner asked if the fence along Madison Avenue in Gladstone Manor is Septa’s property because a section of the fence is rusty, half torn down and debris filled. Mr. Wagner stated that the Gladstone Civic Association would like trash cans placed outside the Manor in various sites. Mr. Forrest will investigate.
- Mayor Young – Mayor Young stated that she had recently completed various FEMA, ICS200 and NIMS courses. Mayor Young mentioned that this year’s Helms Award will be going to Georgianna Juliano. The issue was raised whether to continue the $10 charge for bulk trash pickup. The Finance Committee will look at this issue. Mayor Young indicated that recent FOP discussions were positive.
- Ms. Lustgarten – Portnoff Law Associates has sent out the first round of delinquent tax letters and currently $21,000 has been collected.
- Ms. Hill – asked if Chief Kortan could send an officer to evaluate the two parking spaces in front of the library at the corner of Nyack and Lansdowne Avenues, citing traffic bottlenecks and suggesting that perhaps these two spots should be eliminated.
Old Business —
Liquor Question – President Wayne asked that this issue be deferred until the Ad Hoc Committee reviews all records and questions. Mr. Scott will be preparing a memo outlining all questions that can be asked, the implications of those questions and the degree of Borough control over the results. Mr. Wagner mentioned that the Ad Hoc Committee is looking at a tentative next meeting date of June 26th.
New Business —
- Tax Abatement Procedure – Regarding the recent 18 Martin Drive tax abatement appeal, Mr. Lee suggested starting a formal process for tax abatement requests with a period of time allowed for due diligence.
- Planning Commission Vacancy – President Wayne asked Borough Council’s consideration in appointing Mark Anthony French to fill the current vacancy.
Mr. Lee moved to appoint Mark Anthony French to the Planning Commission, filling the
unexpired term left vacant upon Pete Driscoll’s resignation. This is a four year term
expiring on October 31, 2008. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Scottdale Road recreational use – Jerry Staiber has suggested closing Scottdale Road to traffic for a 9 hour period from the Pavilion to Hilldale Road on certain Sundays during the summer. Mr. Urban felt that more input would be needed from residents. It was decided that the Public Safety Committee will discuss this further and make a recommendation to Borough Council.
- Tax Increment financing for development projects – President Wayne explained that under this method, certain properties previously deemed blighted whose market value is less than their redevelopment construction costs can be given financial assistance if a tax increment financing district is set up. This district can be whatever size the municipality wishes. In certain development projects, the current taxes are looked at for an already existing building and then the tax picture is surveyed when the building is redeveloped. A portion of the additional gained tax amounts can then be set aside to pay for loans. President Wayne indicated that the School Board has been instructed in the basic principles of a TIF district since the school taxes comprise the largest portion of Lansdowne’s real estate taxes. President Wayne mentioned that an Ad Hoc Committee to be comprised of himself, Ms. Lustgarten and Ms. Coleman will work out any details that may be forthcoming if the School Board and County accept this idea.
- Kevin Lee – Mr. Lee has been accepted into the Harvard University training program for State and Local government officials for a 3-1/2 week period. Total tuition is $11,000 and Mr. Lee has obtained a grant of $5,000. President Wayne asked if any further financial support could be given toward this endeavor. Mr. Urban stated that taxpayer dollars should not be used for this purpose and the matter should be put on the agenda for public discussion. Mr. Wagner expressed support for additional funding. Ms. Lustgarten felt that the endeavor would be worthwhile but for a nominal fee.Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize a contribution of $1,000. Ms. Hill seconded the motion. Opinion was divided and after further discussion a motion was made by Mr. Urban to table the motion. Ms. Hill seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion to table carried 3-2 with Mr. Lee abstaining from the vote. A motion was then made by Mr. Urban to table further discussion until a later time. Mr. Wagner seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously with Mr. Lee abstaining from the vote.
Action Items -
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for the period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to enact ordinance No. 1216, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne amending the codified ordinances of the Borough regarding the membership of the Police Pension Advisory Committee. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Hill moved to enact Ordinance No. 1217, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne outlining application process for residential handicapped parking space. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Mr. Urban moved to approve a contract with Simone Collins Landscape Architecture, in the amount of $14,091.21, for design services for the Gateway Park and Pedestrian/Bicycle Trail. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution No. 2006-17, a Resolution regarding application to the County Council of Delaware County for an allocation of county liquid fuel tax funds. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Executive Session: Ms. Hill moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss apersonnel and a litigation issue. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 9:53 p.m.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.
President Wayne then opened a discussion regarding the zoning permit for a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts at the old 7-11 site on Baltimore Avenue. President Wayne indicated that this area is in the C-1 district. The Borough Code also stipulates that no restaurant/fast food establishment that sells more than 30% of food for consumption off premises is allowed in a C-1 district.Opinion was divided on whether or not to allow the establishment of this particular store. Mr. Scott indicated that case law supports not allowing this type of establishment and that Borough Council should turn down the application. If a variance is then sought, Borough Council could then hold a full discussion with public input. President Wayne indicated that zoning overlay decisions have not been followed for some new businesses and a gray area exists regarding the inability to enforce what is embodied in the zoning code; he was also opposed to reviewing each situation on a case by case basis. After further discussion it was decided that every business zoning application decision will be sent to Mr. Forrest or Mr. Travers, who will then notify Borough Council of what action was taken.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Wagner. The motion carriedunanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry