Follow us on Twitter Friend us on Facebook Receive City Updates
{ Live, work, play in York. }

City Council Meeting Minutes

April 5, 2011

 

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on April 5, 2011 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: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding.

 
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

 
Matthew Mann questioned funding for the various projects underway. He asked if funding has actually been secured. He then discussed why he feels people do not improve their properties. He said they don't because of our backwards tax structure in that people are basically penalized with higher taxes for making improvements to their homes.

 
Michael Helfrich spoke about various events taking place in York City such as the Keep York Beautiful and Codorus Creek initiatives. Next, he discussed ways to beautify the community such as Habitat for Humanity's Brush with Kindness efforts to repair houses. He said this type of effort is better than just citing people for infractions. Mr. Helfrich urged the city's administration to consider ways to get people to love our city rather than being angry about our city.

 
Steve Young asked where our public dollars are going because he's not seeing any new businesses. He said Shirley's Closet has now relocated to Steelton, PA and we've lost other businesses. He stated that the county is increasingly developing businesses but we are failing.

 
Jody Moore announced the opening of his new business “Home Run Snacks” to open at the Memorial Park Sports Complex. He thanked the city and its employees for the opportunity and said he will be offering a 15% discount to city employees on all items purchased. Employees just need to show their city identification badges to take advantage of this offer.

 
There being no further public comment, President Ray 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: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding.

 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, and Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic and Community Development. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Mark Elion.

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

 
Pledge of Allegiance: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

 
Approval of Minutes: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of March 15, 2011 and unanimously approved them as written.

 
Correspondence and Announcements: None

 
PRESENTATIONS: None
 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: None
 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS

Fire Committee, Renee S. Nelson, Chair: Councilwoman Nelson reported that committee meetings were held as follows (in Council Chambers):
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 6:30 p.m. - Heard findings on the Fire Department study from Fire Chief Buffington.
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 6:00 p.m. - Public comment was received on the Fire Department study. Several firemen and union representatives were present and rejected the idea of closing the fire stations recommended by Chief Buffington.
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
 
Resolution No. 46, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by New Hope Charter School to construct a 2-story classroom addition and serving kitchen at 459 W. King St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 46 came up for discussion.

 
Andrew Miller, Project Manager, LSC Design, outlined that the land development plan proposes construction of a two-story classroom addition and serving kitchen, as well as site improvements to the existing structure located at 459 W. King St.
 

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 46 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 

 
Resolution No. 47, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in denying an application submitted by Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects for work to be done at 37 W. Philadelphia St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 47 came up for discussion.
 

 
Blanda Nace, York County Industrial Development Authority, outlined that the project site is the former F.O.E. Building located at 37 W. Philadelphia St. Renovations will include a new public entrance and elevator addition. The design incorporates space for a PA Arts Center on the first floor with the second floor center of the building to remain a large open space available for various arts-related functions. The second and third floors of the front section of the building are separated from the rest of the building and will continue their current function as rental apartments. The remaining leaseable spaces in the north sections of the lower level and first floor include an existing commercial kitchen and office/storage area for a catering business.
 

 
Mr. Nace said this is a revision to the application previously approved by Council in November of last year (HARB #37-10H) as they are now requesting permission to remove the current lead glass windows. He explained that 11 windows in the east elevation are extremely deteriorated and displays rotted wood and missing pieces of glass. The plan is to replace the lead glass windows with custom manufactured aluminum clad wood windows with similar configurations. The windows would feature clear insulated glass with simulated divided lights to have the appearance of double-hung sash like the original windows. Mr. Nace stated that with this being an art facility, bright, natural light would be more appealing. He said the old lead glass windows will be turned into art pieces that will be displayed in the interior of the building. He said the facade is visible from the street but the majority of these windows will be fairly obscure. Mr. Nace feels the current windows are not distinctive to the building and that the most distinctive features are actually found on the inside of the building. He went on to explain that this is a $2.5 million project that is being funded through an RACP grant and as such, every penny counts. To repair the windows would cost approximately $100,000. Mr. Nace did say that the future prospective tenant is a non-profit organization.
 

 
President Ray asked if this is to be an arts facility, why are they proposing to remove the windows. Mr. Nace said they don't feel the windows are a definitive feature.
 

 
Councilman Nixon said he received a letter basically stating that most of the windows are intact. Mr. Nace responded that the windows are in place and won't fall out but there are holes in them and they are very deteriorated. Councilman Nixon asked if money could be raised to save these windows. Mr. Nace said that idea did come up at a HARB meeting but they haven't considered doing that.
 

 
Discussion ensued about stained glass versus lead glass, costs, and energy efficient windows.
 

