The Bath Borough Council met Tuesday, September 5 to discuss an upcoming meeting for the Historical Architectural Review Board of Bath, the 2024 budget, a time extension for Bathwick Hills Apartments, a zoning issue, and an amendment to the borough’s weed ordinance.
First, council presented a $610 donation to the Bath Allen Youth Club from the application fees for the six teams that registered for Old Home Weekend’s softball tournament. This year, the tournament doubled participation and anticipates that it will increase next year as well.
During public comment, Carol Bear-Heckman, who is a board member of the Historical Architectural Review Board of Bath, announced there will be a public presentation on Wednesday, September 20 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers from the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission about making the proposed district bounded by Main Street, Chestnut Street, Walnut Street, Green Street and Race Street a nationally registered district. Residents are encouraged to attend and will be able to ask the Historic Museum Commission questions about what this means for the national district registry or any other questions they may have. The HARB meeting will also be livestreamed on Zoom, however those attending via Zoom will not be able to comment or ask questions during the meeting. For more information on how to access the meeting online, call the Borough office at 610-837-6525.
In other news, the Bath Firefighters and Bath Social are partnering to present a basket social on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8 at the Bath Fire Social Hall, and the Bath Halloween Parade will be held on Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. with a rain date set for October 18.
The borough will also hold its annual Mayor’s Community Campfire on Saturday, October 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Firefighters Memorial Park with music by Uncle Smiley. This year, the event will also feature free hayrides, and refreshments will be provided by the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Borough Manager Bradford T. Flynn announced that the 2024 budget will add lines for legal, IT and the bookkeeper, as well as Right-to-Know requests due to billable time for departments and personnel that are involved in the process. There has been a recent spike of 29 Right-to-Know requests that the borough has seen over the past 11 months from two anonymous requestors. So far, these requests have cost the borough $50,000-$60,000 in legal fees alone.
“The cost of transparency is not to discourage people from submitting Right-to-Know requests, it’s to show the public how things work,” added Flynn.
No questions or suggestions were made regarding the 2024 budget draft. However, residents and council can bring any questions that arise to the October meeting.
Next, council approved the reappointment of the following HARB board members: Bryan Adams, Jennifer George, Carol Bear-Heckman and Christine Ussler.
In a 5-1 majority vote with Vice President Frank Hesch being the opposing vote, council also approved the Chapter 651 – Weeds ordinance amendment that weeds shall not exceed the curb line and eliminates the provision requiring property owners from removing weeds from the gutter between the curb and the street; members of council felt that it was a public safety concern to have residents clean past the curb line.
During correspondence, one resident asked about the Barrall Avenue (between North Chestnut and Walnut streets) study and rebuild recommendation. Flynn provided that reconstruction will begin next year and is included in the 2024 budget. The project is costing the borough approximately $140,000 and they are hoping it will be done before the end of 2024.
The Shell gas station zoning issue was also brought up during discussion of correspondence, which has resulted in the borough solicitor entering a notice of appearance due to property owners of the gas station erecting signs without a permit. The owners refused to obtain the $60-$100 permit due to their position that they are replacing previously existing signs.
In other business, council granted Bathwick Hills Apartments development a time extension for the subdivision/land development ordinance that is under review, which will extend the project through March 31, 2024.
Bathwick LLC has reported that they are making progress and are currently addressing stormwater management issues. The extension of time will allow them to do additional testing and analysis.
The next Bath Borough Council meeting will be held on Monday, October 2 at 6 p.m. in the borough’s office building, located at 121 S. Walnut St.