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Media Borough Council Workshop Summary March 3rd, 2011: Hampton Inn

Mar 03

Media Borough Council met for their regularly scheduled workshop on Thursday, March 3rd, at 7:37 PM, running late because of executive session.

The Hampton Inn

Items of controversy amongst Borough Council members surrounded the Hampton Inn, specifically related to a meeting last Tuesday, March 1st, where the representatives of the Hampton Inn requested Preliminary Approval of their plan.

Peter Williamson clarified that under Pennsylvania State law, Preliminary Approval of a plan essentially indicates that a particular plan is 95% approved, and during the Final Approval phase the only requests that must be legally honored by the applicant are those that are specifically listed during Preliminary Approval. So, as Peter Williamson stated, “Preliminary Approval for land development is a big deal.” In addition, he outlined:

“Pennsylvania is essentially a property rights state … And they grant to property owners who apply a lot of leverage and a lot of power in process … and one of the principal things is we, as a borough, have 90 days to make a decision on an application once submitted. And there are a lot of games played back and forth with that … and on this one, they’ve granted extensions to us, probably 3 or 4 times.”

The Hampton Inn project is both a subdivision application (meaning the modification of a lot) as they purchased adjacent land from neighbor PNC Bank, as well as a land development application for building the hotel.

The Planning Commission advised Borough Council to grant a preliminary subdivision approval, with seventeen (17) conditions which they could legally require the Hampton Inn to adhere to prior to Final Approval, with Solicitor Bob Scott adding an additional ten (10) conditions to those to adhere to Borough Code, according to Mr. Williamson.

Councilman Jim Cunningham brought up his overall objection to the entire project, and continued by criticizing the manner in which the applicants responded to questions, quoting them at various times.

His concerns surrounded the traffic on Baltimore Pike and how they addressed the sewage treatment issues for the site.

Historic: Merge Archives and Review Boards?

An extended discussion led by Monika Rehoric surrounded the desire of the Historic Archives Commission and the Historic Architectural Review Boards (HARB) to merge into a single entity. The debate surrounded the different structures of each group, and how a merge would affect the abilities of both groups to meet their goals.

As it stands today, the only overlap in terms of membership in both groups is the council liaison, Monika Rehoric.

Planning Commission: What’s your sign?

Council has discussed moving the authority to approve signage in town from the Planning Commission to the Zoning Hearing Board in order to make it simpler for businesses to get signs approved, as well as removing what can often be a mundane task by the Planning Commission.

However, according to council liaison Peter Williamson, the Planning Commission vehemently disagrees with this change, and recommended that they be left with this authority. The issue will be voted on, supposedly, in the legislative session in March.

Items of interest

This upcoming legislative meeting (March 17th, 2011), the following may be discussed:

  • Mass Gathering Permit
    • Blues Stroll scheduled Saturday, June 11th, 2011
    • Dining under the stars (Wednesdays from May 4th through September 28th, 2011)
    • Media Business Authority’s Art Show (Saturday September 10th, 2011)
  • Renewed postage meter agreement with Pitney Bowes
  • Consider amendment for “Non uniformed employees” pension plan to allow retirement at age 60 after 35 years of service
  • Considering proposals for web site redesign
  • Disposal of old computer equipment
  • A proposal which allows the Borough Manager to destroy old documents which have outlived their usefulness


There was no public comment at any point during the meeting.