Thursday, October 18, 2018

Residents demand action on property issues - public and private

Several residents demanded action on various property issues - public and private - at last week’s Columbia Borough Council meeting.



Tom Feltenberger expressed frustration about an ongoing water leak and scum problem along Grinnell Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets. The source of problem is reportedly water flowing from an outlet pipe from a basement sump pump at a residence near at Grinnell and 11th. (Columbia Spy previously reported on the issue HERE.)

Feltenberger said that due to the water on the street, cars are sliding and people are falling. He said he got the runaround from several agencies, having contacted the national office of the EPA, who referred him to its state office, who told him to contact “Harrisburg,” who sent him back to Columbia Borough, which “sent him nowhere.” He said he then called State Representative Dave Hickernell, but “he does nothing.” He said he then talked to a “street superintendent,” who told him there are legal problems “out there.” When asked what the plan is, the superintendent allegedly said, “I don’t know the plan,” but admitted the borough has known about the problem for years. Feltenberger said he then called the highway department but got no calls back. “This is a very serious problem,” he told council.

Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger said the borough is aware of the problem and that the next step is to identify that the water is coming specifically from a "homeowner’s home." The borough will then determine what role, if any, it has in fixing the problem. 


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Gerald Hawn, who owns a building at 501 Walnut Street, said water is running into his property from a neighboring property. He said a code enforcement officer responded to his concern “but nothing ever happened.” He said he has called the borough office several times but got no results.

Hawn also said that drain pipes were improperly installed on the 500 block of Walnut Street during a recent road and sidewalk reconstruction project. He cited one example in particular, in which a drain line leading from a building to the storm sewer was two inches lower than the sewer inlet. Hawn said he pointed out the problem to a job foreman who told him the curb would be replaced. Instead, workmen jack-hammered through the curb to fit the pipe in, according to Hawn. “A lot of the drains have been put in wrong,” he told council.

Hawn also said that drain lines leading from downspouts are supposed to have a “positive grade,” but water in some pipes doesn’t make it out to the curb due to an incorrect grade. Hawn also said elbows have been added to some lines that don’t line up with the hole in the curb, which increases the likelihood of clogging. In other cases, lines were run crooked, Hawn said. He said the engineer is supposed to inspect all the forms and all the drains. “My sidewalks look pathetic, and nobody is checking them,” he said.

Council President Kelly Murphy said that if it is found that the job has not been done correctly, it will have to be redone. “We’ll look into it,” he said.


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Nick Meley once again reminded council of ongoing issues with slumlords in the borough as he has at several recent meetings. He said there have been three recent tenant changes at rentals in his neighborhood and asked if property inspections are on hold, claiming none of the properties were inspected after tenants moved out. He said one property in particular has bathroom problems.

Code Enforcement Manager Steve Kaufhold explains procedures.

Code Enforcement Manager Steve Kaufhold told Meley that inspections are still being done but that he was unaware of the tenant changes. “If you had called me, we would have come out,” Kaufhold said. “I only heard about it now.” Meley responded that the borough can’t count on a concerned citizen monitoring all the slumlords in town. “You have to get out in front of these things,” he said. He told council it must make it uncomfortable for slumlords to be in this town. He said the borough must “hammer them” and enforce the three-strike rule. “I’d like you to do something about this,” he said.

Kaufhold said that if the codes department finds out that a new tenant has come in, the landlord will be notified of an upcoming inspection and a $250 fine will be imposed for any new tenant who moves in without a proper inspection of the rental. 


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Joanne Fritz told council about problems with an Air bnb in her neighborhood. She has been vocal about the issue at several recent borough meetings. She said the borough is allowing a business to operate in a low-density residential neighborhood and said the house at 1102 Locust Street is supposed to be rented out as a single family home. She cited an incident from the Friday before Labor Day, in which raw sewage was running down the street from the house and said the issue wasn’t addressed by the homeowner until Sunday. She said people are still renting the house – most recently four women from Florida, who she said are not a single family. Fritz also cited noise problems associated with visitors at the property. 


