2015-02-17 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2015

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

Silent Meditation and Pledge of Allegiance:  A silent moment was taken followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:  Bast-present; Cusat-present; Mope-absent; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the December 2, 2014 regular meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-1. He asked if the penalties and interest being charged will be funding the proposed land banks. He also commented on Ordinances 2015-4, 2015-5 and 2015-6. Rabo felt the Zoning Ordinance should be amended to include a classification for adult oriented businesses in order to avoid any future lawsuits. He said the Zoning Ordinance should be updated because it has not been amended since 1992. He said there is no need for a BYOB Ordinance because he feels the Nuisance Ordinance already addresses those issues. Rabo asked Council to look into enacting a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance instead because it would be “all inclusive.”

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on the appointments. She said the Health Services Authority is defunct and, at their last meeting, they stated that it was going to be their last meeting. She was concerned with the fact that some of the people being appointed are not from Hazleton. Deakos said more people from Hazleton need to be appointed to these authorities, boards and commissions, because we need people who have a “vested interest” in the City.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he felt the BYOB Ordinance was a good thing. He suggested putting a tax on the bottles people bring into these places. This would be revenue for the City. Tarantino said there should be a specific area zoned for adult entertainment in the City.

Ted Sherrock, 67 Franklin Street, Hazleton said he supported the appointments of Robert Hoppy and Mary Pat Stroia to the Health Services Authority. He said both of them are very knowledgeable. Hoppy is a lifelong resident and holds property in the City. Sherrock stated he has been on the Health Services Authority Board for many years, and it needs to keep running. He hoped they would get more bonds with the hospital. He added that this is for the whole Hazleton area and not just Hazleton City.

Frank DeAndrea, Hazleton Police Chief, said the $200.00 fee should be changed to $25.00 under Section 9 of the BYOB Ordinance. This was a typographical error.

             

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-1 An Ordinance Approving a Penalty, Interest and Fee Schedule for Collection of Delinquent Real Estate Taxes (2nd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mundie asked if the City Solicitor reviewed this Ordinance. Cohen said he “briefly” reviewed it. Mundie asked about the alternative collector, and Bast responded Berkheimer will only be used if the taxes are arrears. Otherwise, it will be collected by Luzerne County Tax Commission.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2015-1 An Ordinance Approving a Penalty, Interest and Fee Schedule for Collection of Delinquent Real Estate Taxes (3rd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES

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Ordinance 2015-2 Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2014 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar said Fermin should be here to answer questions about this. Cusat said that the City needs to adopt a plan first before giving them any money. Bast stated that Fermin said the plan does not need to be adopted first. Krista Schneider of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress said they are not in any great hurry for this. She said if this is adopted, then CDBG can fund Phase 1 of the project. This is just one component of the Plan. Cohen said he recalls Fermin stating that this plan needs to be approved first in order for the project to move forward. Bast commented that the longer this takes, the longer it will be for the environmental review to be completed.

Roll Call:  Bast-no; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2015-2 Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2014 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-no; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2 (3-YESSES; 1-NO; 1-ABSENT)

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-22 Reappointment to the Zoning Hearing Board – John Tunnessen (TABLED 2/3/15)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie. On the Question:

Mundie asked if the Mayor received Cohen’s opinion on this matter. Cohen responded yes. He added that the Mayor is still looking into a replacement for Tunnessen.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table):  Bast-no; Cusat-no; Mope-absent; Sosar-no; Mundie-no

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2015-25 Acceptance of Property Transfer Offer by Sullivan Trail Partnership (TABLED 2/3/15)

NO MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE MADE RESOLUTION FAILS

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-3 Amending Ordinance 2013-12 Adopting the Quality of Life and Violations Ticket Process in the City of Hazleton (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mike Wilfing, Code Enforcement Supervisor, said this Ordinance is being done to make it better for the Magistrate. The Magistrate did not like the way it was worded, and he did not agree with the wording for service or appeals. Sosar asked what changes were made. Wilfing said Section 6 was changed. The notice used to be placed on the building, but it was hard to prove a case if the notice blew away or a tenant took it down. Wilfing said we can still do this, but there are other things that must be done first. Bast asked about people refusing to sign the notice. Wilfing responded that if they refuse, the Code Enforcement Office will make note of it. He said that 90% of people will sign the notice. Sosar said there is a problem with managers not being around. He asked if this change will enable Code Enforcement to pursue other remedies. Wilfing responded yes.   Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2015-4 Prohibiting Public Nudity, Public Indecency, Lewd, Immoral, and Improper Acts and Conduct, and Prescribing Penalties for Violations Thereof (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar said there is definitely a need for this type of ordinance, but this is very complex and detailed. Bast felt that some of the provisions in this Ordinance can be seen as targeting certain businesses. Sosar asked if DeAndrea looked at this and if he was comfortable with it. DeAndrea said the City needs some type of ordinance regarding this matter. DeAndrea said he and the Solicitor will provide more input on this matter for the next meeting. Bast stated that if this passes first reading, he would like to meet with the Solicitor and discuss this matter. Cohen said that all the things in this Ordinance are covered in Section 1A (1-5) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, therefore, he feels this is “duplicative.” He added that the definitions listed are vague and could be subject to a constitutional challenge. He said that he would advise that Section 9 of the Ordinance be rewritten to provide 10 days before enforcement. Bast made a motion to table the Ordinance, and Sosar seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call (on Motion to Table):  Bast-yes; Cusat-no; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-no

MOTION TO TABLE FAILS 2-2-1 (2-YESSES; 2-NOS; 1-ABSENT)

Back on the Question:

Mundie asked that Council look into what other municipalities have done regarding this matter. Cusat said this Ordinance came from the Solicitor of Wilkes-Barre Township and is currently being enforced. He added that Berwick has one in place as well. Sosar said he understands that it is needed, but he has some questions that need clarification. Mundie was concerned with the constitutionality of the Ordinance. Sosar had a problem with some of the wording. He would prefer if it read that there would be 10 to 30 days before it is enacted. He said he would need to look at some of the problem areas before voting on second and third readings.