 
David Redshaw, Chairman of HARB, stated that board members did not believe that maintaining the architectural character of 1/3 of the building justifies sacrificing another 1/3 of the building and removal and possible destruction of 100 year old art glass windows is not an acceptable preservation practice. He said the proposed replacements would not adequately replicate the appearance of the historic, double hung, wood sash windows. The proposed replacement would be flat and contemporary in appearance. He said HARB appreciates Council's past support of their recommendations for denial, which he detailed. Mr. Redshaw stated that HARB did discuss restoration of these windows in the original proposal approved by City Council in November of 2010 (HARB Case #37-10H); however, they feel the applicant has provided no compelling reason, other than financial implications, for removal of these windows. He said HARB has a very difficult time understanding why significant historical features of our city's architectural heritage could be sacrificed for the contemporary and expensive upgrades proposed for other areas of the building.
 

 
Councilwoman Smith said if these windows were on the front of the building she would be hard pressed to approve removing them but they are not. She said they are not that visible from the street. Additionally, she said grant funds are being used for this project and she agrees that every penny counts. Therefore, Councilwoman Smith said she supports removing the side windows with its replacements being the custom manufactured aluminum clad wood windows especially since the old windows will be turned into an art display. She said she'd like to keep the windows forever but it may be time for a change due to the financial circumstances and condition of the current windows.
 

 
Peter Bowles, resident, said he disagrees that the windows are insignificant and not noticeable. Mr. Bowles stated that the building was preserved in the past and those windows speak to the significance of that building and its meaning with the eagles being displayed in the lead glass. He said the public has a right to enjoy these windows. He suggested installing mechanisms to preserve the windows until they can be worked on.
 

 
Councilman Nixon asked if it would affect grant funding to preserve the windows. Mr. Nace responded that developer's don't normally preserve fixtures with the intent of coming back later to repair. He said RACP funding is contingent upon doing the project correctly.

 
 
President Ray asked if this grant is related to preservation. Mr. Nace so it is not. It's related to economic development.

 
 
Mike Helfrich, resident, opined that of all the features of this building, he feels the windows, especially the eagle display, stands out the most and he would like to see them remain. He did say a compromise could be made to keep the eagle windows as a feature of the building. Mr. Helfrich said he heard that York College might take over the second floor of the building. If that's the case, maybe the students could learn how to preserve the eagle windows as part of a class project.
 

 
Steve Young, resident, stated that he has spoken to several business owners with lead glass windows and they outlined how they bend and can be re-formed. He said putting local artists to work to fix these windows could be considered an art project. He suggested hearing for an art glass expert before making any decisions.
 

 
Marie Rohlader feels if we can stabilize a historic building until we can restore it then let's do it and get our priorities straight.
 

 
Brian O'Connor, resident, said if this building ever fails as a non-profit establishment, what will happen to the windows if they are turned into art displays.
 

 
Michael Miller, resident, stated to not follow the recommendations of HARB will set a precedent, especially when we are talking about costs being a factor for the applicant. If we ask requirements of our residents then we should expect the same from big businesses.
 

 
Marakay Rogers said the artists that she knows prefer natural light. Also, everything old is not historic or valuable and we have to be prepared to accommodate the use of the project. She feels the leaded glass is not that noticeable.
 

 
Mr. Nace wrapped up by saying if there is a commitment that needs to be made about the windows being turned into art and given to someone if the project fails, then he's willing to do that. Additionally, finances are not the primary issue with these windows. He said it's the practicality of the project.

 
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 47 accepting the recommendations of HARB in denying the application submitted by Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects was approved by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Ray – 4; Nays – Smith – 1. Therefore, the application to remove and replace the lead glass windows was denied.
 

 
Resolution No. 48, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a permit to V & L Properties for work to be done at 60 S. Beaver St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 48 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

 
Final Passage of Bill No. 6, Ordinance No. 6, Session 2011,(View) A Bill amending Article 513.14 "Parking Prohibited in Specified Places” to add the 300 block of N. George St., east side, as a restricted parking area during events at the baseball stadium (York Outdoor Recreation Complex), which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the March 15 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Bill No. 6 came up for discussion.

 
Brian O'Connor, resident, said he appreciates Council's consideration as they have exhausted all of their avenues for parking. Each time there is an event at the stadium, residents aren't able to find parking near their homes. He thanked Director Gross and staff for their willingness to accommodate their parking concerns.

