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August Borough Council Workshop Notes

Aug 02

August Borough Council Workshop Notes

I haven’t been posting as much lately, largely due to vacation this summer, but I figured it was time for an update of what’s going on in Media Borough.

By way of expedience, I’m going to post my meeting notes from the August 1 workshop and elaborate where it makes sense. My notes mirror the meeting agenda.

I. Public Comment

The majority of comments from residents surrounded what appear to be current important issues of residents:

  • Stormwater issues with residents in the 800 block of North Olive Street
  • Apparent rise in the water lake level of Broomall’s Lake in contradiction with a recent DEP order
  • Loss of parking on 4th and Lemon due to landscaping changes by Broomall’s Lake Country Club

Franky Freeborn – 4th Street

Ms. Freeborn wanted to discuss the issues with the loss of parking on 4th and Lemon Street, and indicated that the new development is making the parking situation worse, with residents getting into verbal fights over parking spaces, and concerns over the ability to “reserve a space” on the street. She stated that she lived in Media for 40 years, and parking was a problem back when she first moved to town, and it appears even greater now.

Brian Hall responded with:

  • We are aware of the parking situation and our solicitor and engineer have confirmed that, in fact, 13 feet of the parking area is in Media Borough’s right of way and the residents may parallel park there.
  • No resident or developer may reserve a space on the street and if an issue arises which gets heated, to call 911 and have the police come and resolve the issue.
  • When the development on West 4th Street came before council last year, residents were not in favor of the aesthetic of off-street parking.

I also brought up the point that off-street parking in front of residences also takes away public parking spaces for private use, in this case the loss of up to two spaces on the street.

Monika Rehoric suggested we send a letter to builder, indicating that spaces in front of the development are not reserved exclusively for his use. President Hall suggested we send our Code Enforcement officer, Jim Jeffery, down to speak with the developer.

Dylan Atkins: 3rd and Kirk (Upper Providence)

Dylan came to ask if Media Borough knew anything about the changes at Broomall’s Lake, including a blind on the lake side of the fence and the water level increases.

  • Bob Scott (Borough Solicitor), said that PA DEP is the enforcement body for the lake level and Media Borough does not have the jurisdiction to enforce DEP orders.
  • Brian Hall: We are aware of what is going on down there, that Media Borough does not know who is responsible for the changes to the water level, and that our Emergency Management director (Jim Jeffery) noticed the curtain, noticed that posted DEP order has been taken down, and had contacted DEP regarding his observations. We don’t know who has done those things. There’s also a haybale stuffed into spillway.
  • DEP considers this to be an unsafe dam. We have notified DEP of our observations.

Paul Indorf: W 4th Street

  • Can we put a road closed at the end of the block for end of State at Lemon during Dining under the Stars? Many cars turn down state and have to U-Turn to get out. Generally favorable response from Council, suggestion was to place a Road Closed Ahead sign at State and Lemon. We would talk with Ralph DeRosa (Media Borough Highway Department) to put up a sign saying road closed at head of street.
  • Given Senate Bill 1, a new Transportation Bill where PA DEP is reducing the weight limits on half of the bridges in PA due to budget cuts, he asserted concerns regarding funding availability and Broomall’s Dam related issues, suggesting that if council is of the mind to enter into another legal agreement with Broomall’s Dam, that the borough protect themselves in case funding becomes unavailable. (And I agree – something I have been discussing for years)

Thomas Smith: 800 Block of Olive Street

  • Continue to want support for fixing of Olive Street storm water. President Hall asked him to wait until the end as he had a video showing storm water issues on Olive Street.

Laura Herbert: N Olive Street

  • Ms. Herbert wanted to also discuss N Olive storm water issues, but also wanted to ask about trucks on Olive Street, stating that North Olives street down to 6th Street is a no-truck zone, yet she experienced 6 or more large tractor trailers per day heading down her street, and was concerned about the noise and safety issues.
  • Can the borough do anything to enforce the no-truck zone?
  • Paul Robinson responded that if it’s a truck doing a local delivery in Media or at nearby addresses, it’s an allowed use. What’s not allowed is trucks “cutting through” as shortcuts. He asked what brands were on the trucks, to which Ms. Herbert didn’t have any specifics.
  • Mr. Robinson suggested we refer the issue to the Media Police Department to monitor and enforce, and said he would be in touch with the chief.

    North Olive Street Storm water issues

    North Olive Street Storm water issues

Julie and Tom Smith

Local residents of the 800 block of North Olive Street made a second appearance to show a video to all of council regarding storm water issues on North Olive Street and showed a video of water issues on their block.

  • Issues with Ridge Road – no grates
  • Reviewed issues: N Olive Street

The core of the discussion was suggestions by the borough engineer who suggested re-paving Olive street to place an arc in the street to keep water on the East side of the street. As paving will start this month, we discussed the best way to incorporate this change for residents this year. We agreed to ask the engineer to work with our paving contractor to come up with a change order, if needed, to incorporate a fix for N Olive Street drainage.