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Frank Doutrich cited an improperly installed drain line at his property on Lancaster Avenue that he said he had to fix. He said contractors sometimes do work incorrectly and it is not checked afterwards. “When they come to do a job, they just get the job done,” he said. “They don’t care.” He agreed with Gerald Hawn that the borough engineer is responsible for inspecting jobs when they are completed. He blamed council for signing off on jobs without proper follow-up. “Is it wrong for the citizens of this town to ask that they be done right?” he asked.

Doutrich also complained about both street sweepers often being out of operation at the same time, claiming the problem is due to mismanagement. He also cited a weed and grass problem at 1020 Ironville Pike, where the weeds are over six feet tall. He said a neighbor of the property told him she came to the borough office three times to report the problem, because she couldn’t see above the weeds to back out of her driveway safely. Allegedly, an employee at the borough office told her to back into her driveway so that she could see to pull out onto Ironville Pike.

Agenda - Community Development Committee Meeting, October 18, 2018


Agenda - School Board Meeting, October 18, 2018



COFFEE WITH COPS, Friday, October 19 | Columbia Borough Police Department


Everyone is invited to "Coffee (and cookies) with Cops" on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 10:00am in the Columbia Borough Office located at 308 Locust Street.  Coffee with Cops brings police officers and community members together-over coffee-to discuss issues and learn more about each other.  The topic for this session is "Crime Watch".  A brief presentation will be given after which attendees with be able to ask questions and mingle with the police officers.  We hope to see you there!

https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/post/columbia-borough-police-department-coffee-cops

Columbia High School grad makes film "Grandma Werewolf" to be shown in theaters

Zachary Will (wearing blue shirt) made the film "Grandma Werewolf."

Zachary Will, a 22-year-old filmmaker from Atlanta, got his start at Columbia High School in Columbia, Pa.

MORE:

https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2018/10/17/york-co-featured-grandma-werewolf-film-zachary-halloween-movie/1669313002/

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UPDATE on robbery at Chestnut Street Turkey Hill store: Two juveniles arrested

On 10-15-18 the Columbia Borough Police charged two juvenile males, 14 and 15 years of age with Robbery and Conspiracy to Commit Robbery for the incident at the Turkey Hill. Both males are from Columbia and were committed to the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center.

On 10-14-18 at approx. 1:38AM the Columbia Borough Police were called to the Turkey Hill on Chestnut St. for a robbery. The two suspects fled prior to police arrival. The suspects were reported to have come to the store from east side of the store and also fled to the same area. One of the males involved did display a handgun. The suspects took a small amount of cash and cigarettes during the robbery.

Suspect #1 is described as a light skinned male wearing blue gym shorts, black "Vans" sneakers with white laces and a black hooded jacket.

Suspect #2 is described as a light skinned male wearing light gray jeans, black sneakers with white laces and a black hooded jacket.

Both males suspects were possibly in their late teens and approx. 5'7".

The Columbia Borough Police ask that if you recognize any of the above pictured individuals or know anything about this case to please either submit a tip below or call the police department at 717-684-7735.

Date: 
Sunday, October 14, 2018

Case Status:

Case Type:


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/cases/robbery-update-10-16-18

Democratic candidate for PA House supports Opioid Crisis Action Network for substance use patients



Mary Auker-Endres, Democratic Party candidate for PA State Representative, 98th District, is one of the first 65 PA candidates to date to endorse the Opioid Crisis Action Network’s policy platform which would mandate medical best practices treatment be provided to those suffering from substance use disorder and that this level of care be covered by private health insurance policies, Medicaid and Medicare.

OCAN is pleased to report that Mary Auker-Endres supports our five-plank policy platform mandating (1) coverage of a long-term continuum of care of no less than ninety days (2) coverage of medication-assisted treatment (3) that no patient suffering from effects of substance use disorder reporting to a treatment facility be refused treatment, whether or not he or she is intoxicated (4) the regulation of sober living homes and (5) that all prisons provide drug treatment programs adhering to medical best practices.

Auker-Endres and 64 other PA leaders (so far) recognize that providing and covering the cost of anything less than medical best practices is a gross violation of a 2008 federal law, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which mandated an end to discriminatory practices against the mentally ill and addicted. OCAN admires these leaders for standing up to powerful special interests, most notably private insurance companies and their political action committees (PACS), that seem to have a stranglehold on legislatures nationwide, preventing these common sense reforms.

