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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Council: In Brief

• Following a twice-scheduled public hearing, Borough Council Monday evening voted 5-3 to establish a new Borough Parking Authority.

Voting yes in a roll call vote: Mike Handwerk (D-Middle); Mike Speck (D-East); David Gill (D-West); Carlos Ciruelos (D-East); Council President Henry Wagner (D-Middle).

Voting no: Kendrick Buckwalter (R-West); Jeff Senley (R-North); Richard Mark Kirkner (D-North).

Objections centered on the alternative of a “Parking Committee” and a Borough “Parking Department.” Acting Borough Manager Brian Watson said, however, that if managed internally, parking matters would be assigned to the Codes Department, and that “Codes is understaffed as it is.” What time was devoted to new issues “we’d be losing out on codes enforcement.”

• Father James Evans addressed in public participation the accusations heard on Council floor April 15 and again in the Planning Commission meeting April 24 from Commission member George Martynick that Evans had violated state and Borough ethics rules.

Evans presented material on both the ethics rules and the issues of amended Downtown Commercial zoning district provisions around which the accusations centered, all of which, he said, demonstrated that the charges had no substance. “I don’t know what Mr. Martynick’s motivation was,” Evans said, “but I’m certain that he did not research them. I hope that I retain the confidence of Council.”

He was assured that he did; Council President Henry Wagner said he “valued the time and energy” Evans devoted to the Commission and the community, and that he was “embarrassed that a body like the Commission” would have such charges discussed “on the Planning Commission floor” as “inappropriate.”

Other Council highlights:

• Mark Connolly, president of the Phoenixville Iron Canal and Trails Association, presented Council with copies of the 2005 master plan for the Schuylkill River Trail, to re-engage Council in discussions on completion of segments of the trail through the Borough.

• The Parks, Property and Recreation Committee voted unanimously to recommend that Council approve the name “Veterans Memorial Park,” suggested by Mayor Leo Scoda, for the North Side park in development commonly known as Melchiorre Park.

• A proposal from High Street resident Kurt Kaminsky for the installation of a residential wind turbine generating electricity for his own use was sent to the Planning Commission for its review and recommendation.

Posted by
G.E. Lawrence


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