2015-03-10 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, March 10, 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-absent; Cusat-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the December 11, 2014 regular meeting and the December 17, 2014 special meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton asked where the City Solicitor was, and Mundie responded that he was on vacation. Tarantino asked about the BYOB Ordinance and said there needs to be a distinction between a BYOB Club and a BYOB Restaurant. He asked who made the Sewer Authority appointment, and Mundie said it was made by Council.

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-3 Amending Ordinance 2013-12 Adopting the Quality of Life and Violations Ticket Process in the City of Hazleton (2nd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.   Roll Call:  Bast-absent; Cusat-yes; Mope-abstain; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

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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” (2nd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mope said she was abstaining from voting until she receives the outcome of her zoning hearing.

Cusat motioned to amend the Ordinance as follows:

• Under Section 3 (Definitions), remove the entire definition for BYOB Facility Restricted Area. • Under Section 4 (Authorization of BYOB Operations via BYOB Operations Permit), Paragraph F, add the words “laws and” between municipal and codes to read “municipal laws and codes.” • Under Section 5 (Authorization of BYOB Operations via BYOB Special Event Permit), Paragraph H, add the words “laws and” between municipal and codes to read “municipal laws and codes.” • Under Section 6 (Performance Standards), Paragraph A, remove the sentence that states “The facility business owners, event organizers, business managers, as well as offending patrons, may be prosecuted for violation of this provision.” • Under Section 6 (Performance Standards), Paragraph B, add the word “physical” between into and contact to read “coming into physical contact.” • Under Section 6 (Performance Standards), Paragraph B, delete the second sentence and replace with “Entertainers in the interior of a BYOB establishment’s building shall not be visible from outside that building.” • Under Section 9 (Fees), add a new paragraph that reads “Second and Subsequent Requests – Should a qualified applicant who has successfully received a BYOB Special Event Permit request a second or subsequent BYOB Special Operations Permit during the same calendar year, the fee shall be waived.” • Under Section 11 (Revocation), in the first paragraph, replace the word “minimum” with the word “period” to read “for a period of six months.” • Under Section 11 (Revocation), remove the second and third paragraphs and replace with “Permit and revocation decisions shall be made by the Chief of Police or his/her designee. Any person aggrieved of such a decision may appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction. The City shall, upon filing such appeal, consent to any request by a permit applicant or a person whose permit has been revoked, expedited review to such appeal. The City shall certify any record to the court within twenty (20) days of any request by the court to do so.” • Under Section 12 (Summary Closure), delete the last sentence in the paragraph that reads “The City may take summary action to close the property without complying with the notification provisions of Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, but shall provide such notice as is reasonable under the circumstances.” • Add a new section that reads “Grandfathering - This Ordinance applies to any and all existing BYOB establishments in the City of Hazleton, which are fully bound by all provisions regulating same herein, upon adoption of this Ordinance. All permits required by this Ordinance shall be obtained by any and all existing BYOB establishments in the City of Hazleton within 30 days of adoption of this Ordinance.”

Sosar seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

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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” (3rd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

             

RESOLUTIONS

None.

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-7 An Ordinance Approving the Consolidated Strategy for Housing and Community Development Programs for Fiscal Years 2015-2019 & Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 and Revision to FY 2014 Budget (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Cusat asked Fermin if any money from CD may be used for a land bank. Fermin responded yes, but the homes need to be marketed and sold to low to moderate income families. She added that the property could not just sit there. Mope said she would like to see more money put towards the elderly and low income families for such things as siding, windows, etc. Sosar asked how many sections of the City are considered low to moderate, and Fermin responded there are three sections in the City at this time as per the last census. Sosar asked if the map will be changed, and Fermin said yes.

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

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Ordinance 2015-8 An Ordinance requiring Hazleton City Work Authorization Permits for Certain Items Once Covered by Ordinance 2009-16 (Previously Rescinded) and Ordinance 2013-11 regarding Exemptions to the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, and Rescinding Ordinance 2013-11 (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar asked what this is about. Mike Wilfing, Code Enforcement Supervisor, said an Ordinance was previously passed regarding this matter, but it was not in the proper form or order. This Ordinance rectifies the problem and complies with the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Sosar asked if these things were covered before under the UCC, and Wilfing responded yes. Cusat asked about the fees being charged. Wilfing said we used to following a sliding fee schedule, but now we are following a flat fee schedule. Sosar asked if there will be an increase in the fees, and Wilfing said no. It will save people some money doing it this way. Mundie asked the media to mention this.

