Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Residents question wastewater conversion venture


At Monday's special borough council meeting, residents questioned council's intent to fund a $75,800 study for conversion of its wastewater plant. Council is looking at converting the plant into a facility for producing natural gas from food waste. [See previous article HERE.] The plant has been idle since the borough sold its wastewater collection system to LASA.

Resident Ron "Ollie" Fritz opposed moving forward with the project, citing the cost of conversion. "It's going to be an enormous cost," he said. He asked council to "put a hold" on the project. Fritz read from a 2015 LNP article in which Public Works Director Ron Miller said, “We want to be the first. We like being first...We’ll be the guinea pig.” [Miller said the newspaper quote came from a phone interview with a journalist and implied that his words may not have been accurately reported.]

"I don't want to be the guinea pig," Fritz said in response to Miller's statement. "I can't see using all this LASA money for a project like this." [The borough sold its system to LASA for $8.6 million.]

Fritz recalled that when the issue was discussed last year, a 15-year payback on the venture was projected. He urged council to lease the plant instead. Fritz also noted unknowns about the venture. He told council that Miller had said the project could be lucrative, mediocre, or marginal. Council President Kelly Murphy explained that the purpose of the borough moving forward with the study is for risk assessment.

Fritz added that safety concerns exist due to bi-directional, full-speed trains that run past the plant. He noted the lack of even a simple crossbuck at the railroad crossing near the plant entrance and said lighted signals would be expensive: "Norfolk Southern would charge probably a half million dollars to put signals in there. They should be signaled properly."

Defending the venture, Miller said, "We didn't want to tear it [the plant] down. We were looking for alternatives." Estimates currently range from half a million to two million dollars to tear down the plant.

Resident Frank Doutrich asked if council had paperwork verifying demolition costs.  [Council did not have costs estimates available to view.]  Doutrich suggested that council turn the plant over to a private enterprise.

David Nikoloff, principal of AIM Advisors, the organization offering to undertake the study, said, "There's cost related to any alternative moving forward. We think there's a lot of promise in this alternative we're proposing." He also said tax credits are available for an entity undertaking such a project.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Council votes to fund $75,800 wastewater plant study


At a special council meeting Monday night, Columbia Borough Council voted 6-0 to contract with AIM Advisors and project partner Rettew Associates to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of converting the borough's wastewater treatment plant into a natural gas production facility. The study will cost $75,800 and could be completed by March 1 of next year.

David Nikoloff, principal at AIM, told council that the enterprise could be a "public-private partnership" and would entail restaurants and other businesses providing food waste as raw material (known as "feedstock") for conversion to gas. He said the study would determine if there is enough feedstock available in the area and whether there is enough of a market to purchase the gas. Nikoloff added that such a facility could be up and running in about two and a half years.

The issue was previously visited during a presentation at November's regular council meeting, when a motion was made to move forward with the study.  No vote was taken due to lack of a second. After the 2015 LASA agreement, options for reuse of the wastewater plant have been discussed by council.

Two residents raised questions and voiced concerns at Monday's meeting about the feasibility of such an operation, citing safety and financial concerns.

Absent from the meeting were Mayor Leo Lutz, Borough Manger Greg Sahd, and Councillor Stephanie Weisser.

MORE TO FOLLOW

Lighted garlands to brighten Locust Street

A worker hung lighted garlands on Locust Street light posts this afternoon. Christmas is less than a month away.

CHS students bring a message of holiday cheer

A group of Columbia High and Middle School students used their artistic talents to brighten a window at Stover's News Agency this morning in observance of the holiday season.  



The finished product

Meetings for the week of November 28, 2016


Special Borough Council Meeting

Legal Notice – Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of Columbia Borough Council will be held in conjunction with the monthly Finance Committee Meeting on Monday, November 28, at 6:00 pm in the Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA to discuss re-purposing of the Waste Water Treatment Plant into a Bio-CNG Facility and any other necessary Borough Business. If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Borough Office at 684-2467.


Zoning Hearing Board Meeting

LEGAL NOTICE – The Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Columbia will meet on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, at 7:00 P.M., in the Municipal Building at 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA, to consider the following application(s) and/or appeal(s):

Steven & Beverly Funk is requesting special exception(s) and/or variance(s) to convert a dwelling into a life skills house at 443 Union Street in a High Density Residential (HDR) zoned district.

Associates Properties PA, LP is requesting a modification of conditions from zoning decision #12-051 to obtain a building permit for self-storage unit development at 243 S Front, 319 S Front and 109 Perry Streets in a Riverfront Commercial (RC) zoned district.

Radiovision Cristiana Management is requesting a modification of conditions from zoning decision #14-289 to improve property by construction of a higher communications tower, fence, and accessory storage/maintenance structure(s) at 173 Deascenti Drive in a Light Industrial (LI) zoned district.

