East Penn Press

Thursday, January 18, 2018

EMMAUS BOROUGH COUNCIL

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by tara carman Special to The Press in Local News

Resident raises concerns over borough vacating street

Resident Neil Carl, who owns property on South First Street, expressed his concerns about the borough vacating part of the street, at the Emmaus Borough Council meeting Sept. 18

Mike Wilson, of Motors Plus, is requesting to have part of the dead end street by his business, which is roughly 20 feet by 40 feet.

Carl complained the borough was allowing Wilson to operate his business within a 50-foot radius of a tributary of the Little Lehigh Creek, which Carl claims is against ordinances and the State Department of Environmental Protection agency.

“In your ordinances, under your environmental protection ordinances, because he’s within a 50-foot area of that creek, he has to get a Department of Environmental Protection permit to do any type of work even to be put there,” Carl said.

“We’ve gone through this with this man,” Borough Manager Shane Pepe said. “He actually already contacted the environmental people about this, they’ve gotten back to us, we went through all the processes for all the approval, everything was legal, everything was kosher, the man’s in there legally; that has nothing to do with this street.”

Carl also noted the last time he was at the property he noticed fuel running from the top of the location down to his own property. He said Councilman Nathan Brown was with him.

When asked to comment by Pepe, Brown said there was some sort of oil leak or gas running out of the garage and down the street.

Carl said he imagined there were a lot of incidents where cars are parked there and fuel is running down, hence why there’s an ordinance to be followed in the first place.

“We’re not removing his business Mr. Carl, this isn’t about his business” Pepe said. “This is about whether or not we’re going to vacate that road.”

Pepe said the borough hasn’t maintained that road in almost three years to which Carl argued he’s seen borough plow trucks there on multiple occasions.

Council President Brent Labenberg said the street will turn into a “taxable property where the borough residents will actually get some tax money out of it.”

Labenberg said this is just a vote to start moving forward with the process of having the solicitor start a draft of the South First Street vacancy. There will be public hearings and more committee meetings for Carl to attend to express his concern over the issue.

It was also announced later in the meeting that Wilson donated a motorcycle to the police department. Wilson will have lights and decals installed on the bike. The bike will not be used for patrol, but instead for parade purposes, funeral escorts, etc.

Ordinance 1159 passed its final reading which will improve the quality of the ticketing program that deals with resolving property blight and maintenance violation issues. This ordinance will allow the borough to directly issue tickets to homeowners in violation. A first offense ticket would be $25, second offense $50 and $100 for a third offense.

Ordinance 1160 passed its final reading which prohibits certain articles of furniture and appliances from being left on the exterior of a property, including any pieces that would be negatively affected by the elements. The borough will confiscate any furniture a resident fails to remove at the owner’s expense.

Ordinance 1161 passed its final reading which will allow the animal control officer to enforce vermin control ordinances.

All three ordinances were passed unanimously, with council agreeing these will tighten up any issues which may arise.

Ordinance 1163 passes its first reading which pertains to the number of members and residency requirements for the Emmaus Arts Commission. The new residency requirements will allow business owners in the borough to be on the commission, even if their home address is not within the township. It will also raise the number of seats on the commission from 11 to 13.

Mayor Winfield Iobst declared Oct. 27 as Trick-or-Treat night in Emmaus. The event will run 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and residents willing to participate should keep their porch or exterior lights on.

Council voted unanimously to support the handing out of candy at the Emmaus Halloween Parade Oct. 21. Volunteers are still needed for the event.

Resolution 2017-28 was passed which will establish an orientation program for newly elected borough officials. Pepe and other department heads will go through borough rules, functions and operations with newly appointed officials.