During their meeting on Thursday, March 21, Northampton Borough Council approved three new street lights for The Fields at Willowbrook, a new development along Kingsbarns Lane. The street lights were requested by residents in an effort to improve safety.

There are 51 homes in the development and only three lights, including two on Kingsbarns Lane, according to homeowner Waleska Layes.

Residents of the development also voiced concerns over an unfenced retention pond. The open pond, paired with the lack of streetlights, made residents like Layes and her husband Andano Ocana, a former New York City police officer, concerned for residents’ safety.

“One of the things I’d hate to see one day is someone laying in that pond,” said Ocana. “There are no lights.”

Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said the borough’s zoning officer will be in touch with Kay Builders, the developers of The Fields at Willowbrook, to address the open pond. 

Council approved the request for three lights at Bendelow Lane and Kingsbarns Lane. PPL will install the lights at the borough’s request. 

“We love it [here],” said Ocana. “We lived most of our lives up in New York…we love the serenity that [Northampton] gives us. We want to stay here, but we want to make sure the home owners are taken care of.”

During the March 21 meeting, borough council also approved the resignation of community planner Victor Rodite. Rodite served the borough for over two decades, playing an instrumental role in researching and applying for community development grants.

“Thank you for your 25 years of service,” said Councilman Trevor Stone. “We appreciate your dedication to the borough.”

Councilwoman Judy Haldeman also thanked Rodite for the “time and energy” he put into the borough.

In other news, borough council rejected a request from The Hyman Group to switch to a private garbage hauler for apartment units at 1204 Main St. The borough has the authority to allow apartments with eight or more units to switch to a private hauler. Moving to a private hauler excuses the property’s owner from paying a garbage tax to the borough.

Brobst said this request has been made several times in the past by various developers, although the requests are few (less than six, he estimates).

However, while the current Hyman property only contains 13 efficiency apartments, some members of council worried that approving the motion would lead to trash piling up. 

“There lies in some of my concern, if we don’t know if there is going to be a response,” said Haldeman. 

Only Councilman Kenneth Hall voted in favor, saying that The Hyman Group typically has clean properties. 

Finally, the borough received three bids for a bucket truck. The bids were opened during the meeting and ranged from Versalift in Bethlehem for $145,514 to Lehighton Ford for $178,288. One bid was incomplete. 

Borough Solicitor Stephanie Streward will be reviewing the bids to help the borough determine which vendor offers the most cost-effective agreement.

The next borough council meeting will be Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. 


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