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City Council Meeting Minutes

April 7, 2009

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on April 7, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to receive general public comment, with the following Council members present: Genevieve Ray, Cameron Texter, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Mayor John Brenner was not present.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Michael Helfrich, York, PA, announced the York City Codorus Creek Clean Up event to be held on April 17th and 18th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Hosted by the Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership) He said volunteers will meet at King Park located at S. Penn St. and the Cordorus Creek Bridge in the City of York. Mr. Helfrich stated that gloves and bags will be supplied. For more information, please call (717) 779-7915 or email: info@codoruscreek.com.

There being no further public comment, President Musso adjourned the General Committee meeting and reconvened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, with the following members present: Genevieve Ray, Cameron Texter, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Mayor John Brenner was not present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works. Also present was Don Hoyt, Assistant Solicitor. Dan Robinson, Acting Director of Community Development, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, John Senft, Fire Chief, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, were absent.

Members of York City Council staff in attendance included: Dianna L. Thompson, City Clerk.

Pledge of Allegiance: Led by Andre Callum, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Approval of Minutes: A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Hill-Evans, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of March 17, 2009, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith – 4; Nays – 0; Abstained – Musso – 1. (Note: Musso abstained as he was absent for the March 17, 2009 Council meeting.)

PRESENTATIONS

William Penn Senior High School – Letter of Recognition: (View Letter) Vice President Carol Hill-Evans asked all members and coaches of the York High Boys' Basketball Team to stand while she read, at length, a letter of recognition from Council to the team for a successful 2008-2009 basketball season.

Troy Sowers, York High Boys' Basketball Team Head Coach, congratulated his team and coaches. He said this team is made up of quality young men who worked hard throughout the season to be all they could be and that they are extremely proud of them. He said this team has broken records, which he contributes to team work.

Shayman Lambert, Ryan Matthews, Maliki Leonard, and Malik Generette, members of the basketball team, each took a moment to reflect on the season and to congratulate the team on a victorious 2008-2009 year.

Each member of Council congratulated the team, staff and coaches and said they all have shown exemplary talent, dignity and determination that has brought great pride to the community.

Warm Line Presentation – Tawny Smith: Tawny Smith was onboard to announce the “Warm Line of York/Adams Counties” initiative. She said if you are lonely, frightened, sad, worried or overwhelmed or don't know where to turn, Warm Line is here to help. Warm Line is a free telephone service providing confidential and empathetic listening, support, and referrals, as needed, to help individuals through difficult times. To contact Warm Line, please call (717) 718-7711 or (866) 697-0001 Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. or email: warmline@mhay.org. Ms. Smith then answered program and funding questions from Council.

Correspondence and Announcements: President Musso read correspondence and announcements.

Councilwoman Ray then read portions of a letter she received from resident Jennifer Line and asked that it become part of the record. (Read letter) (Copy of letter attached to these Minutes) The letter basically discussed problems Ms. Line has encountered with the Hardware Bar, which has since relocated its operations to 25 W. Market St. In essence, she feels the goings-on at the bar constitute a nuisance.

President Musso said he met with Ms. Line and a foot patrol officer and toured the area in question. He said Ms. Line definitely has some valid concerns, which makes him question the effectiveness of our Nuisance Abatement program. He said he would ask Commissioner Whitman to provide a report to Council on the program.

Councilwoman Smith responded that the Nuisance Abatement Program is currently being enforced by one police officer and that two new officers have been brought onboard as the number of complaints received are overwhelming for just one officer to handle. She said she feels we will see a difference in the program's effectiveness once these new officers take to the streets.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: None

COMMITTEE REPORTS: None

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 44, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by York Preservation Partners, LP (Michael Johnson) to divide a single-family, detached dwelling at 900 S. George St. into two residential condominiums; to convert the existing carriage house into a single residential condo; to construct a new 3-car garage; and to reconstruct a porch, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 44 came up for discussion.

