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City Council Meeting Minutes

August 21, 2012

 

CALL TO ORDER:  City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on August 21, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA, to receive general public comment, with the following Council members present: Joanne Borders, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Vice President, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding. 
 
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT
 
Marie Rohleder spoke about code violations relating to swimming pools as some are not fenced in as required by the zoning code. 
 
Leo Lunger followed up on his question from the July 17 meeting regarding the York Fair and declared events. Councilwoman Nelson read a memo from Public Works Director Jim Gross in response to this question. In the memo dated July 30, Director Gross explained that permanent signs are posted for events such as the York Fair, which require a parking permit; however, the city has not declared any other events that would require a parking permit. Additionally, his memo explained that although the 4th of July is a high impact event, it would be impractical to issue parking permits for a one day event. 
 
There being no further public comment, President Hill-Evans adjourned the General Committee meeting and reconvened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA, with the following members present: Joanne Borders, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Vice President, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding. 
 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic and Community Development, Chief Dave Michaels, Fire Department, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present were Assistant Solicitors Mark Elion and Don Hoyt.
 
Members of York City Council staff in attendance included:  Dianna L. Thompson-Mitchell, City Clerk.
 
Pledge of Allegiance: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. 
 
Approval of Minutes: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of July 17, 2012 and
July 26, 2012 and unanimously approved them as written.
 
Correspondence and Announcements: None
 
PRESENTATIONS: None
 
 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED
 
General Committee, Carol Hill-Evans, Chair: President Hill-Evans reported that Council met this evening, Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss a budget transfer in the amount of $3,000.00 for the York City Human Relations Commission (Resolution No. 81). The Resolution was released from committee and will be considered for final passage later in the agenda.
 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS: No reports
 
 
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
 
Resolution No. 85, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a permit to MR Roofing for work to be done at 44 & 46 S. Pine St., Elmer & Sally Felton for work to be done at 45 S. Queen St., and Frank Herring for work to be done at 128 E. Philadelphia St., and 36, 38, 42 and 53 N. Duke St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 85 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Pulled from agenda.  Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in denying an application submitted by Keith Fishel for work to be done at 246-250 N. George St. was pulled from the agenda as work to be done was an emergency order issued by the Fire Department.
 
Note: Council voted unanimously to consider agenda items 10 and 16 relating to the Human Relations Commission, which were considered out of sequence from the printed agenda. 
 
Final Passage Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 19, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget by correcting grant revenue and appropriating expenditures for the York City Human Relations Commission, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 19, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Resolution No. 81, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $3,000 from building repair to salaries, which was introduced by Nixon at the July 17 meeting of Council, referred to General Committee, discussed and released, (meeting held 8/21/12 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers) came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 81 came up for discussion. 
 
President Hill-Evans reported that this Resolution was discussed this evening at 5:30 p.m. in General Committee. She said Council and Human Relations Commission Director Stephanie Seaton discussed this transfer at length and Council voted the Resolution out of committee for action this evening. (Background: The Human Relations Commission is requesting that $3,000 be transferred from building repair to salaries. Funds were originally allocated to building repair to cover costs of a privacy wall that was never built. Council decreased the salary line item for the Human Relations Commission through adoption of the 2012 budget and therefore some members of Council questioned the feasibility of approving such a transfer.)
 
Councilman Helfrich asked if there is a guarantee that HRC will not be coming back to Council in the future asking for money for a privacy. Director Seaton explained that they have addressed the issue of privacy without the having to build a wall.
 
Director Seaton asked Council to consider the work the Commission does and that they are qualified to know the needs of the Commission. She said she appreciates Council's intent in amending the 2012 budget but stated that they have worked within the parameters of the budget and have also worked to raise funds to help subsidize their budget deficit. She said we know the best use of these funds and we ask for Council's support.
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked Council to honor the budget transfer request. He said the HRC has been transparent in their intentions. He feels that Council's recommendation to replace the Executive Director position with an investigator position was obviously not the best move as it was determined that Council had no authority to establish the HRC structure. He said he is satisfied with the work of the Commission and asked Council to support this transfer.
 
