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Revisions likely to Tamaqua's quality of life ordinance

Published July 18. 2013 05:03PM

Tamaqua's relatively new quality of life ordinance will be undergoing some revisions.

"There were a few discrepancies between the existing ordinances and the quality of life ordinance," explained Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt.

The quality of life ordinance was put into place to help enforce existing ordinances with an immediate $25 fine for violations, as opposed to the lengthy code enforcement citation process. The hope was that violations like high grass, garbage put out too early, and other minor offenses could be resolved more quickly.

The major issue that was addressed was a difference in the garbage ordinance which gave residents 24 hours prior to and after pickup to put their garbage out and then remove any cans or containers after the garbage had been picked up. The quality of life ordinance set the window for placement and removal between dusk and dawn. Steigerwalt said that the 24 hour window would be consistent across both ordinances.

During the discussion on garbage, Steigerwalt added that there had been concerns about businesses that are closed on Sundays being able to put their garbage out before Monday's pickup, but he said that most businesses in the downtown area have commercial contracts to pick up their garbage and this is not a problem for them.

Council received a letter from John and Frances Marcin regarding a permit that was issued for the construction of a residential fence by another resident. According to the Marcins, the property in question legally belongs to them. Prior to the issuance of the permit, the Marcins said that they notified the code enforcement officer that the property belonged to them, however, the permit was issued anyway.

Marcin appeared at the meeting and added that there is currently litigation underway to resolve the property dispute; however, he asked that the borough revoke the permit as the fence has already been constructed, and according to Marcin, there are "health and liability issues involved with the permit." Council president Micah Gursky said that the borough is not involved in settling boundary disputes between neighbors and the matter would need to be settled by the court.

In other business:

• Council approved a request from the Tamaqua YMCA to hold a 5K Glow Fun Run. The event will take place on the evening of August 10.

• Steigerwalt informed council that no bids had been received for the replacement of the sewer line on Swatara Street. The borough will readvertise for bids and hold another opening in August .

• Steigerwalt expects demolition work to begin on the property at 208 Gay Street shortly.

• Five additional properties with wildcat sewers have been identified on Hunter Street. Steigerwalt said that two of the properties are currently under construction and the other three will be completed, however, they don't have a timeframe for the work. The owners of the properties are being given the same deadlines to work with that the previously identified wildcat sewers had.

• Steigerwalt said that the borough's demolition and potential sale of a property at 311 Orwigsburg Street has run into an issue. "There is a mortgage on the property," he said.

• Councilman Dan Evans, head of the parking and traffic committee, informed council that the committee has not met since April 23, but plans to meet in the near future. "We were asked to review making Water Street and East Rowe Street one way in either direction," he said," We talked to various people and we never really did reach a consensus either short term or long term. We're not going to make any recommendation to make them one way. What we might recommend is some signage in terms of two way traffic ahead, possibly some street linage, 25 mph signs through the area."

• Council approved three certificates of approval for the construction of a storage structure at 39 Mauch Chunk Street, a covered deck at 325 Hazle Street, and a pool deck at 530 E. Broad Street.

• Council also approved the tax claim bureau repository sale of 27 E. Elm St. and 345 E. Union St. to Francis Devizia of White Mills, PA. "We researched the owner, we found no claims against him," said Steigerwalt. "Supposedly, he 'does it right.'"

• Councilman David Mace, head of the recreation and youth committee, announced that the Bungalow Pool will close for the season on August 25. "We made an effort to open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Labor Day weekend, but we just couldn't get sufficient staff," he said.

• Council discussed holding a forum or a meeting to help contractors understand more about the International Building Codes.

• Council held an executive session for personnel matters.

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