City Council

Council Minutes

June 4, 2002 Meeting Minutes

BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, June 4, 2002 - 7:30 PM - Town Hall

1. INVOCATION
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL

President Gregory called the meeting to order. Mr. Delgrosso offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, John B. Callahan, James A. Delgrosso, Robert J. Donchez, J. Michael Schweder, Magdalena F. Szabo, and James A. Gregory, 7.

Citation - Honoring Eugene J. Sankovsky

President Gregory presented a Citation to Eugene Sankovsky on the occasion of his retirement from the Fire Department after 42 years of service to the City. The Members of Council congratulated Mr. Sankovsky and wished him well in his retirement.

4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The minutes of May 22, 2002 were not available for approval.

5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)
None.

6. OLD BUSINESS
None.

7. COMMUNICATIONS

A. Assistant City Solicitor -Records Destruction - Financial Services Department

The Clerk read a memorandum dated May 20, 2002 from William Alexander Karras, Assistant City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed resolution for Council's consideration, under the Municipal Records Retention Act. The Financial Services Department would like to destroy the records listed on the attached exhibit, and the records fall within categories where destruction is permitted.

President Gregory noted that authorizing Resolution 11 B is listed on the Agenda.

B. Assistant City Solicitor -Records Destruction - Police Department

The Clerk read a memorandum dated May 23, 2002 from William Alexander Karras, Assistant City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed resolution for Council's consideration, under the Municipal Records Retention Act. The Police Department would like to destroy the records listed on the attached exhibit, and the records fall within categories where destruction is permitted.

President Gregory noted that authorizing Resolution 11 C is listed on the Agenda.

C. City Solicitor - Transfer of Two Parcels of Real Estate at City Wastewater Treatment Plant Facility from Bethlehem Authority to City of Bethlehem

The Clerk read a memorandum dated May 30, 2002 from Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a map showing the location of two parcels of real estate and a proposed resolution that would authorize the transfer of the two parcels owned by the Bethlehem Authority at the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant facility to the City of Bethlehem for $1.00. In a routine review of Bethlehem Authority properties, these were discovered and title should be in the name of the City rather than the Authority. The City has no plans to sell these two parcels after title is conveyed.

President Gregory referred the matter to the Parks and Public Property Committee.

D. City Solicitor - Timbering by Bethlehem Authority

The Clerk read a memorandum dated May 30, 2002 from Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed resolution to authorize timbering to be conducted by the Bethlehem Authority.

President Gregory noted that authorizing Resolution 11 F is listed on the Agenda.

President Gregory asked that additional Communication 7 E be read into the record.

E. Director of Parks and Public Property - Musikfest - Use Permit Agreements

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 4, 2002 from Charles Brown, Director of Parks and Public Property, in which it was requested that Council consider adding to the June 4 Agenda Resolutions for the Use Permit Agreements between the City and the Bethlehem Musikfest Association. The matter of security has been resolved and mutually agreed upon by the Administration, FOP, and Musikfest.

President Gregory noted that he will accept a motion later in the Agenda to add Resolutions 11 G and 11 H to the Agenda.

8 . REPORTS

A. President of Council
None.

B. Mayor
None.

9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
None.

10. NEW ORDINANCES
None.

11. RESOLUTIONS

A. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - Walla Gazoo

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,826 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce and the City for use of the Monocacy Complex along the Ice Rink and Tennis Court area for the 2002 Annual Golf Outing and Walla Gazoo Picnic to be held August 19, 2002, according to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

B. Authorizing Records Destruction - Financial Services

Mr. Callahan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 13,827 which authorized the disposition of records from the Financial Services Department as described in Exhibit A of the Resolution.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

C. Authorizing Records Destruction - Police Department

Mr. Callahan and Ms. Szabo sponsored Resolution 13,828 which authorized the disposition of records from the Police Department as described in Exhibit A of the Resolution.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

D. Certificate of Appropriateness - 401 Broadway

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,829 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a sign at 401 Broadway.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

E. Certificate of Appropriateness - 115 E. Third Street

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,830 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to alter the exterior of the rear of 115 East Third Street.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