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

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-35 Appointment to the Zoning Hearing Board – Ronald Radtke

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-1-1 (3-YESSES; 1-ABSTAIN; 1-ABSENT)

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Resolution 2015-36 Reappointment to the Downtown Overlay District Review Committee – Peg Bono

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-37 Reappointment to the Hazleton Housing Authority – Ann Sullivan

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-38 Appointment to the Shade Tree Commission – Frank Skokoski

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-39 Appointment to the Sewer Authority – Ted Sherrock

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-40 Authorizing and Directing the Mayor to Sign and Submit PennDOT’s Applications for Traffic Signal Approval on behalf of the Hazleton Area School District for its Safe Routes to School Project for the Heights-Terrace Elementary/Middle School

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Ed Gunshore, Project Manager in the Hazleton Area School District (HASD), said the improvements will include new curbs and sidewalks for students. PennDOT requires the City’s approval for this in order for the HASD to move forward with this project. Gunshore stated they will also be replacing two traffic signals and adding one traffic signal. These improvements will be made by PennDOT. Mundie asked who owns the property where the walkway will be built. Gunshore responded it is a public right-of-way. Mundie asked when the project will begin, and Gunshore responded they are going to begin accepting proposals in April. DeAndrea said this has already been approved by the Police Department. Sosar asked if the signals will be flashing all of the time. Gunshore said no. They will be on new timers, have better hardware, and will have LED lights. Mope said those signals currently flash in the summer when there is no school. Gunshore said that is a programming problem that will be rectified with the installation of the new equipment.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-1-1 (3-YESSES; 1-ABSTAIN; 1-ABSENT)

           

Comments from the Audience:  Joe Senevich, no address given, said he feels some of the details in the BYOB Ordinance should be further reviewed and researched. He said he owns a bar in West Hazleton and lives in Hazleton City. Bar owners invest a lot of money into their businesses. He is afraid anyone will be able to obtain a BYOB Permit and it will be hard to control. Senevich said BYOBs bring in more trouble. He also was concerned with these places not having insurance coverage. Mundie said BYOBs have never been regulated and we are trying to change that. He said the new restrictions will put a “damper” on some of them, and the restrictive hours will stop some of them completely. They will also need to provide insurance coverage. Mundie said other cities have passes this type of legislation and it has worked. Senevich asked if they still need to go through the Liquor Control Board (LCB). Cusat said only if they are selling liquor. The LCB does not regular BYOBs. Senevich asked why the fee was lowered to $25.00. Mundie said it was lowered because he does not want to hurt the smaller restaurants. Cusat said BYOBs must have a business license, inspections, etc., and be an established business. Cusat said that hookah bars are not regulated by the state, but alcohol is. Senevich was concerned on how this Ordinance was going to be enforced.

Dominic Tolerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton asked if the number of hookah bars in the city can be regulated. Mundie said we cannot do that. Cusat stated that Council is not targeting hookah bars. Wilfing stated there is only one hookah bar in the City at this time. Tolerico commented that he spoke to a City resident and was told that a lawyer could close them down for $4,000. Sosar said residents may be able to take legal courses of action that City Council cannot. Tolerico asked Council to consider limiting these types of establishments now before it gets too out of hand. Mope said Council does not want to target anyone. Cusat commented that they are not all bad.

Ted Sherrock, 67 Franklin Street, Hazleton thanked Council for passing his appointment to the Sewer Authority Board. He said he will do his very best and make the right decisions on behalf of the ratepayers.

Chief Frank DeAndrea, Hazleton Police Department, thanked Council for their work on the BYOB Ordinance. He said this will give the police the tools to quell some of the problems with these types of establishments. He stated that this will not target anyone in particular and it will help a lot.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton asked if the hookah bar in Hazleton has a liquor license, and Cusat responded yes. Tarantino suggested having a particular area of the City zoned for adult entertainment businesses.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:  None.

Comments from Junior Council:  Josh Narrow felt the BYOB Ordinance will do the City a lot of good.

Joel Soto asked what is meant by a violation ticket, and Mundie responded that it is just a violation of a particular ordinance.

Alex Ortiz said he felt the BYOB Ordinance was a good thing. He felt it may help solve some of the City’s issues.

Comments from Council:  Cusat thanked Council and DeAndrea for the work done on the BYOB Ordinance. He said he does not want to hurt anyone by this Ordinance, but certain things need to be addressed before the problem gets out of control. Cusat said that he is working on Ordinances for yard sales, food trucks and adult entertainment.

Sosar thanked everyone for coming. He said we can all have different opinions and still be able to work together to come to a solution. He added that he hopes Council is making a difference in the community.

Mope said the BYOB Ordinance is a good idea. She said it could always be “tweaked” down the road if something in it is not working out. Mope stated the BYOBs were running without any type of regulations, and this was problematic. She thanked everyone for coming. She said communication with the public is very important and is very productive.

Mundie thanked everyone for coming. He said the BYOB Ordinance has worked in other municipalities. He added that by enacting the BYOB Ordinance, Council gave the Police Department tools to work with.

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