 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 6, Ordinance No. 6, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Final Passage of Bill No. 7, Ordinance No. 7, Session 2011, (View) A Bill approving the 2011 Codified Ordinance replacement pages (2010 laws), which was introduced by Ray at the March 15 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 7, Ordinance No. 7, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
NEW BUSINESS

 
Introduction of Bill No. 8, Session 2011,(View) A Bill amending the Health and Sanitation Code of the Codified Ordinances to reflect changes made to two major food-related statutes by the PA Legislature (Act 106 of 2010), was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the April 19 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 9, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget in the amount of $22,210.31 to reflect additional funding from the Community Foundation for the Weyer Trust, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the April 19 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 10, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget to appropriate additional revenue in the amount of $50,000 for the Memorial Park improvements project (Total Amount: $440,118), was introduced by Smith, read by short title, and deferred until the April 19 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 11, Session 2011, (View) An Ordinance Vacating a portion of Jessop Place, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the May 3 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 12, Session 2011, (View) An Ordinance Vacating a portion of W. Springettsbury Ave., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the May 3 meeting of Council.

 
President Ray explained that in accordance with Section 2916 of the 3rd Class City Code, street vacations must sit for at least 28 days prior to consideration of passage and shall be advertised once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. Therefore, Bills 11-12 will be considered for final passage on or after May 3, 2011.

 
Andy Miller, LSC Design, explained that York College submitted a street vacation to vacate portions of W. Springettsbury Ave. and Jessop Place to prepare for plans for a reverse subdivision to consolidate several parcels into one. He said York College will maintain the vacated areas, which will not serve as a through-way.

 
SUPPLEMENTAL AGENDA

 
A motion was made by Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a supplemental agenda containing one item. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 13, Session 2011, (View) An Ordinance mending Article 1763 “Property Maintenance Code” of the Codified Ordinances, Section 302, to add requirements to maintain clean and safe sidewalks, fences, swimming pools, and exterior and unimproved areas, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the April 19 meeting of Council.

 
RESUMPTION OF NEW BUSINESS

 
Resolution No. 49, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution authorizing the filing of a DCNR grant in the amount of $250,000 for the Penn Park Improvements Project, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 49, came up for discussion.

 
Public Works Director Jim Gross explained that in February 2010 the Penn Park Vision and Action Plan was completed. The plan encompasses a major renovation of Penn Park and the children's playground. The Bring on Play (BOP) Committee has agreed to undertake construction of the new playground. The plan recommendations include a Children's Play Garden, which will be centrally located within the southwestern half of the park. Renovations to the park will preserve more than 15 acres of open space within the city. The grant application will be for $250,000 with a $250,000 match. The match funds will be provided by BOP ($50,000) the City of York ($150,000), the YMCA of York ($40,000) and the Beautiful York Endowment Committee ($10,000).

 
Joe Stein, BOP Committee, said they look forward to undertaking this project. He said they envision a splash park along with a rain garden and other green elements. He said BOP is a volunteer committee that has already completed very successful playground projects at Lincoln Park and Allen Park and they are currently working on a new playground for Westminster Park. BOP will be tasked with fundraising efforts, creation and implementation of family play events, promotion of play in our parks, and manpower for the playground community build. Mr. Stein said he is confident BOP will raise the $50,000. He said they were able to raise about $160,000 for the Lincoln Park playground project.

 
Mr. Stein then answered several questions about the project from Council. Council congratulated BOP for a job well done and said they look forward to the Penn Park project.

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

 
Resolution No. 50, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Rota-Mill in the amount of $55,867.05 for the 2011 Street Improvements – Milling, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 50 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 51, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Kinsley Construction in the amount of $536,105 for the 2011 Street Improvements – Paving, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 51 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 52, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing destruction of various files located in the City Clerk's Office in accordance with the Municipal Records Manual approved by the Local Government Records Committee on December 16, 2008, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 52 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None

COUNCIL COMMENT
 
Councilwoman Smith briefly discussed a series of foreclosure seminars that she feels will place York City in a position to be the only community to offer these types of workshops. She said these workshops have generated interest across the United States.

 
Councilman Nixon stated that we are all concerned about public safety and questioned why the York City Firefighter's union contract forbids any other firefighter to enter the city unless all York City firefighters are engaged no mater how close a suburban station is to the city fire. The Fire Chief's proposal actually puts 3 firefighters on a truck instead of 2 which increases the safety of our firefighters by 50%.

 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT

 
Director Gross alerted Council to a memo in their packets detailing related costs associated with our move to the new City Hall located at 101 S. George St. He said the Administration plans to offer an agenda item in June as they progress forward with plans to move. He did say there are various facility issues being worked on and that the Administration will try to provide Council with regular progress reports.

 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for April 19, 2011 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 5, 2011 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:01 p.m.