F. Approval of Timber Harvesting - Bethlehem Authority

Ms. Szabo and Mr. Callahan sponsored Resolution 13,831 which approved the plans for timber harvesting to be conducted by the Bethlehem Authority. The Resolution (1) rescinds approval of the Timber Harvesting Management Plan prepared by Thomas P. Belinda dated July 5, 2000 previously approved by City Council in Resolution 13,406 dated July 5, 2000; (2) rescinds Agreement to and declares null and void the Management Contract for Standing Timber in Resolution 13,314 dated February 15, 2000, but, however, confirms and reaffirms the Sixth Supplemental Contract and Lease Agreement with the Bethlehem Authority in Resolution 13,314; (3) approves of the plans for timber harvesting to be conducted on Bethlehem Authority lands, by theBethlehem Authority, and sales of such timber by the Bethlehem Authority, in lieu of and in replacement of the City conducting such activities; and states that (4) the approval of the foregoing activities by the Bethlehem Authority is conditioned on the requirement that the Bethlehem Authority retain a qualified forester to provide oversight of the silvicultural nature of timbering activities; and (5) the approval of the foregoing activities by the Bethlehem Authority is conditioned on the requirement that the Bethlehem Authority conduct such timber harvesting in a manner consistent with the standards and practices recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

Motion - Adding Resolutions 11 G and H

Mr. Delgrosso and Mr. Callahan moved to add Resolutions 11 G and H to the Agenda. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The motion passed.

Mrs. Belinski affirmed that, since notification has been received that the Administration and the Police Department have mutually agreed upon the matter of security at Musikfest, there is no need for the Parks and Public Property Committee to hold a meeting on the issue.

G. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - City Streets - Musikfest 2002, 2003, and 2004

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,832 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between Bethlehem Musikfest Association and the City for use of certain City streets for Musikfest 2002, 2003 and 2004, according to the terms of the agreement.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

H. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - City Property - Musikfest 2002, 2003, and 2004

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,833 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between Bethlehem Musikfest Association and the City for use of certain City property for Musikfest 2002, 2003 and 2004, according to the terms of the agreement.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.

Motion - Taking Resolution 11 J From the Table

President Gregory confirmed that, as was requested, City Council received a response from Chris Ussler, Historic Officer, concerning the Certificate of Appropriateness for installation of a new aluminum storm door at 38 Wall Street. In the response, it was explained that the Historic and Architectural Review Board stands by its previous denial of the storm door. Consequently, President Gregory stated that, if Council so desires, he will accept a motion to take Resolution 11 J, that was tabled at the April 16, 2002 City Council Meeting, from the Table.

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Callahan moved to take from the Table Resolution 11 J that was Tabled at the April 16, 2002 City Council Meeting. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The motion passed.

J. Certificate of Appropriateness - 38 Wall Street

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 13,834 by which a Certificate of Appropriateness was denied to replace the storm door with a full glass storm door on the front door at 38 Wall Street.

Mr. Delgrosso recounted the reason for tabling the Resolution was the fact that there are other homes in the same row that have storm doors. Mr. Delgrosso, referring to the correspondence from Ms. Ussler, pointed out that the Historic Bethlehem guidelines state that storm doors should be wood, especially on street fa´┐Żades. If aluminum storm doors are used, they should be as simple and unobtrusive as possible. Storm doors with large full lights or multi-paned inserts are usually acceptable. Mr. Delgrosso highlighted the fact that the Historic and Architectural Review Board is turning down the request for a replacement storm door that is a full-view yet the Historic guidelines allow full-view storm doors.

Mr. Schweder, observing that responsibility is given to two Historic Boards to make informed judgments, expressed his hesitancy in overturning one of their actions. Mr. Schweder commented that he will probably vote to follow the Board's recommendation. Noting that he has spoken with Ms. Ussler about the issue, Mr. Schweder communicated that the Board should not become too stringent in view of the Ordinance that has been implemented. Mr. Schweder remarked that the Board's decision tests the definition of discretion on the part of the Board.

Mr. Delgrosso, while denoting that 99% of the time he agrees with the Historic Board's recommendations, pointed out there are times when City Council makes the final decision and is why the Board's recommendations come to Council. Mr. Delgrosso, reiterating that the other houses in the row have storm doors, as well as some others in the Historic District, highlighted the fact that the full storm door allows the full wood door to be seen.

President Gregory, expressing that he tends to agree with Mr. Delgrosso, stated that he will vote nay on the Resolution.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, and Mr. Schweder, 4. Voting NAY: Mr. Delgrosso, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 3. The Resolution to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness passed.

