The Northampton Borough Council met Thursday, March 16 to consider approval for apartments on Main Street, an appointment to the Planning Commission, various requests, an Eagle Scout project, and the hiring of a full-time police officer.
During reports, Mayor Anthony Pristash voiced utter disappointment with the Northampton Area School District superintendent and the chief of school police regarding the recent shooting threats at the high school.
Police Chief Bryan Kadingo shared that one of the threats occurred on Friday, March 10, which detailed a shooting threat for Tuesday, March 14, yet he was not made aware until Sunday afternoon.
Kadingo stated that he had not heard anything from the NASD superintendent at all, but had patrol units in the parking lots of the school and offered to do what he could.
The Police Department, which is only two blocks from the high school, was not contacted, yet the Pennsylvania State Police and the Moore Township Police Department were called to help patrol and with the investigations.
“This has happened in the past,” said Kadingo, adding that the police were called by the district once for a student that refused to remove their sunglasses, but not for terroristic threats.
Several council members expressed that a letter demanding the validation and explanation of the events and proof regarding why the police department was not notified is needed, and Mayor Pristash stated that he will be happy to pen the letter.
In other business, the Planning Commission had granted preliminary and final approval for the development located at 1204 Main St. in the building that the VFW previously occupied for 15 efficiency apartments contingent on a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board, which was granted for the proposed 21 parking spaces on an area of land that the Norfolk and Western Railway currently owns. The railway has agreed to lease the parking lot to the developers, but refused to sell them the land.
Borough Solicitor Brian Panella raised the question of having conditional approval be required by the developer to provide documentation of parking that will be available and remain available during the proposed use of the building, with signed documentation from the railway.
The applicant’s representative expressed that proof of parking has already been submitted, but that the railway lease is only offered month-to-month, and claimed that the proposed conditional approval would condemn the property and its proposed use.
Vice President Ronald Glassic made the motion to move forward with the conditional approval for the proposed 21 parking spaces upon receipt of documentation signed by the railway and the owner. The motion carried with all council members voting in favor of the conditional approval aside from council member Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. who voted against the motion.
Next, council unanimously voted to appoint Christopher Crush to fill the vacant seat on the Planning Commission.
Council also voted unanimously to accept the retirement request from Zoning Officer Juliann Edelman effective June 15, although council and Borough Manager LeRoy E. Brobst voiced that she will be missed.
Following, council unanimously voted to accept the requests from the City of Bethlehem to use the borough’s portable band trailer on Sunday, October 29 for their Halloween parade upon receipt of appropriate fees and insurance documentation, and for Becky’s Drive-In to use the portable band trailer to host their annual Benefit Festival and Car Show to benefit Dream Come True of the Blue Ridge Chapter, which has raised over $405,000 to date.
In other news, the Northampton Fire Department will be replacing two of their aging trucks with a new, single unit upon approval from council. The construction of the truck is expected to be three or even four years out and would allow sufficient time for the fire tax to generate some of the funds needed.
Next, Kaden Rossanese was granted permission by council to prepare a memorial area in conjunction with the placement of the new sign at the fire station, which will serve as his Eagle Scout project. The project will include personalized bricks that residents can purchase in honor of firefighters and veterans. The cost of each brick will be $50 and a website will be created shortly for individuals to purchase the bricks. Interested individuals should check on the borough website and the fire department’s Facebook page for the link in the coming weeks.
Following, council unanimously approved the request for Civil Service Commission members Jeffrey Brant and Kelly Milisits, as well as council member Bonnie Almond to attend the Civil Service Procedures Training Workshop on Tuesday, May 16 in Quakertown at a cost of $150 for each participant.
Last, council unanimously voted to hire Robert Lindsay for the full-time entry level patrol position in the borough’s police department, effective April 3. This brings the total number of full-time police officers in the borough to 16.
Upcoming Northampton Borough Council meetings will be held Thursday, April 6 and Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the borough’s municipal offices, located at 1401 Laubach Ave.