If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend this meeting and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Columbia Borough Office at 684-2467 to discuss how the Borough may accommodate your needs.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

MetroPCS cellphone store coming to Columbia


A MetroPCS cellphone store will be coming to Columbia in the near future. A 2,100-square-foot office building that will house the business has been under construction recently at 846 Lancaster Avenue, next to Little Caesars Pizza. MetroPCS is leasing the building through Bennett Williams Commercial. The store is expected to open by the end of the year.


Police: Columbia man “charged” at officers, knocking officer off a porch

                    Joseph William Rineer

Walnut Street man said he wanted to go out with a bang.
MORE:

Small Business Weekend at Market Sat. and Sun.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Santa Claus is comin' to town December 10


"Ice Age: Collision Course" at Library Wednesday, November 30


SCCA Holiday Art Show Fourth Friday, November 25

(Poster design by intern Meg Brace)

From SCCA:

Please join us for our Holiday Art Show at the Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts, opening Friday, November 25, 5-9 p.m.

We will have excellent gift items in a number of media produced by some of the area's best artists and craftspeople.

Our weekend Sale:

Friday, Nov. 25, 5-9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 27, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The show runs thru December 23, so if you miss the above dates, there will be other opportunities to view the work and purchase Holiday Gifts.

Regular Hours:
Wed. 1-5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Thanks, and we hope to see you at the Show!

Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts
224 Locust Street
Columbia, PA 17512

Tel. (717) 576-9628 or (717) 580-9031

www.sccaartstore.com

Small Works and Open House at Garth today, Fourth Friday



Zoning Notice for Front Street property and others

Could a life skills house, more self-storage, and higher radio tower be in Columbia's future?

Columbia Spy spotted the following notice on Front Street on Thursday:



The text of the notice is as follows.  (The Spy has included map information for reference.)

LEGAL NOTICE The Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Columbia will meet on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, at 7:00 P.M., in the Municipal Building at 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA, to consider the following application(s) and/or appeal(s): 

Steven & Beverly Funk is requesting special exception(s) and/or variance(s) to convert a dwelling into a life skills house at 443 Union Street in a High Density Residential (HDR) zoned district. 



Associates Properties PA, LP is requesting a modification of conditions from zoning decision #12-051 to obtain a building permit for self-storage unit development at 243 S Front, 319 S Front and 109 Perry Streets in a Riverfront Commercial (RC) zoned district. 





Radiovision Cristiana Management is requesting a modification of conditions from zoning decision #14-289 to improve property by construction of a higher communications tower, fence, and accessory storage/maintenance structure(s) at 173 Deascenti Drive in a Light Industrial (LI) zoned district. 



If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend this meeting and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Columbia Borough Office at 684-2467 to discuss how the Borough may accommodate your needs. Jeffrey Helm, Zoning Officer

Municipal Brief for Columbia November 23, 2016


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pennsylvania Has Your Back - A Message from Governor Tom Wolf


Recently, there have been several incidents involving racism and religious intolerance at Pennsylvania schools. As your Governor, I want you to know that this is unacceptable to me and my administration will do everything it can to end it and prevent it from happening in the future.
MORE:
https://www.governor.pa.gov/pennsylvania-has-your-back/

About Town

 Can the republic survive?

 One for the land bank?

 Big sky over bridge?

 Bus stop?

 New sheriff in town?

 Gone but not forgotten?
(House at 1042 Lancaster Avenue)

 Monday it stood. Tuesday it fell. Today it disappeared entirely.

The other town clock?

Autumn road?

Making America great again?

Two transformers installed underground on Locust Street

Two electrical transformers were installed underground on the 100 block of Locust Street today - one on each side of the street.  Abel Inc and JMF Underground, who were contracted by PPL, installed the transformers under the surface of each sidewalk. Resident parking spaces were temporarily unavailable on the block due to the large number of work trucks and personnel. 













It pays more to be a Pa. state legislator in 2017


A 1.34 percent increase in the legislative salary will increase the rank-and-file member's annual pay by $1,140, to $86,478.50 for 2017. This increase will boost legislative leaders' pay to between $98,609 to $134,998, depending on their position.
MORE:
http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/it_pays_more_to_be_a_pa_state.html

Monday, November 21, 2016

About Town

Recent pics about town . . .

 Backlit tree at River Park

 Out for a walk

 Ferals of Avenue H

 V


 Path to the gazebo

Too soon?


Ferals of South Fifth . . .

 Stubby cat

 On the run

 Undercover

  Under car


Saturday may have been the last "nice" day of the year . . .


 The day was off to a great start . . . 

but soon went awry as afternoon winds brought rain and sleet.