The Opioid Crisis Action Network (OCAN) was founded in January, 2018, by Heather and Larry Arata after the overdose death of their 23-year-old son, Brendan, to research and promote solutions to this public health emergency. Over 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, up 7% from 2016 and double the total from a decade ago. OCAN will also write grants for those suffering from substance use disorder who cannot afford treatment. Checks will be written to state certified treatment centers. For more details, to see the other 91 candidates nationwide who have endorsed OCAN’s platform so far or to make a donation, go to opioidcrisisactionnetwork.com.

[Source: Press release]

Columbia Police make several recent drug busts

Columbia Borough Police Chief Jack Brommer presented a report to council last week detailing several recent drug-related investigations in and around Columbia. The Columbia Borough Police Department worked closely with the Lancaster County Drug Task Force on these investigations:

  • A search warrant was issued and a search conducted on the 500 block of Avenue N (near Makle Park). As a result, two subjects were arrested and later sent to Lancaster County Prison for possession with intent to deliver of over 200 grams of methamphetamine (street value: $23,000) and 160 bags of heroin. A loaded, stolen 9mm pistol was also recovered. 
  • As a result, a second investigation was undertaken outside the borough, and a second search warrant was served. 75 grams of bulk heroin was recovered (street value: $22,500), representing approximately 2,250 bags of heroin. A 12-gauge shotgun was also recovered. 
  • A raid was also conducted in late September on the 900 block of Manor Street, in which one subject arrested, and heroin and other drugs were recovered, along with a gun.
 The September 2018 police report is shown below:


Agenda and Report - Public Works & Property Committee

Meeting Agenda, October 16, 2018




Public Works Report, September 2018







Monday, October 15, 2018

Takeaways from the October Columbia Borough Council Meeting

Council unanimously disapproved a request for the inter-municipal transfer of a catering club license for the 717 Social Club at 401 South 2nd Street. The license would have allowed the club to charge for alcoholic beverages. Currently, drinks are paid for by donation. The borough solicitor will present “findings of fact and conclusions of law” in support of the decision at the November 12 council meeting. 



Council voted to “de-prioritize” the purchase of the McGinness property on Manor Street from its economic development plan. Specs on the property can be found HERE.




Council voted to release $100,000 to the Columbia Borough Fire Department from the department’s capital improvement escrow fund for the purchase of new fire equipment. 



Council voted to consent to the acquisition by the Lancaster County Land Bank Authority of the following borough properties: 
  • 32 South 9th Street (vacant for over two years) 
  • 838 Houston Street (vacant for one year, condemned January 2016) 
  • 318 South 3rd Street (vacant for three years) 
  • 332 Locust Street (condemned May 2017) 



Council passed a resolution (shown above) to oppose PA House Bill 2564, the "Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act." According to solicitor Barry Handwerger, the bill would significantly limit local legislative rights over rights of way and could allow proliferation of antennas, poles, etc. without permit requests or approval from the municipality and would strip the right to regulate zoning. State Rep. Frank A. Farry introduced the bill, the text of which is HERE.  His memorandum on the bill is HERE.




Council voted to adopt an amendment to the borough code to revise the definition of “Alteration” for properties in the historic district. The text of the amendment is shown above.

Chestnut Street Turkey Hill store robbed, one suspect displays handgun



On 10-14-18 at approx. 1:38AM the Columbia Borough Police were called to the Turkey Hill on Chestnut St. for a robbery. The two suspects fled prior to police arrival. The suspects were reported to have come to the store from east side of the store and also fled to the same area. One of the males involved did display a handgun. The suspects took a small amount of cash and cigarettes during the robbery.
Suspect #1 is described as a light skinned male wearing blue gym shorts, black "Vans" sneakers with white laces and a black hooded jacket.
Suspect #2 is described as a light skinned male wearing light gray jeans, black sneakers with white laces and a black hooded jacket.
Both males suspects were possibly in their late teens and approx. 5'7".
The Columbia Borough Police ask that if you recognize any of the above pictured individuals or know anything about this case to please either submit a tip below or call the police department at 717-684-7735.
Date: 
Sunday, October 14, 2018

Case Status:

Case Type:


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/cases/robbery-2

Sunday, October 14, 2018

About Town

This week's photos from around Columbia


Junior firefighter

 Photo op
(Front and Walnut)

 Things discarded
(Laurel Hill)

 Fall has fallen
Or has it? 
Note to Mother Nature: Fall is a season in its own right. Please do not jump right over it again like you did this year, i.e., hot and humid one day, cold and windy the next.