Motion - Taking Resolution 11 H From the Table

President Gregory recounted that Resolution 11 H for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Red Rose Diner was tabled at the April 2, 2002 City Council Meeting. President Gregory stated that, if Council so desires, he will also accept a motion to take Resolution 11 H from the Table. President Gregory pointed out that City Council can vote down this Resolution because the proposed project for the diner to be located at New and Mechanic Streets will not take place.

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Delgrosso moved to take from the Table Resolution 11 H that was Tabled at the April 2, 2002 City Council Meeting. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The motion passed. H. Certificate of Appropriateness - Southeast Corner of New and Mechanic Streets

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 11 H that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to relocate a diner and construct an addition to the diner and install a sign at the Southeast Corner of New and Mechanic Streets.

Mr. Callahan commented it is unfortunate that the diner did not have an opportunity to be placed on the South Side since the owner received an offer to locate the diner somewhere else. Mr. Callahan, stating that the diner would have been a great addition to the South Side, expressed the hope that the delay did not play a part in the owner's choosing not to have the diner located at the proposed location on the South Side.

Voting NAY: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution was defeated.

12. NEW BUSINESS

Activities at the Watershed

Mrs. Belinski requested a follow-up meeting with Brooks Forestry Management in view of the fact that she recently received some additional information about possible violations, including filling in of wetlands, at the watershed that were included in a list of concerns in the Brooks Forestry Management Report that was presented at the Public Works Committee meeting on April 23, 2002. Mrs. Belinski advised that she would like to disclose the information at a meeting, possibly in Executive Session.

Mr. Callahan inquired of Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, if an Executive Session could be held.

Attorney Spadoni advised that if the litigation is not pending then he would be a proponent of holding a public meeting.

Mrs. Belinski commented that she would want to discuss the issue with Attorney Spadoni in private in an effort to determine whether or not an Executive Session would need to be held.

Mr. Delgrosso added that, after the Public Works Committee meeting on April 23, 2002, City Council and now the Administration has been given the same communication containing differences from what had been originally heard. Mr. Delgrosso commented that if there is to be a public meeting then all the questions should be opened up.

13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR

Musikfest - Security Issue

Thomas Craig, President of the FOP, thanked the Members of Council, Mayor Cunningham, and Charles Brown for the support they showed the FOP membership concerning the issue of security at Musikfest. Mr. Craig, noting that he received a call yesterday from the Mayor, advised that the Police will be working all the jobs at Musikfest the same as last year.

719 Center Street - Sewer Problem

Michael Anderson stated he owns a rental property at 719 Center Street, one half of a twin, where for several months sewer water from the neighbor's building has been going into his building through the foundation, and it is almost on a once a month basis that he has to clean up his property. Advising that he has spoken with the Health Bureau and the Plumbing office, Mr. Anderson said he does not seem to be getting anywhere. Mr. Anderson noted that he called the Mayor's Office and was given Mr. Hanna's telephone number but has not been able to reach him. Mr. Anderson, expressing he does not know what else to do at this point, communicated he is considering hiring an attorney or selling the building. Mr. Anderson, asserting it is a health hazard for his tenants, stressed he needs someone's help to correct the problem.

Mr. Hanna advised that he will have the matter followed-up.

South Side - Garbage

Mary Horwath, 524 Selfridge Street, asserted that the area along E. Fifth Street from Webster Street East towards Hillside Avenue is "a garbage dump". Ms. Horwath advised she has pictures showing how garbage is kept on the street all week long. Ms. Horwath, noting she called the Health Bureau several times after which for two weeks the garbage was kept on the side, affirmed now it is back on the street again. Ms. Horwath asserted it is a health hazard. Ms. Horwath later advised these are private citizens, not only students.

Mr. Hanna advised that he will have the matter followed-up.

Mayor Cunningham, informing the assembly that some haulers have offered discounts if residents put their trash in front of their houses instead of towards the back because it is cheaper for them to pick it up, highlighted the fact that is against the City's Ordinance. Mayor Cunningham, denoting at this time of the year when some properties that had been rented by students are cleaned out problems such as this occur, confirmed that the Administration is aware of the issue and is trying to use all of the City's resources to "stay on top of it daily". Mayor Cunningham said, if this continues, "as a City we're going to have to look at the whole issue of how we're regulating and doing garbage collection with the private haulers, particularly in the dense urban areas like South Bethlehem where you have the narrow streets and a lot of rental properties, and doing in-front collections."