Ed Day, resident, stated that the HRC is a valuable asset to the city and we need to continue to fund them.
 
President Hill-Evans stated that she wants to make it clear that this action has nothing to do with removing funding or undermining what the Commission does. She said this has to do with the budget that was passed, the discussions that took place, and Council's intention during the 2012 budget process. Although Council doesn't have the authority to dictate positions within the Commission, she said we do have authority to establish the budget.
 
Councilman Helfrich said that during the committee meeting, Director Seaton said the Commission is not in the fund-raising business; however, he said, if the Commission continues to fund positions not approved in the budget, then the Commission will have no choice but to be in the fund-raising business.
 
Councilwoman Nelson said she feels she was blindsided by this transfer request because of what was approved in the budget. She said she feels the HRC should have better informed Council of its intention and that she doesn't want to see this happen again.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 81 came up for a vote. Yeas – Helfrich, Nelson - 2; Nays – Nixon, Hill-Evans – 2; Abstained – Borders – 1. 
 
Assistant Solicitor Elion advised Councilwoman Borders that she is required to explain her reason for abstaining and that Council will have to vote on whether to authorize the abstention.
 
Councilwoman Border said she abstained because she was not a member of Council when the decision was made to reduce the HRC budget and therefore said she doesn't feel she should take part in a decision she was not initially a part of. 
 
Council denied Councilwoman Borders' abstention by the following vote: Helfrich, Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0. Therefore, President Hill-Evans again called for the vote to approve the budget transfer.
 
Resolution FAILED: Yeas: Helfrich, Borders, Nelson – 3; Nays – Nixon, Hill-Evans - 2. As four votes are required to approve a budget transfer, Resolution No. 81 FAILED. (The Resolution did not pass.)
 
 
SPECIAL AGENDA (Homes at Thackston Park)
 
Resolution No. 86, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution supporting recreation amenities related to the Homes at Thackston Park project and requesting that a member of Council serve on the steering committee, was introduced by Helfrich, read at length, and on motion of Helfrich, seconded by Borders, Resolution No. 86 came up for discussion.
 
Councilman Helfrich explained that, Bill No. 17, if approved, will include removing a city park. This Resolution will show Council's support in replacing those recreation amenities.  
 
Vice President Nixon said he would like the community to determine its own recreation amenities. 
 
Council President Hill-Evans read a letter submitted by Joe Crosswhite, Foundry Plaza Board Chair, (read letter), supporting the Thackston Park land swap and assuring Council that they will put their energies into seeking funding to support a new Helen Thackston Park.
 
Councilman Helfrich said neighbors and kids that use this park more than likely won't be active on this committee. Therefore, as a resident of the neighborhood, he sees how the park is used and feels if its left up to the decision makers, the recreation amenities may not be replaced. He said this is why he feels Council should strongly express its intent to retain recreation amenities.
 
Vice President Nixon responded that he does not want to dictate to the residents what's best for them although he feels some sort of recreational amenities should be provided.
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, urged Council to reach out to the community and ask about their interest. He agreed that residents wouldn't want outsiders dictating to them what they should have.
 
President Hill-Evans said she can't speak specifically but it's her understanding that there will be representatives from a broad and diverse sector represented on the committee. 
 
Louis Delauder, Vice President, Newton Square Neighborhood Association, asked that they be involved in the planning process. 
 
Councilwoman Nelson reminded residents that there is also a playground at the Codorus Homes site that we'll be losing so we'll actually be losing a park and playground.
 
Craig Zumbrun, Deputy Director, York City Housing Authority, said there have been discussions to retain that parcel of land although it is a fairly under utilized playground. 
 
Councilwoman Borders said in 2009 when this project first came to the forefront, there were community meetings and dialogue with residents. She said as several years have passed, she encourages additional dialogue with the residents.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 86 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Introduction of Bill No. 28, Session 2012, (View) A Bill vacating a portion of West Hope Ave., Stone Alley and other unnamed public alleys (Homes at Thackston Park), was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.
 
