Lack of quorum halts boro action

BY STACI WILSON

Montrose Borough’s business meeting came to a quick to a halt Monday night when the council lost its quorum before even reaching the action items listed on the agenda.

Four members of council present at the start of the meeting – Todd Chamberlain, Craig Reimel, Julanne Skinner and Sean Granahan – made the slim quorum necessary to vote. But Granahan’s departure at about 7:40 p.m. left the council without the necessary members to take action.

The remaining three members discussed the Memorial Park restroom bid. Only one bid had been received, and Reimel said it came in near the projected cost of the project.
Reimel said the borough street department plans to do most of the site work needed and will perform the work to the builder’s specifications.

Construction of the new restrooms at the park is anticipated to start in September of this year, Reimel said.

The borough also received one bid for its Liquid Fuels Surface Treatment and Microsurfacing for this construction season.

Street Department Supervisor Ken DiPhillips said that “everything has got to fall into place” for the planned roadwork to happen in the short paving season.

The borough intends to use JHA for its code enforcement but before that can be done, the borough needs to change language in an ordinance that has the Council of Governments (COG) as its designated code enforcement official.
The ordinance change would need to be advertised before council could hold a hearing to make the change.

Reimel said that until the ordinance is amended naming JHA, the company can not do codes work in the borough. The borough will continue to use COG until the new ordinance is in place.

The restroom and surface treatment bids, along with voting to advertise the ordinance will be handled at the borough’s mid-month meeting on Monday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m.

While council could still vote, the purchase of vinyl fencing for behind the borough building was approved.

Council also approved the purchase of materials to upgrade the street signs along the SR 706 project.

Council also discussed proposed solutions to water issues on Wilson Street. DiPhillips is looking into having curbing installed from Lincoln to Park to help direct water flow to drainage areas.

Several residents in that area park along the street, but most have driveways. Chamberlain suggested DiPhillips reach out to homeowners along the street for input.

At the request of the county maintenance department, the borough agreed, pending review by the solicitor, to install crosswalks between Lake Avenue and Prospect, and Chenango and Pine.

The borough police are looking to work in conjunction with an area ice cream shop to reward children utilizing proper safety equipment while riding bicycles, skateboard, etc.

Children the police see wearing helmets and safety gear would be given a coupon for a small ice cream.

Police Chief Dale Smith reported that the warmer weather has led to more incidents but there were no major issues in the borough over the holiday weekend.

He also said that police have made the majority of traffic stops on High Street, for drivers not stopping at the sign; and in the business area for red light violations.

Resident David Breese asked council about enforcement of the burn ordinance. He reported that he is able to small noxious fumes in his neighborhood.

“I don’t feel we should have to shut the house up,” Breese said as he asked for council’s assistance.

“There’s no real reason for that to be happening in the borough,” Reimel said.

Reimel said that the ordinance prohibits people from burning wet food and noxious materials, adding council may need to update the latest zoning ordinance to prohibit burning, especially the burning of garbage. Currently, residents are allowed to burn paper.

Reimel also said the problem could be addressed by using the existing “nuisance ordinance.”

Police can be called using the non-emergency number (570-278-1312) to respond to the area and document the incident if the zoning officer is not available.

Breese thanked the police for their assistance with his previous calls regarding the burning.

Earle Wootton discussed possible parking solutions along Locust Street with council.

He proposed adding spaces along the street to accommodate vehicles that are parked along the roadway, partially blocking the roadway and the sidewalk.

After some discussion on possible alternatives, the borough will look into curbing the area to prevent damage to the sidewalks and prevent vehicles from obstructing the lane of travel.

Joe Hunt also approached council about EST Equity’s plan to purchase the former Montrose Publishing building on South Main St.

Hunt wanted to register the existing non-conforming uses; and was also seeking the borough’s approval of the conditional use permit.

Hunt said all of the proposed uses for the building are permitted in the commercial district but multiple occupants require the conditional use approval.

Council was not able to give him the approval he needed at the meeting, but noted that they did not see any immediate problems or concerns with the plans presented.