Friday, November 29, 2019

Incoming Columbia council members aren't happy with 2020 budget proposal

Sharon Lintner and Heather Zink, two of the four newly elected members joining the seven-person council in January, say they appreciate the current council inviting them to the table during three special budget meetings to develop the spending plan, but they were frustrated by not actually having a vote. Both indicated they would have preferred more spending cuts, especially given the incumbents' plan to spend $870,000 of the borough's reserves while at the same time publicly warning the new council members of the need to rebuild the reserves, which were estimated in October at $2.1 million.

MORE:

https://lancasteronline.com/news/incoming-columbia-council-members-aren-t-happy-with-budget-proposal/article_2783edf0-12c3-11ea-81b7-275772a970eb.html

Chip Factory Hotel gets smaller, Zoning Board ok's all requests

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board met Wednesday night to consider requests from Cimarron Investments LLC relating to the Chip Factory Hotel project. 

The proposed Chip Factory Hotel has been cut down to size. The hotel, which was to encompass 6 stories and 91 rooms, is now projected to have 4 stories and 80 rooms and will stand 70 feet high, according to architect Paul Nikolaus. The change was requested in a last-minute submission to the Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board on Wednesday night by applicant Cimarron Investments LLC. After a nearly four-hour hearing that included testimony by, and cross-examinations of, parties to the hearing, the board granted all special exceptions and variances requested.

Board member David Brumbaugh made the motion to grant Cimarron's requests on all conditions stated by the solicitor. The motion, as read by board solicitor Josele Cleary, was as follows:

"A motion to grant the special exceptions and variances identified in Exhibit A3, as well as a special exception for parking as a principal use in the HDR District, and a special exception to allow the applicant 18 months from the date of the decision to obtain a permit, and 18 months from the date of obtaining a permit to complete construction, and the conditions on that would be:  1. Applicant shall continually provide not less than 77 off-street parking spaces for the hotel use. If the applicant ceases to have access to the off-street parking spaces on the lot provided by a lease, applicant shall have 90 days to provide the zoning officer with evidence that applicant has obtained a location for an equal or greater number of off-street parking spaces. Applicant shall require all employees to park in the pocket parking lot at the greatest distance from the hotel and shall prohibit employees from using on-street parking.  4. Applicant shall restrict the use of the meeting room associated with the hotel to hotel guests unless the applicant provides additional off-street parking.  5. Applicant shall restrict the use of the rooftop terrace to hotel guests unless applicant provides additional off-street parking.  6. Applicant shall maintain the existing number of off-street parking spaces for the dwelling units at 150 Walnut Street.  7. As part of the land development approval process, applicant shall address stormwater management for all new impervious surface areas.  8. Applicant shall provide a copy of the land development plan to the fire company and ask the fire company for any comments.  9. The hotel shall not exceed 80 guest rooms. And then the standard conditions that applicant shall comply with and adhere to the testimony presented this evening, that any violation of the conditions is a violation of the zoning ordinance and punishable as such. Applicant shall obtain all other necessary permits and approvals, including, but not limited to, approvals under the subdivision and land development ordinance, stormwater management ordinance, and uniform construction code. The condition shall be binding on the applicant and its successors and assigned, and applicant shall pay one half of the appearance fee of the court reporter."

Newly appointed board member Jazz Preston seconded the motion.

The roll call vote was as follows:
David Brumbaugh - Yes
Jonathan Lutz - Yes
Steven White - Yes
Jazz Preston - Yes
Terry Doutrich - No

(Board President Donald Haines recused himself at the start of the meeting and was replaced by Alternate Terry Doutrich.)

[Note: The solicitor did not state the numbers of items 2 and 3 in the motion.]

Santa comes to the library Saturday, November 30


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Planning Commission talks hotel, developer a no-show

Architect's rendition of the proposed hotel

At last week's Columbia Borough Planning Commission meeting, Commission members discussed details of the proposed hotel to be built on the footprint of the former Becker Potato Chip Factory at 12 North 2nd Street. Unfortunately, developer Don Murphy, president and CEO of Cimarron Investments LLC, and attorney Mike Grab did not attend the meeting, even though they had been expected to be there to update the Commission.

"I thought we would have Mr. Murphy and Mr. Grab back here this evening" Commission Chair Mary Wickenheiser said.

Zoning and Planning Officer Jeff Helm agreed: "I was under the impression that they were going to be here tonight to get us up to speed on property acquisitions that required them to change their former zoning hearing date."