A second, more expensive option, is to add additional road cuts to allow more water to flow into the pipes beneath Olive Street. We agreed we’d look into if changes to the road crown are insufficient to improve the storm water situation.

III. Engineer’s Report

  • Media Borough Paving should be completed by end of August
  • 4th and Lemon: Ok to park parallel.
  • Parking Garage: waiting on Structural Engineer: Joe Barbado. I asked specifically about expediting this project, as it was postponed from last year, and it’s essential that we get these repairs done this year.
    • Note to Bob Johnston – what do we need to do to expedite Parking Garage repairs?

IV. Solicitor’s Report

Wawa: Three different tracks

Bob Scott outlined the legal issues regarding the Wawa application. There are essentially three processes which need to be completed for this project to move forward:

  • Land Development: Media Real Estate has started this process first. The only reason the application could get rejected at this phase is if it does not comply with applicable ordinances. If it does apply with all local ordinances, we have to approve it – or if we reject it we have to list the sections of the ordinance within which it does not comply.
  • Zoning: They will likely need zoning relief for this project, specifically, getting title to the land to develop the Wawa, and additional variances which would have to be granted by the Zoning Hearing Board. We would ask to add conditions that they get title to all land for this project, and additional allowances depending on what is recommended to make this a good project.
  • Land Ownership: Securing ownership of ground lease for all land (Baker Street) is the only aspect of this project for which Borough Council has full jurisdiction.

Bob Scott argued that they would likely be approved for both the Land Development and Zoning, and we should argue to get the best project available there if Borough Council is of the mind to approve the project, or if in the future Borough Council agrees to relinquish or relocate Baker Street to the applicant.

Newspaper boxes – to bike racks

Brian Hall had made a request to the engineer regarding changing the newspaper boxes and using the racks for bicycle racks.

  • Borough Council entered into an agreement with newspapers in the past with Councilwoman Krull
  • Bob Scott indicated he would reach out to her to find out what agreements were put in place and report back

Houtman Park

Brian Hall asked about the status of the Houtman Park renovation project with Upper Providence:

  • Land Development: we have requested to waive fees for the Land Development application
  • Parking requirement: Upper Providence has requested that we place parking onsite, but residents have expressed a preference to keep the parking on the street. Our Solicitor will ask to waive parking requirements because we are enhancing existing property with similar use.

V. Mayor’s Report

  • Phone call from a resident on East Jefferson Street – the light closest to 252 has been “out” for several weeks. Suggest to residents to call borough when seeing lights out. PR: Have Police review lights as they are only staff on call at night.
  • Dining under the Stars: 3000 visitors last night.

VI. Council Reports

A. Finance and Library

One item on my agenda which is for the mid-year update, basically a bookkeeping matter. We had several expenses in this year’s budget (new police cars) which were in last year’s budget, so the changes keep the budget in balance.

I also reported on the Capital Improvement Plan and our new intern, Amina who will be working on the Capital Improvement Plan.

In other news, Jeff Smith noted that financially Media Borough is doing well, with revenues at 66% at mid-year (usually should be at 50%) and expenditures level. Historically we start capital projects at this point of the year so we should remain conservative with our financial projections.

B. Recreation and Shade Tree

  • Dawn Roe was not present.

C. Properties

  • Monica Simpson was not present. Paul Robinson requested that we replace ceiling tiles in Police Department – stating they were deteriorating.

D. CDC, Personnel, MAC

Brian Hall went over his agenda:

1. Media Borough is hiring a new assistant to the Borough Manager

  • We have interviewed and found a candidate and will be making an offer this month.

2. Offer a 457 plan (similar to 401k) in lieu of a Pension plan

  • Non-union staff only. We are migrating non-union staff to 457 savings plans in lieu of a Pension plan.

3, 4, 5, 6. Already discussed

7. Request for Our Town consultant

  • Funds requested for Tom Moran to apply for a NEA grant to improve the Plum Street mall. Mr. Moran runs a sculpture garden in New Jersey. Need to get resumé and additional information about the request from Karen Taussig-Lux.

Brian Hall gave an update on the Broomall’s Dam project: No word from the other parties regarding Broomall’s Dam renovation project, and our court brief responding to the appeal from Broomall’s Lake Country Club is due August 16th, our lawyer is planning on filing a brief to respond to their appeal.

E. Technology, MBA

  • Dr. Stein was not present.

F. Health and Historic

  • One issue regarding hiring of a graphic designer: This was approved previously and we need to simply ratify the expenditure for $2000 this month.

VII. Public Comment and Privilege of the Floor

Lisa Johnson, who is a candidate for Borough Council, requested that President Hall repeat his comments regarding the Broomall’s Dam project.