Roll Call:  Bast-no; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-no

ORDINANCE FAILS 2-2-1 (2-YESSES; 2-NOS; 1-ABSENT)

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Ordinance 2015-5 An Ordinance Directing, Regulating and Providing Provisions Relating to Bring-Your-Own-Bottle (BYOB) Activities in the City of Hazleton Entitled the “Hazleton City BYOB Ordinance” (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Bast asked about the current liability insurance coverage. DeAndrea said restaurants are covered by Liquor Control Board. Only BYOBs would need the $1 million in coverage. This is the standard for use of anything in the City. Bast asked about Liquor Control Board’s liability coverage. Cusat stated some have $5 million and others have $10 million. Mundie felt this could be a burden to small restaurants. DeAndrea said there is no BYOB Ordinance at this time, and this is just so we are not opened up to a lawsuit if someone has no insurance. Mundie asked what the cost is for $1 million liability insurance policy. Mike Wilfing, Code Enforcement Supervisor, said it depends on certain variables. Cusat said most places already have liability insurance, and an additional policy will not be required. Cusat made a motion to amend Section 9 of the Ordinance where the cost is listed as $200.00. This is a typographical error and should be $25.00. Mundie seconded the motion.

  1st Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

1ST MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Back on the Question:

Cusat made a motion to amend the definition of alcoholic beverages by adding “or other intoxicating substances as further defined in the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.”

2nd Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

2ND MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Back on the Question:

Cusat motioned to amend Section 6 of the Ordinance between paragraph D and E, as follows: “No alcoholic beverages may be served to any adult where a minor is seated unless the minor is seated with his parent, legal guardian or proper supervisor.” Sosar seconded the motion.

3rd Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

3RD MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Back on the Question:

Cusat suggested assessing a “corking charge” for those people bringing in their own bottles. DeAndrea said that would be difficult to enforce and hard to keep track of. This fee is usually applied to places where you bring in your own bottles and store them there. Then you are being served from your own stock. DeAndrea said this is not the same as a BYOB. Cusat said some places charge extra for bringing in your own liquor. Cusat felt that the ordinance should have some restrictions such as being at least 500 feet from a school, etc. He added that exceptions should be made for churches. Sosar commented that most churches and charities do not have BYOB events. Bast suggested leaving this section the way it is. Sosar said that some of these types of ordinances should go before planning and zoning so we receive their input as well. Mundie asked where this Ordinance originated from, and DeAndrea responded Chambersburg. He made some minor changes to it such as an 11:00 pm closing time and a $600 fine for violation. DeAndrea said he has been working on this since September 2014. He stated that most places that are not bars will not be serving alcohol after 11:00 pm. This is just for those places that do not have a liquor license. DeAndrea added that this time could be changed in the future, if needed.

Roll Call (as amended):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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  Ordinance 2015-6 Bottle Club Ordinance (1st Reading)

NO PRESENTATION MADE ORDINANCE FAILS

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-27 Reappointment to the Health Services Authority – Robert Hoppy

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-28 Appointment to the Health Services Authority – Mary Pat Stroia

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-29 Appointment to Tri-Area Recreation Authority – Frank Romero

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-30 Reappointment to the UCC Appeals Board – Mark Imbriacco

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-31 Reappointment to the Shade Tree Commission – Dr. Carl Frankel

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-32 Reappointment to the Shade Tree Commission – Dr. Christopher Goguen

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-33 Reappointment to the UCC Appeals Board – John Synoski

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-34 Reappointment to the Civil Service Commission – Molly Blasko

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-absent; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

           

Comments from the Audience:  Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton expressed her concerns with the dilapidated house on Third Street and Penn Court.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton said the City should develop a new zoning designation for adult oriented businesses. He said this would provide “more prevalent means” for controlling these types of businesses. He asked Council to also look into some type of municipal licensing for adult oriented businesses. Rabo said Act 120, Chapter 55 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes allows the City to adopt a municipal nuisance abatement ordinance. This would target all nuisance properties and businesses. Rabo commented that the City needs to appoint more people to the Blighted Property Committee. Mundie said he would mention that to the Mayor.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he was under the impression that there was already an adult oriented business area in the City over by the Laurel Drive In. He said the City needs to have a defined area for this type of business.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:  None.

Comments from Junior Council:  Josh Narrow said he likes the Downtown Hazleton Revitalization Plan and asked that they consider putting in a bookstore.

Comments from Council:  Bast thanked everyone for coming, and he also thanked Krista Schneider from the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Revitalization for coming tonight and speaking with Council.

Cusat thanked all the people who have volunteered to serve on the various boards, authorities and commissions. He asked people to let him know if they would like to volunteers for some of these vacant positions.

Sosar thanked everyone for coming.

Mundie thanked all those individuals currently serving on the authorities, boards and commissions. He said it is not an easy job. He stated that he is circulating a petition asking the Mayor to resign. Mundie commented “We can make Hazleton a better place.”

Adjournment:  Mundie motioned to adjourn the meeting with Sosar seconding the motion. Meeting adjourned.