At its previous meeting in October, the Commission had recommended that the requested variances and special exceptions be approved by the Zoning Hearing Board. However, Murphy and Grab were in the process of acquiring additional properties to afford extra parking, and a Zoning Hearing Board meeting scheduled for October 30 was postponed until November 27. In the interim, those properties were acquired, allowing for 20 extra parking spaces.

Wickenheiser said 150 and 152 Walnut Street were the properties acquired, plus a parking area at 131 Locust Street, behind Art Printing.

Commission member Barbara Fisher asked if Avenue H can handle increased traffic volume and questioned how that would affect nearby residents who use Avenue H. "Is it going to inhibit them from how they use that avenue at this point?" she asked.

Helm replied, "This is not unlike what you typically see in Lancaster City. It may look like a lot on both sides but that's only because right now we see fences..."

Fisher asked, "It is one lane, right? It's not a two-way. If someone's coming this way they're going to have to wait."

Helm: "It's basically 1-1/2 lanes. It's 14 feet wide - just a little bit of leeway on one side and the other - you could potentially pass, but that's exactly what happens down in Lancaster City."

Fisher: "Has anyone considered the volume of people and traffic on a busy night for this hotel and whether or not Columbia can handle that volume just in terms of traffic, in terms of these extra people in the city? Have you thought about that?"

Wickenheiser: "The thing is, no matter where it would be located, you would have the same problems. No matter where you would locate something like this within the borough, you would still have the same traffic issues."

Fisher: "Have we foreseen possible problems that could arise so that we are on top of them? For example, the extra traffic flow. I'm just wondering if we thought through the possible issues, having something this large."

Councillor-Elect Heather Zink said, "I want to see a tractor-trailer negotiate that Avenue H, either going in or going out." (At the October meeting, Murphy said that food deliveries will be made to the back of the hotel via tractor-trailer. The trucks would need to enter Avenue H in order to access that area.)

Wickenheiser noted that tractor-trailers go into Avenue H off of 7th Street, off of 8th Street. "It's the same avenue."

Councillor-Elect Sharon Lintner replied that on the 700 block of Avenue H, there were complaints about trucks departing the avenue and in the process, breaking curbs on 8th Street. Lintner also asked about staging the construction equipment. "Has the Planning Commission considered where all the heavy equipment will be stored, because that's a major project larger even than 401 [Locust]. Where are they going to put everything in the meantime?"

Wickenheiser said she thought that the properties acquired for parking will be the staging area. Helm agreed. Lintner pointed out that would be right behind residential homes with children. She also asked if those properties would no longer have yards. Wickenheiser replied that the Commission hadn't seen how much they will devote to parking. "We don't know," she said.

Zink asked how the parking area would be paved. She said her concern is with groundwater. Commission member Justin Evans replied, "We're just not that far along in the process yet." He said the Commission had some discussions with a design engineer. "They're going to have to address that impervious area," Evans said, adding that some sort of underground detention system was proposed. Evans said engineers are going to do a capacity analysis of the Avenue H storm sewer. He said a traffic study will need to be done to formulate a circulation plan. Evans noted that other questions remain, such as how people will be dropped off, and whether Bank Avenue will become a one-way street going the other way. "Nowhere have they put anything on paper, and nothing's been decided yet," Evans said.

Wickenheiser added that the "hard engineering" won't be undertaken until the project has final approval. "There's a lot of steps in this project, in any project," she said. "At this point we've really no more information to make any change to a recommendation that we'd made at our October meeting."

Referring to the Zoning Hearing Board, Evans said "It's in their court now."

A public hearing by the Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board is scheduled for Wednesday, November 27, 2019, at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street. The board will consider an application by Cimarron Investments LLC, which is requesting special exceptions and variances to build a 6-story, 91-room hotel at 12 North 2nd Street on the site of the former Becker Potato Chip factory.


The following legal notice appears on the Columbia Borough website.

“The Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Columbia will meet on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 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):

Cimarron Investments LLC is requesting special exceptions, dimensional variances and/or use variances to establish a hotel and off-street parking on 12 North Second Street in the Downtown Commercial (DC) District; off-street parking facilities associated with the hotel on 131 Locust Street in the Downtown Commercial (DC) District in addition to the existing use of such lot; and off-street parking facilities associated with the hotel on 20, 28, and 30 North Second Street and 150, 152, and 156 Walnut Street, all of which are in the High Density Residential (HDR) District, with such off-street hotel parking being in addition to the residential or other structures and uses currently existing on such lots.