Note: Street vacations must be advertised for three consecutive weeks prior to consideration of passage. Therefore, Bill No. 28 will appear on the September18, 2012 Council agenda. (§2916 of the 3rd Class City Code)
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 20, Session 2012, (View) A Bill accepting an exchange of real estate between the City of York and the Housing Authority (Homes at Thackston Park Project), which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the June 5 meeting of Council, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 17 came up for discussion.
 
Note 1: The City of York and the York Housing Authority desire to exchange said land in order that the City can develop its Codorus greenway and the Housing Authority, in exchange, can acquire the Thackston Park area to construct affordable housing and a mixed use development together with an appropriately scaled open space park area. The City will allow the land swap and will not take possession of the Codorus site until: (1) the new homes are created at the current Thackston Park site, (2) all relocation of residents of the Codorus site is complete, and (3) the site has been cleared of existing structures and debris (at the Housing Authority’s expense).
Note 2: Bill No. 17 was pulled from the July 17, 2012 agenda as discussions continued on finalizing a real estate exchange agreement. An agreement has been drafted and accompanies this legislation.
 
Chris Detter, Morris & Detter, explained that he drafted the land swap agreement with the assistance of the York City Solicitor's office. He said the draft was updated yesterday and that he would entertain questions.
 
Councilman Helfrich said he was surprised about the restrictions placed on the city in getting this property and asked if we will lose the pavilions.
 
Craig Zumbrun, York City Housing Authority, said there are limitations on the types of structures that can be situated along the Codorus bank. Certainly, the current playground was approved but he said he cannot determine whether the Army Corps of Engineers will approve the pavilions. 
 
Councilman Helfrich asked if we could include language regarding pavilions if approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Zumbrun said he has no problems including that language.     
 
Next, Councilman Helfrich asked if current residents would have first dibs on the new homes. Mr. Zumbrun responded that they wanted to allow an opportunity for current residents to become residents of the new homes. He said there are several opportunities and advantages being offered to the residents such as housing assistance programs, Section 8, etc. Mr. Zumbrun did say that there are a few families that have already expressed their desire to relocate to the new homes. 
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked if we will be losing any residents from subsidized housing. Mr. Zumbrun responded that 28 residential apartments will be demolished. We'll be building 39 new units. Each family may act on their own options with public housing being the less expensive option. He did say we will be providing 11 more units than what's currently there.
 
Mr. Gomez then asked if each resident who wants to stay will be able to stay. Councilman Helfrich said yes.
 
Councilwoman Borders said she shared the same concerns mentioned by Mr. Gomez and apparently those issues have been addressed but she reminded residents that they will have to apply themselves.
 
Marie Rohleder, resident, said traffic is of great concern to her. Councilman Helfrich said the administration could consider speed bumps or other speed prevention measures.
 
Delores Abreu, resident, asked if the Spanish-speaking residents are being informed about this project. Mr. Zumbrun responded that we have had approximately two dozen public meetings since inception of this project and have had Spanish speaking staff on-hand to translate.
 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 20, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No.'s 87 and 88 were introduced by Nelson and read at length:
 
Resolution No. 87, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving the final subdivision plan submitted by the York City Housing Authority to create five lots for development of 39 residential units at W. College Ave. (Homes at Thackston Park).
 
Resolution No. 88, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by the York City Housing Authority for development of 39 residential public housing units at W. College Ave. (Homes at Thackston Park).
 
On motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No.'s 87 & 88 came up for discussion.
 
Joe Gurney, First Capital Engineering, provided Council with renderings of the subdivision and land development plans. He said the project area envelopes 4.58 acres and includes current and future development projects. He outlined the approval process and stormwater management.
 
Councilman Helfrich asked if there is private property located in the acreage because the numbers don't appear to match up. Mr. Gurney said there is a dry cleaners located on the site. 
 
