Northampton Borough Council officially accepted the resignation of former Council President Anthony Lopsonzski, Jr. during their meeting on January 19. Lopsonzski, Jr. announced his resignation on January 5 due to his move out of the borough.
Lopsonzski, Jr. served the community for over a decade as a council member, representing the Fourth Ward. He was praised by his fellow council members and Mayor Anthony Pristash.
“For the 11-plus years we have worked together, he was truly a consummate councilman and council president,” said Mayor Pristash. “He was always doing the job of Northampton first.”
“It was a joy to work with him,” he added.
Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr., the former councilman’s father, thanked the mayor and members of council for their kind words. He said he gave his son the support he needed in life, but his son “did the work.”
All council members voted to accept the resignation except Lopsonzski, Sr., who voted no. He said did not want to be a “Brutus,” adding that this sequence of events has been “very, very hard” for him.
Council has 30 days to fill the vacant seat left by Lopsonzski, Jr.
“We do not want to drag our feet on this,” said Borough Solicitor Brian Panella. Applications are available at the borough office. Applicants must have been a resident of the Fourth Ward for at least one year.
On February 2, council will hold a reorganization meeting to appoint a new council president and vice president and start reviewing applications.
Northampton Borough also has openings on the Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission. Applications are available at the borough office. Those with questions can call 610-262-2576.
In other news, council voted to submit a comment in favor of two zoning variances requested by the developers of 1204 Main St. Developers have proposed turning the former VFW building into 15 efficiency apartments. The borough’s Planning Commission has granted preliminary and final approval contingent on Zoning Hearing Board approval. Developers will appear before the hearing board to request a variance on tree planting and parking.
The borough’s ordinance requires that apartment buildings provide shrubbery or tree planting. However, developers have said the property does not provide enough space. The borough’s ordinance also requires two parking spaces per unit. However, the parking lot adjacent to the building can only fit 21 spaces. This parking lot is owned by Norfolk Southern and leased to the building’s owners. Current engineering studies suggest efficiency apartments only require 1.1 parking spots per unit, but the borough has not updated the zoning ordinance to account for this.
Lopsonzski, Sr. asked whether the developers can decrease the number of units they plan to construct to meet parking requirements. Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said this is something the Zoning Hearing Board may request.
All council members voted in favor of recommending approval of these variances, except Lopsonzski, Sr.
In other news, Mayor Pristash and Brobst, along with several council members, met with newly elected State Senator Nick Miller. Senator Miller has replaced former Senator Lisa Boscolla.
“We are looking forward to his presence here in town,” said Mayor Pristash. “Senator Boscolla has served us well for many years. She has been a wonderful asset to Northampton Borough and our residents here.”
Brobst said Senator Miller was “easy to talk to and easy to listen to.”
Senator Miller outlined his initiatives for the borough and the resources available.
Other announcements during the meeting included the news that the borough has received a $34,000 Grow Grant for a new police car. They also received an anonymous $400 donation for the future pool memorial, which will honor former employees who have passed away. Grants have also been received for utilities at Canal Park. Mayor Pristash said the borough is looking ahead to the park’s garden construction and monarch waystation.
“The park’s beauty grows each and every year,” he said.
Councilman Trevor Stone highlighted a program in the borough called “The Table,” held every first and third Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at New Journey Community Church at 1769 Newport Ave. This volunteer program provides free meals to the Northampton community, including sit-down and to-go meals.
The next borough council meeting will be Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m.