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."

Public hearing for proposed Chip Factory Hotel slated for Wednesday, November 27

The former Becker Potato Chip factory at 12 North 2nd Street

A public hearing by the Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board is scheduled for Wednesday, November 27, 2019, at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street.  The board will consider an application by Cimarron Investments LLC, which is requesting special exceptions and variances to build a 6-story, 91-room hotel at 12 North 2nd Street on the site of the former Becker Potato Chip factory.

The hearing was originally scheduled for October 30 but was postponed while Cimarron acquired more properties that would allow for increased parking for the hotel. The Columbia Borough Planning Commission approved the hotel proposal last month when it voted unanimously to "recommend favorable consideration" to the Zoning Hearing Board for the granting of the requested variances in Cimarron's application. Columbia Spy published the backstory HERE.

The following legal notice appears on the Columbia Borough website.

“The Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Columbia will meet on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 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):

Cimarron Investments LLC is requesting special exceptions, dimensional variances and/or use variances to establish a hotel and off-street parking on 12 North Second Street in the Downtown Commercial (DC) District; off-street parking facilities associated with the hotel on 131 Locust Street in the Downtown Commercial (DC) District in addition to the existing use of such lot; and off-street parking facilities associated with the hotel on 20, 28, and 30 North Second Street and 150, 152, and 156 Walnut Street, all of which are in the High Density Residential (HDR) District, with such off-street hotel parking being in addition to the residential or other structures and uses currently existing on such lots.

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."

Publish Dates 11/12/19 & 11/19/19






Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Agenda - Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board - November 27, 2019


Gypsy Kitchen to close at Lancaster Theology Seminary, become anchor restaurant at Columbia Market House

Ed Diller said the fierce competition in Lancaster for restaurant customers is prompting the move to Columbia. The restaurant's last day in Lancaster will be Dec. 23.

In Columbia, Gypsy Kitchen will be the the anchor restaurant inside the historic market house where major renovations are slated to begin in January. With construction expected to last eight months, Diller said he is planning to open in late summer or early fall.

Columbia Borough is partnering with CHI St. Joseph Children's Health to revamp the Columbia Market House building and reinstate a farmers market with a restaurant.

The Gypsy Kitchen restaurant in Columbia will have seating for around 100, compared to around 60 at full capacity at the seminary.

MORE:

https://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/gypsy-kitchen-to-close-at-lancaster-theology-seminary-become-anchor/article_deba654c-1063-11ea-a56a-0f58007cce78.html

Columbia woman to serve 3 to 10 years for crash that seriously injured mother, daughter in April: DA's office

Ardis Goldsborough

A Columbia woman who was high on methamphetamine and fentanyl when she crashed head-on into a mother and 11-year-old daughter in Manor Township on April 1 will serve up to 10 years in prison, according to the Lancaster County district attorney's office. 
Ardis Goldsborough, 36, was sentenced to 3 to 10 years for causing the crash, the district attorney's office said. She pleaded guilty to vehicular aggravated assault while driving under the influence and other related offense. 
MORE:

https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/columbia-woman-to-serve-to-years-for-crash-that-seriously/article_ac4f8044-106b-11ea-ace4-ff513815c2ab.html

Convicted sex offender sent to state prison after failing treatment order

Robert Flerx, Jr.
A Columbia man convicted of sex offenses has been sent prison sentence after failing to complete mandatory treatment during his probation.
Robert M. Flerx, 26, was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison by Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely on Nov. 13 for numerous parole and probation violations stemming from convictions in 2016 and 2018.

MORE:

https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/convicted-sex-offender-sent-to-state-prison-after-failing-treatment/article_29e9be58-0f99-11ea-890c-3f6fc1523090.html

Lancaster County Planning Commission approves Columbia's rezoning proposal despite lack of a plan

Proposed Rezoning Map for Columbia Borough

According to sources:
At its November 25 meeting, the Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) approved Columbia Borough's rezoning proposal by 6-1, with commission member Edward Fisher being the only no vote. The proposal will rezone about 300 Columbia properties to commercial.

Fisher said that in all his years he has never seen such an enormous rezoning proposal. He also said that it was putting the cart before the horse in that Columbia does not have a final comprehensive plan but is requesting rezoning. In essence, Columbia Borough is asking for a large area to be rezoned before a plan is put in place. Areas will be rezoned to commercial with no finalized comprehensive plan. The proposal includes 55 acres of McGinness's property that is now changed to redevelopment.