Michael Johnson, Managing Owner of York Preservation Partners, explained the project. He said it has been a long process getting to this point. He applauded city staff for their professionalism during the entire process. Mr. Johnson then answered a few project questions from Council. Council said they look forward to the project's completion.
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 44 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 45, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by White Rose Bar & Grill to demolish a 394 sq. ft. building at 48 N. Beaver St. and replace it with a 1,434 sq. ft. area of buliding and to construct an elevated outdoor seating area, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 45 came up for discussion.

Andrew Stern, Contracted City Planner, said there were minor comments from the County of York and the city's engineer, however, those comments were addressed and, as such, there are no outstanding issues related to this plan.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 45 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith – 4; Nays – 0; Abstained – Musso – 1. (Note: President Musso abstained as he has had previous business dealings with the White Rose Bar & Grill.)

Resolution No. 46, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to J. Wood & Sons Construction for work to be done at 226 & 228 S. Pine St. and 425 W. King St., Junior League of York for work to be done at 166 W. Market St., Paul Davis Restoration for work to be done at 355 E. Philadelphia St., Kohr Gerlach, Inc. for work to be done at 48 N. Beaver St., and United Realty & Development for work to be done at 331 E. King St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 46 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA: None

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS: None

NEW BUSINESS (Note: Items were considered out of sequence from the printed agenda.)

Resolution No. 47, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution endorsing the Smoke-Free Community Challenge, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 47 came up for discussion.

Barb Kovacs, Deputy Director, York City Bureau of Health, presented Council with information packets related to the Smoke-Free Community Challenge. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report stating that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The report also concluded that eliminating smoking in all indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. As a member of the Smoke-Free Community Challenge, the City of York asks that residents take the Smoke-Free pledge. By taking the pledge, you pledge to (1) choose not to smoke in your home and will not permit others to do so (small children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of secondhand smoke); (2) choose to smoke outside, if you must smoke (moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children); and (3) use resources provided to find tips on keeping a smoke-free home.

Councilman Texter encouraged the community to take the pledge and said he would sign his pledge tonight as he is committed to the cause.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 47 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 48, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution reappointing Diana Walker as a member of the York City Housing Authority Board to serve until April 1, 2013; Reappointing Larry Homsher as a member of the Nuisance Abatement Board of Appeals to serve until April 1, 2012; and Reappointing Carmen Bones as a member of the York City Board of Health to serve until the first Monday of April 2014, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 48 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 49, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution correcting the term of office for Kyle King as an alternate member of the Nuisance Abatement Board of Appeals to change his expiration term from April 1, 2012 to April 1, 2010, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 49 came up for discussion.

President Musso explained that at Council's March 17, 2009 meeting, a Resolution (No. 40) was approved appointing Mr. King to a three year term as an alternate member of the Nuisance Abatement Board of Appeals. However, that term was established in error as Article 1751.11(a) of the Codified Ordinances regulates that alternate members of the said board shall serve one year terms. Therefore, this Resolution merely corrects that mistake.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 49 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 50, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing the filing of a proposal for funds with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for a grant in the amount of $200,000 to undertake the Memorial Park renovation project, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 50 came up for discussion.

Public Works Director Jim Gross outlined that the following improvements are planned:

l Install new field lighting on Hoffman Stadium. The lights at the field are from the original construction in the late 60's and are in dire need of replacement.

l Replace fending, backstop and dugouts, as needed.

l Remove the concrete walls from a portion of the perimeter and fence and replace with ornamental metal fencing.

l Improve bleachers, picnic areas, and landscaping within the stadium.

l Install walking path/trail along Edgar St. to connect with the Broad St. Greenway.

Director Gross said construction is slated for June-November 2010 with completion on or about November 2010. Director Gross then answered several project and funding questions from Council.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 50 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 51, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing the purchase of (1) 2009 Bucket truck for use by the Buildings and Electrical Bureau, which said purchase shall be made through the Federal GSA program (GSA-FSS-CONTRACT #GS-30F-1028G) at a cost of $94,778.00 through a five year lease purchase agreement with M&T Bank and Real Lease, Inc. with annual payments not to exceed $21,500.00 with the first payment due on or about August 1, 2009, and paid from the liquid fuels account, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 51 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that this purchase will replace a 1982 bucket truck and at the end of the lease, the city has the right to purchase the truck for one dollar ($1.00), which he said is their intention.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 51 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 52, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Metropolitan Edison Company to upgrade seventy-seven (77) company owned streetlights at various locations throughout the city, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 52 came up for discussion.

