Milford Borough Council Emergency Meeting Minutes 6/3/20

MILFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL EMERGENCY MEETING

ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2020, THE MILFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL HELD A SPECIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS RE-OPENING ACTIVITY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AS THE COUNTY MOVES TO “YELLOW” STATUS, SPECIFICALLY WITH REGARD TO ASSISTING BUSINESSES AS THEY RE-OPEN

THE MEETING WAS HELD VIA ZOOM, AND PRESENT ON THE CALL WERE PRESIDENT FRANK TARQUINIO, VICE PRESIDENT ADRIANE WENDELL, COUNCIL MEMBERS JOE DOOLEY, ROB CIERVO, PETE COONEY, KATRINA FOSTER AND LUKE TURANO, SOLICITOR MAGNOTTA, SECRETARY PAMELA AHLSTRAND,  MAYOR STRUB, CHIEF MATT MCCORMACK, AND TREASURER GREG MYER.

THE MEETING WAS ADVERTISED IN THE POCONO RECORD AND ON THE BOROUGH WEBSITE, AND WAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC WERE ALSO PRESENT ON THE CALL.

PRESIDENT TARQUINIO CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER AT 7:02 PM.  OPENED WITH THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.  STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT TARQUINIO REMINDING PARTICIPANTS OF WHAT COMPRISES MILFORD “BOROUGH”.

  1. BY MOTION OF CIERVO/TURANO, AGENDA ADOPTED
  2. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS – NONE
  3. PLAN TO ASSIST BUSINESSES IN RE-OPENING, SANITIZING, ETC. – Councilman Turano – First, commended Farmers Market on how well they did opening up, flow, sanitizer, et.

Sanitizing of Borough – Paul & Duane have been doing a great job sanitizing public seating, etc.

Turano then discussed what Economic Recovery Committee has been doing, discussions with business owners, emails, etc.  Would like to make a motion on a few items to “open” up the Borough for businesses, residents, visitors to have more space.  Proposing closing some Borough Streets- two under review are:

  1. Broad St between Dimmick and Walgreens from intersection to alley (would still allow access to residences and businesses)
  2. E Catharine from Broad to alley –

Would give that space to businesses to expand their operations- retail, dining, etc. into those spaces; making social distancing easier; opening up business.  Coordinated effort WITH the Borough; proposing erecting two large tents over a majority of closed streets- 40’x 80’ tent on Broad, 30’ x 75’ tent on E Catharine.  Borough not funding.  Coordinated effort with Milford Presents, PMVB, Covid Relief Fund, Pike County Chamber, Petersheim Family Foundation, private corporate funders (i.e., Milford Chrysler); funds already secured; support on a County level and higher.  Tents would be month to month- if a problem, or not needed, can be removed.  Discussed liability – no issue as long as anyone using space naming  Borough as additional insured (“risk transfer”)  Garbage will be responsibility of the business using the space.  Funds have been secured for porta johns- cost will include being sanitized multiple times a week (one at each tent, two at Community House); 3 or 4 communal picnic tables will be provided (donated); 6 water filled street barriers at the end of both areas.  Would still allow space for an emergency vehicle to get through.  Would be a curfew, would “tack on” an hour to the noise ordinance; will be space for existing Milford businesses (possibly just outside the Borough) as well as County non-profits to expand their operations; input from businesses; for example, Waterwheel would like signage to direct visitors, etc. since street would be closed.

Would need a motion to close the two streets referenced-

Councilman Dooley added some discussion about closing a portion of E Harford St. to help Log Tavern, Tequila Sunrise, Laurel Villa, Fireworks store; Mayor Strub said Log Tavern is not interested in closing on the street, will be doing some expanded service on their property; Laurel Villa has not yet expressed and interested; Wendell spoke with Tequila Sunrise- they will be opening their patio; part of the conversation has been to allow businesses to use parts of their parking lots, Borough would relax restrictions as to parking.  Traffic issues if they were to allow crossing the street.

Turano added that $30,000 has been raised in two days for businesses to utilize.  Mayor commented that Liquor Control Board has eased restrictions- must be in a space immediately adjacent to their existing property; couldn’t cross an alley unless the Borough closed an alley.

Solicitor noted two things- authority to close the street?  Under Section 290 in the Borough Code- emergency for 72 hours, or “experimental” for up to 90 days; need to be careful as a municipal corporation; only appropriate way to do it would be to use the COVID-19 emergency declaration; no authority to close a street for more than 90 days, and only then to make possible changes to Code; could possibly close for 30 days under emergency declaration.  Emergency Declaration allows the Borough to follow the Governor’s guidance with regard to re-open, if Governor allowing restaurants to operate outside their property, then might be able to use that.  Second concern- are there residents who will be impacted?  Turano said on Broad, there are 5, but they have several means of egress; none impacted on E Catharine.  Will reach out to Walgreens, Insurance business on Broad St.  Solicitor – dual purpose?  Close street and suspend open container law?  If not on licensee’s property, would be suspending enforcement of open container law- time and duration?  Liability?  If someone leaves the tented area, are they in violation?  All issues that Council needs to be aware of.  Further discussion about liability, liquor licensing, etc. Question from Dooley about whether Borough would have to re-write coverage?  Solicitor said best to prevent the situation where someone leaves a tent area with an open container.  Suspension of enforcement would be for a very specific area, time.

Comment from Mayor- handle it as an expansion of the licensed area, granted by PLCB by application and permission of property owner (which in this case would be the Borough).  Liability would remain on the license holder.

Discussion about difficulty of enforcement- for example if someone were to buy a six pack elsewhere and bring it to the tented area.

More discussion about time frame; 90 days; Turano again stated not just for restaurants.  Continuing to support recovery of businesses, even if in “Green” phase.  Solicitor asked Chief McCormack’s input – if streets closed for 90 days, how does that affect traffic flow, etc.  Chief said must have a documented evacuation plan, suggested contacting Dave Ruby, ESC.  Need actual design on paper.  Chief said he believes town would be okay overall.  Residents might get agitated.  Question from Cooney- Sawkill Ave- there is a community there – needs access.  Turano mentioned alley behind Dunkin Donuts.  Possible to open Sawkill two ways?

Question – Resolution?  Solicitor said yes, would need to pass Resolution.

 

 

 

MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:33 PM BY MOTION OF WENDELL.

 

 

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