Residents Michael Stark and Darlene Brown, and Meg Schaefer, curator of the Wright Mansion, spoke at the meeting. LCPC'S Laura Proctor spoke on Columbia Borough's behalf.

A member addressed a comment to Columbia Zoning & Planning Officer Jeff Helm and Columbia Planning Commission Chairperson Mary Wickenheiser and encouraged them to hold at least two meetings, specifically to discuss the changes. Residents asked LCPC to table any recommendation, but the commission stated that it couldn't do that and was basically approving the review done by Proctor, who attended several Columbia Borough Planning Commission meetings this year and helped formulate a proposal with Wickenheiser and Helm.

During a subsequent phone conversation with Brown, Columbia Borough Zoning and Planning Officer Jeff Helm reportedly said that Columbia's Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) will not have any say in the decision for in-home businesses. “Their role will only be with architecture and color,” Helm said.

LCPC's role is to approve, providing municipalities follow certain guidelines. It cannot postpone, recommend, or ask for any revisions. All power, control, and final decisions will ultimately be made by Columbia Borough Council.

The zoning meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 27, is a public hearing regarding variances and special exceptions for the chip factory hotel. This meeting does not relate directly to the borough-wide rezoning. That issue will be addressed at the December 16 meeting (7 p.m. at the District Administration Center) and will be voted on by Columbia Borough Council. However, all citizens concerned about rezoning should attend Tuesday night's borough council meeting at Borough Hall (November 26 at 7 p.m.) to speak out or ask questions.

Columbia Borough Council Meeting - Tuesday, November 26, 2019



Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership announces leadership change

Ray D’Agostino

The Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) has announced a change in leadership. Ray D’Agostino has stepped down as CEO after being elected as a Lancaster County Commissioner on November 5. Shelby Nauman has been appointed by the Board of Directors as Interim CEO.

Shelby Nauman

Nauman has served as the regional non-profit’s COO since November of 2018. “We are fortunate to have an exceptionally talented and capable senior management team,” stated LHOP board president Rick Jackson. “Shelby has been an invaluable asset to LHOP and is ideal to lead us during this time of transition,” Jackson continued.

D'Agostino and Nauman

The organization adopted a new strategic plan at the end of October. According to Jackson, the new plan builds on the success and growth LHOP has experienced over the past decade. “The board wants to ensure that it finds a new chief executive with the skills sets, experience and expertise that will lead us to achieve the new vision,” Jackson stated. Jackson also added, “Shelby’s strengths as a leader afford LHOP and the board the time to be deliberative in setting the course for the CEO position.”

As COO at LHOP, Nauman was responsible for business operations and team building. Prior to joining LHOP as COO, she served as vice president at the Lancaster City Alliance. Nauman was with the Alliance for 14 years. “I was drawn to LHOP to help advance housing affordability in the region and having the opportunity to lead a talented and passionate team along with LHOP’s unique structure as a Community Development Finance Institution is an honor and a privilege,” said Nauman.

D’Agostino had been LHOP’s chief executive for ten years. During his tenure the organization has grown, going regional, increasing programs and services and tripling staffing and assets. “I am extremely proud of the work that we have accomplished in the community at LHOP and look forward to building on the experience in my new role,” D’Agostino stated.

“We are extremely proud of Ray with his election as a County Commissioner and know he will continue to serve the community well in this new position,” Jackson continued. D’Agostino will take office on Monday, January 6 and join Commissioners Josh Parsons and Craig Lehman who were re-elected.


The Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) is a community benefit, charitable non-profit organization and certified CDFI in Lancaster County with a history of making a positive impact by assisting people access and create fair and affordable housing. With the understanding that “good housing is the foundation of a great community,” LHOP provides targeted education and training programs, financial products, and technical assistance in fair and affordable home ownership and rental housing opportunities.