Troy McGee, Torti, Gallas & Partners, presented colored renderings outlining the proposed revitalization efforts. He explained that his firm was hired for the revitalization part of the project and they wanted to make sure this was a “community-involvement” based design. He said Recapture the Riverfront and Foundry Park are two very nice projects currently situated along the Codorus. He stated that their thought was to keep within this theme by creating parks along the creek that could be linked together through bike and walking trails. Additionally, they wanted to honor Ms. Helen Thackston and therefore changed the name of Codorus Homes to the Homes at Thackston Park. Mr. McGee explained in detail the revitalization phase and said, in the end, they hope to create a well-balanced, mixed-income community. 
 
Vice President Nixon and Councilman Helfrich asked tax questions. 
 
Herbert Kennedy, tax attorney, responded that this will be a fully taxable project and will be immediately taxable under all three taxing entities (county, municipal, and school district).
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No.'s 87 and 88 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 20, Ordinance No. 21, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget to eliminate $750,000.00 for the Market St. 2-way Project, which was introduced by Borders at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Borders, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 20, Ordinance No. 21, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 22, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget in the amount of $150,000.00 for the Roosevelt Ave. Channel Project, which was introduced by Borders at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Borders, seconded by Nelson, Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 22, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 23, Ordinance No. 23, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget in the amount $100,000.00 for the purchase of police vehicles, which was introduced by Nixon at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 23, Ordinance No. 23, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 24, Ordinance No. 24, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget in the amount of $4,400.00 for the Fire Department for building repair, which was introduced by Nixon at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 24, Ordinance No. 24, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0. Chief David Michaels added that these funds were from the sale of a 1988 engine and will be used to fix things like plumbing and broken hinges and springs at the station. 
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 25, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending Article 1700.01 "Enforcement" of the Building & Housing Code to update language, which was introduced by Nelson at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 25, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 26, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending Article 1701 "BOCA National Building Code” to ensure compliance with current national codes and guidelines, which was introduced by Nelson at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 26, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 27, Session 2012, (View) A Bill establishing Article 1714 "Change of Ownership/Tenant Certificate of Compliance" of the Codified Ordinances, which was introduced by Nelson at the July 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 27 came up for discussion. 
 
Director Kevin Schreiber explained that this is changing a procedure for the city with regard to commercial properties. He said currently, if there is a change of ownership or use, the new property or tenant is required to get a Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O). He said we are proposing to reduce the need for re-issuance of a C-of-O but instead issue a Certificate of Compliance (C-of-C). The tenant/owner will still be required to have an inspection, however, this won't be as cumbersome as the C-of-O process. Director Schreiber stated that there is a sunset clause that if the property sits vacant for 5 years, it would still require a C-of-O. Director Schreiber clarified that if there is a change of use, a C-of-O would then be required. This legislation is to streamline the process if there is no change of use.
 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 27, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Introduction of Bill No. 29, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget in the amount of $69,891.00 for PHFA Rental Rehab-Permits Clean and Seal Program, was introduced by Nelson, read by short title and deferred until the September 4 meeting of Council.
 
Resolution No. 89, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution authorizing the transfer of historic records to the PA State Archives and the York County Historical             Society, was introduced by Borders, read at length, and on motion of Borders, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 89 came up for discussion.
 
Director Gross said these records include real estate records from 1890 through 1920, police records from 1900 through 1940, and other miscellaneous records from this era. He said these records have been retained in accordance with the city's disposition schedule and are no longer of administrative use. As the records have historical significance, he stated that it was thought that history would best be served by having these records transferred to the PA State Archives and the Historical Society.
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked who determined what records were to be disposed. Director Gross responded that he determined what records were no longer of administrative use based on the PA Bureau of Archives disposition and retention schedule. Additionally, he said historical archive representatives from both the state and local level took part in the review process.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 89 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None
 
 
COUNCIL COMMENT
 
Council persons Borders, Helfrich and Nelson announced various events happening throughout the city. Please visit www.yorkcity.org for more information.
 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None
 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for September 4, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA.
 
ADJOURNMENT:There being no further business, the August 21, 2012 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:05 p.m.