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By Tom Smith Editor 

Mt. Oliver Council looks at parking, considers support for gun argument


Last updated 9/27/2022 at 5:19pm

The September public meeting of the Mt. Oliver Borough Council included a short presentation from Ceasefire PA asking the council to support a brief being filed before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concerning local municipalities' rights to limit firearms.

In attendance at the meeting were Council members Amber McGough, Tina Reft, Paul Doyle, Lisa Pietrusza, Brandon Taylor and Nick Viglione, along with Mayor JoAnna Taylor and Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson.

Ceasefire PA is arguing on behalf of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that municipalities should have some ability to regulate firearms within their jurisdictional limits. Additional municipalities, such as Mt. Oliver Borough, are being asked to support the brief.

Ceasefire PA's attorney was sending a copy of the brief for the council to review along with a summary prepared by Borough Solicitor Emily Mueller. At the end of the meeting, Council continued the meeting until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 to allow members to review the brief and summary before voting.

In other business, Council voted to adopt a resolution waiving Real Estate Tax Interest, Fees and Penalties in certain circumstances.

Ms. Mueller explained there was legislation passed in July that directed all municipalities and school districts to direct their tax collectors to waive late fees in certain situations and the situations it was intended to address are where a property changes ownership and the tax bill was sent inadvertently to the prior owner instead of the new owner. The purpose of this legislation was for that limited group of people where a new home tax bill was sent to the former owner and the new owners don't pay their taxes on time because they didn't receive the tax bill.

The new owner would have to apply to the tax collector and show it applies within the past 12 months. The resolution would take effect in 2023.

Council also discussed amending the Parking Ordinance to restrict parking at 140 Margaret Street. At the August meeting, it was brought up that the area wasn't part of the ordinance, but had No Parking signs and a yellow line on the curb. Because it wasn't part of the ordinance, the no parking signs weren't being enforced.

Councilman Taylor noted there are other places in the Borough that there is a mismatch between no parking signs, lines and what the ordinance includes. He volunteered to lead a committee to check and make sure everything matches.

"This seems to be a recurring issue that I'd like to see addressed in a more orderly manner than when someone happens to notice and comes here to complain to us," he added.

Mr. Hopkinson said if Council wants to look at it more systematically as far as sidewalk routes, curbs, ADA ramps, things like that, the Borough could apply for grant funding to conduct a study that deals with accessibility and pedestrian linkages.

As far as the No Parking zone at 140 Margaret Street, the amendment to the Parking Ordinance will be advertised for the October Council to be voted on then. Residents in the immediate area will be notified by mail about the change in enforcement if passed.

Council also considered applications for three handicapped parking spaces in the Borough: 1806 Arlington Avenue, 406 Hays Avenue and 106 Stamm Avenue. 1806 Arlington was approved; 406 Hays was not approved because the application was incomplete; and, 106 Stamm was continued until next month because the applicant applied for a handicapped placard but hadn't received it yet.

In the Question and Answers period, Council President stopped Frank Bernardini from addressing Mx Pietrusza directly about a personal matter.

"These need to be questions that are directed for council business and not personal," she said. "(If) it's a personal question on a personal issue or something between the two, we're not going to discuss it in a council meeting."

In further discussion, Sandy Seiler, a member of the Zoning Hearing Board, expressed concerns over a recent event at the new Auberle center in the Borough.

"When the zoning board approved that procedure, we had requirements and you can tell from the outside that they did not fulfill the requirements. So, all I'm saying is these requirements should be fulfilled before residents are allowed to move in that building," she said. "So, all I wanted to know is, are we going to make sure that they have been approved and they've done everything we've asked prior to them moving in."

Mr. Hopkinson said he will review the Zoning Board decision with Council and the solicitor and check that everything has been completed in the decision. It there are outstanding items, he will notify Auberle.

It was noted the event wasn't a "Grand Opening," but more of a celebration on the completion of much of the construction. There are still building permit issues to be completed and the building doesn't have an occupancy permit yet.

For the October public meeting, a request was made to put on the agenda a discussion concerning time limits for the public to speak at the meetings.

The September meeting was continued until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The October meeting of the Borough Council will be at 7 p.m. on October 18.


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