[Source: Press release]

Columbia Christmas Food Box Delivery - How to Register


Once again this year, the tight knit community of Columbia will come together to lend a
hand to those in need. The annual Christmas Food Box Delivery will take place on Sunday,
December 22nd, thanks to the organizers - Columbia Lions Club and Sunsnappers, with the help of many area businesses, organizations, and of course the hundreds of volunteers that make this day of giving possible.
They will deliver 700 Christmas Food Boxes in Columbia and the surrounding communities*. The food boxes include a turkey, eggs, bread, milk, canned vegetables, soups, cereal, fruits, and much more. We also deliver toys to the families with children that are not receiving Toys for Tots.
We need your help to reach our residents who need a Christmas Food Box this year.
Please share this article, so they know how to sign-up for a food box.
If you have any questions or would like flyers to hand out, please let us know.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR HELPING US SPREAD THE WORD!!!
Sincerely,
Columbia Lions Club and Sunsnappers
Tel. 717-715-3592
ColumbiaChristmasFoodBoxes@gmail.com
NOTE: In lieu of a food box, we provide residents of the following senior apartments with a hot Christmas Dinner on Sunday, December 29th – Trinity House, St. Peters, Our Home of Hope, Marietta Senior, Brereton Manor, Hershey Mill, Faith Friendship, Nissly Chocolate Factory, & Sylvan Retreat. Sign-up sheets will be posted at these facilities at the beginning of November.
*We deliver to the following Zip Codes – 17512, 17368, 17582, 17554, 17547, 17575, & 17538.

http://columbiaboroughpa.apptegy.us/article/156577?org=cbsd

Columbia Historic Society to hold Model Train Open House


The Columbia Historic Preservation Society will join hands with the Annual Ed King Memorial Model Train Open House for families to enjoy for free over the Christmas holiday.


Event: Ed King Memorial Model Train Open House

Date(s): Every Saturday & Sunday December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th January 4th & 5th

Location: Columbia Historic Preservation Society 21 North 2nd Street Columbia, PA 17512

Time(s): 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Group Name(s): Columbia & Susquehanna Model Railroad & Lower Susquehanna Valley Model Railroaders

Santa Visit(s); Sunday, December 15th & 22nd 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Admission is free with donations accepted




Raffle and Vendor Event to be held at Park Elementary Gym Saturday, Dec. 7


On Saturday, December 7, the Columbia Parent Teacher Partnership Raffle and Vendor Event will be held at Park Elementary Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (See information posted above.)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

About Town 11/24/19

This week's photos of Columbia


A worker, presumably from Arnold's Property Service, stands on a recycling container as he strings Christmas tree lights at Locust Street Park.

It's not really that safe, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Professional service at its best.

Here's the tree with the newly hung lights.

And here's the new star on top.

 Down at the post office: This appears to be a steel magnolia next to the steps.

But someone else must not like the post office.

 No caption necessary

 Down at Rose's Deli

 A 2019 Reader's Choice winner

 Here's a young couple - and a pet turkey looking decidedly nervous.
(5th & Cherry)

 And here's some kid with a pumpkin, and another turkey pretending to be a planter.

 This guy has a couple of chickens or something.

 Watch your step!

 Santa's here already. Remember to be naughty and nice.

 That barbed wire behind the gate really drives home the point.

 When you finish your McDonald's, just throw it down the steps.

 The Christmas spirit is beginning to permeate the town already.

 Sunday morning: surprise fall snowfall

They buy houses.

 Says so here.

 And here.

 Looks like those old skids are good for something.

 Rodents fear and respect the cat.

 Work continues at 4th & Locust.

 But there's always time for chit-chat.

 A visitor at Stover's

 The Lloyd Mifflin House on Walnut Street

 Something's missing at the Elks.

 Santa - He has you under surveillance 24/7, 365 days a year.

 Back at skid row - a roof has been added.

 There's the big lift rolling into town Thursday morning.

 It's assuming the position.

 And there it is - sky high.

 It was used to lift loads onto the roof at the 4th & Locust construction project.

 Various backyard amusements - and a horse banner possibly from the Kingdom of Rohan

 Here's the Creative Factory on the 300 block of Locust

 It's housed on the first floor of this building.

The artists' group is trying to buy the building.

 Divided sky

 How'd they get that bell tower in between those buildings?
Never mind, it's just an optical "delusion."

 Flying high

 Here's another sidewalk marker, many of which line Route 462.

 They feature a profile of Abe Lincoln, because the road is known as the Lincoln Highway.
Clever, no?

 A celestial star. That can only mean Christmas is right around the corner.

 These crows were squawking up a storm. The reason? That red-tailed hawk in the lower right.

 He seemed unperturbed and stayed in place until the crows left.

 Blocking up a bay door, or just narrowing it?
(Eastern Drillers)

 A tour group with a tour guide, touring the town on Saturday

 Coffee & Cream

 More stars and "strips"

 Fancy fence

 Naked light

 Another sign of pending Xmas

 Aftermath of Sunday morning's surprise snow

A sign of the times

Looks like that idea is all wet.