But the Beatles sang:
"The teachers that taught me weren't cool.
You're holding me down, turning me 'round
Filling me up with your rules."

 Bricking up earlier this week at 208-210 Locust

Going out on a limb on a lift for a light -
Well, someone's gotta do it.
(Columbia Shopping Center)

 Note the door at the Wine & Spirits Store.

 Maybe someone needed a drink really bad.

 Not such a precise cut around the lock, however.
(The door glass has since been replaced.)

 Spell check, please

 The Columbia Plaza parking lot continues to leak.

Here's another look.

 More PennDOT guys hanging out down at our bridge

 Leaf detail

 So, is this how we park in Columbia?

 Like this?

There's a fluid spill in the lot.

Let's hope the rain holds off here.
(3rd and Locust)

 Sprucing up
(First block of Locust)

 Sprucing up
(Town Square)

 Super Lion
(South 2nd)

 Sickly lion, possibly with a case of measles
(South 2nd)

When gentle persuasion fails...

 Decommissioned cop car?
(South 2nd)

 Date stone at the Buddhist temple

 Flags
(Cherry Street)

 Don't litter.

 Construction at the American Legion

 Picking up the pieces
(Front and Bridge)


 There's that red-tailed hawk again.

 His favorite vantage point - atop the Elks

 PennDOT painted lines on Route 462 this week.

 Two trucks did the job.

 Safety cones were placed at the intersection of North 5th and Chestnut to keep drivers off the wet paint.

 Some drove over it anyway.

 The dotted lines were painted at the intersection to discourage drivers from making illegal left turns, and from driving the wrong way on the one-way block of Chestnut Street.

 Dapper 'do

 Halloween parade - October 25

 Christmas food box delivery - December 16

 The whole way down on South 2nd

 Sign down
(Walnut and Commerce)

 Sign down
(Front Street)

 Time for a cleanout
(Near Commerce Street)

 Lime leaching at the bridge

 Farm equipment
(Bridge Street)

 Stocked up with mayflies
(North 3rd and Avenue H)

 Bell tower
(Salem UCC)

 Food donation at the back door

 Atop Our Lady of the Angels

 God bless America - all 42 states.

 Looks like Aument fell flat.

 Time for a new sign
(Manor Street)

 Time for a new sign
(Plane and Barber)

Misdirected sign - or some sort of religious message?
(Avenue F)

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Just check the wild turkey.

 Spiderman's house?
(Cherry Street)

 Historic sidewalk
(Cherry Street)

 There's a tree growing in front of this tree.
(South 6th)

Folks still aren't grasping the concept. This isn't donating; it's dumping.

Like the sign says

 There was a lot of air traffic this week.

 Here's a warthog flying over on Saturday.

All the activity might be due to the military planning an emergency airdrop of vowels and consonants for Joe's Steak Shop.

Cardinals don't migrate south in the winter and are therefore known as winter birds.

Goodwill on the highway

Looks like red vehicles are all the rage this season.

Including this one on North 4th

Columbia Stands Up likes Jess.
So does Columbia Spy.

Meanwhile, down at Hickernell Headquarters
(Where is Dave, anyway?)

On Thursday, neighbors and friends attended an open house at the Columbia Market House.
(It's bigger on the inside.)

 Cesar adds a few dabs.
(Eastern Drillers)

 And here's a partial unveiling of a painting on Locust.

Just in time for Halloween - film fun at the Columbia Creative Factory.

With an audience of many

G-rated flicks only, please

 At times, boredom could set in.

But it's wise to keep the 3D glasses at the ready.


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At the Air BnB - visitors from Florida
(1102 Locust)

 And later in the week, three different vehicles - 
Neighbors aren't happy with this operation and complained at recent borough meetings.

Sometimes, the clamor in this town is enough to wake the dead.
(Chestnut Street)