Director Gross stated that this is a continuation of the Met-Ed project. He said Met-Ed will be upgrading 77 streetlights from mercury vapor to high pressure sodium lights.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 52 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 53, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing encroachment agreements for sidewalk cafes with Sam & Tony's Pasta House, 241-245 W. Market St.; Jim & Nena's Pizzaria, 35 W. Market St.; The Market Street Saloon, 25 W. Market St.; Colosseo, 108 N. George St.; and Harp & Fiddle, 110 N. George St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 53 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Councilwoman Ray stated that as matter of discussion related to the letter (Read letter) received from resident Jennifer Line expressing nuisance concerns associated with the Hardware Bar, which has since relocated its operations to The Market Street Saloon, Councilwoman Ray made a motion to amend Resolution No. 53 to separate the vote on The Market Street Saloon located 25 W. Market St. to allow for separate discussion. The motion to amend was seconded by Hill-Evans, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Musso – 4; Nays – Smith – 1.

Therefore, Resolution No. 53, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Motion to table Vote on The Market Street Saloon sidewalk cafe: A motion was made by Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, to table the vote and discussion on the sidewalk cafe agreement for The Market Street Saloon (25 W. Market St., York, PA). The motion came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Ray said that in light of the concerns brought to the forefront about this establishment, she said she would like to invite the owner of the Market Street Saloon to a Council committee meeting to discuss nuisance concerns.

President Musso said he's hesitant to delay voting on this agreement because he doesn't want to penalize this owner based on accusations. He said Council has the right to revoke sidewalk cafe agreements at any point if owners are found in violation of their encroachment agreement.

Councilwoman Ray stated that she wants to share Ms. Line's complaints with the owner and give him an opportunity to address these concerns. She said she feels discussion will allow Council to look more closely into these accusations and make an informed decision. She said it will be much easier to deny the encroachment agreement then it would be to approve then revoke it.

Councilman Texter said he feels Councilwoman Ray's actions are just and proper. He said the concerns discussed in Ms. Line's letter happened outside of the building and he would like to make sure the area is well controlled before a decision is made to approve or deny the sidewalk cafe agreement. He agreed that the owner should have a fair opportunity to defend these accusations.

Councilwoman Smith vehemently rejected the motion to table this vote. She questioned Councilwoman Ray's motion as she feels it comes at the 11th hour. She stated that all of these accusations are being made by one person and we have no idea if they are true. She feels Council had plenty of time to pull this agreement from the agenda if a concern lingered. Now, however, she said unproven accusations are being made about a business without the owner being here to defend himself.

Councilwoman Ray said she is not attacking the business owner nor is she trying to shut down the establishment. She said she merely wants to investigate these complaints to be sure the terms of the sidewalk cafe agreement will be met.

Discussion ensued among the Council on various nuisances related to downtown establishments, how and if a delayed vote would affect this business, surrounding businesses' adherence to sidewalk cafe agreements, and Council's revocation powers.

After much discussion and debate, Council voted on the motion to table the vote on The Market Street Saloon sidewalk cafe agreement. The motion to table was defeated by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter – 2; Nays – Hill-Evans, Smith, Musso – 3.

Motion to approve The Market Street Saloon sidewalk cafe agreement: With no absolute resolution on the issue, Council opted to move forward with voting on the agreement. Therefore, a motion was then made by Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, to approve the encroachment agreement for a sidewalk cafe for The Market Street Saloon located at 25 W. Market St., York, PA. The motion to approve passed by the following vote: Yeas – Hill-Evans, Smith, Musso – 3; Nays – Ray, Texter – 2. Therefore, the sidewalk cafe agreement for The Market Street Saloon was finally approved.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None

COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the April 7, 2009 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:55 p.m.