Mrs. Belinski, explaining that those who have relocated to Bethlehem are most likely following their past practice related to garbage collection where they formerly lived, pointed out that these new residents are not aware that in Bethlehem trash is not allowed to be put out at the curb but rather it must be placed no further than 6 feet from the front of the house when the garbage is to be collected. Mrs. Belinski suggested that perhaps a notice informing residents of the City's Ordinance related to this matter could be placed in the water and sewer bills.

While observing that could be done, Mayor Cunningham highlighted the fact that haulers are very aware of the City's Ordinances, letters have been sent to them recently reminding them of the Ordinances, and stated the expectation is to have their customers comply with them.

Timbering at the Watershed

David McGuire, 815 Beverly Avenue, representing the Sierra Club of the Lehigh Valley, distributed to the Members of Council his comments related to the proposed Timbering plan at the watershed. Mr. McGuire said he would be very interested when it is the appropriate time for the public to hear about the matters referenced by Mrs. Belinski. Mr. McGuire affirmed that the Sierra Club continues to be quite interested in the timbering project. Mr. McGuire contended that the timbering plan is radical because it is an extreme use of scarce resources. Observing that across America there is a steady attack on forests and public lands in the name of money, Mr. McGuire emphasized that the Sierra Club has a concerted campaign to "stop logging our legacy". The Sierra Club seeks to save these treasures of a wild forest and places for future generations. Mr. McGuire pointed out that the idea is not new in that the City predecessors set up the pristine watershed in the Poconos in the 1920's and 1930's to provide safe, healthy drinking water. Stressing there are no more old growth and old forests, Mr. McGuire cautioned that if these forests are not saved there will be none for our grandchildren. Mr. McGuire remarked that the timbering proposal is about turning a forest into a tree farm in which there is no legacy. While stating that the current timbering proposal is much improved over the original version, Mr. McGuire stressed it is still logging, and highlighted the fact that it is still without a fundamental principle that the Sierra Club fights for: an environmental analysis of the entire resource should be conducted before decisions are made about the logging plan. Mr. McGuire urged City Council to require a full environmental study of the watershed and consider ways in which sustainable timbering might be done. While pointing out that the Sierra Club does not want any timbering as a matter of principle to be used as a steady source of City cash, Mr. McGuire requested that an environmental analysis be done first. Referring to the estimated amounts to be obtained from timbering, Mr. McGuire reminded the assembly that about $4-6 million can be obtained from an environmental easement with the Nature Conservancy, and questioned what is delaying the easement. Mr. McGuire, asking Council to step back and take a longer view, requested that an action plan for timbering be put off until after the results of a system-wide environmental analysis is completed. Mr. McGuire stressed that the value of a forest is far more than the price of wood, and remarked that a tree farm is not a forest.

President Gregory inquired whether the environmental easement between the Bethlehem Authority and the Nature Conservancy is still in negotiations.

Mayor Cunningham affirmed it is still under negotiation.

Rick Loomis, of Clean Water Action of the Lehigh Valley, communicated that the group has a concern that the emphasis of the Administration and City Council in the past demonstrated a greater concern for income than health or water quality. Mr. Loomis continued on to say that the proposal from Brooks Forestry and Resource Management Company lists protection of water supplies as a first priority, but beyond that most of the proposal is devoted to logging implementation, marketing, and finance. Mr. Loomis asserted it is the obligation of City Council and the Bethlehem Authority to, first and foremost, not pay lip service to the quality of water but to assure that the means to protect the water supply are guaranteed. Mr. Loomis said that Clean Water Action calls on City Council and the Bethlehem Authority to commit to this stand and to require a specific and comprehensive plan that protects water quality. Mr. Loomis emphasized it is easier, safer, and far less expensive to protect the watershed than to remove contaminants once they are in the water.

Police Department - Commendations

Dean Bruch, 625 Hawthorne Road, commended the Police Department in their handling of stabbings he thought would never occur in his neighborhood. Mr. Bruch stated that he would like an appointment to speak with the Police Commissioner, and the Mayor if possible.

Sure Fit Building - E. Broad Street

Mr. Bruch, with reference to the tractor trailers that are parked in the vicinity of the Sure Fit Building on East Broad Street, highlighted the fact that in the winter their engines are kept running all night for warmth and in the summer for air conditioning. Mr. Bruch stressed that these tractor trailers should be kept out of the City until an appropriate time in the morning.

Mr. Bruch, noting there is a lack of parking spaces in the area of the Sure Fit Building on East Broad Street, wondered about exacerbation of the parking problem when the Moravian Village housing is built.

14. ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

ATTEST:
City Clerk