Thursday, June 18, 2020

Columbia Borough addresses sidewalk cafe permits, police procedures

From LNP/Lancaster Online:

Columbia Borough Council meeting, June 9.

Council passed a resolution authorizing borough manager Mark Stivers to issue temporary sidewalk cafe permits to local restaurants to help them adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. This was the first council meeting to be held in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's coronavirus reopening plan, so up to 14 members of the public were allowed to attend in person on a first-come, first-served basis. The meetings continue to be streamed on Facebook Live as well.

The borough will charge no fee for the sidewalk cafe permits. They will normally take one to two days to be approved, Stivers said. A 4-foot-wide pathway must be established and maintained along the public sidewalk to meet the requirement of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The resolution also makes it possible for open container laws to be waived, allowing consumption of alcohol within clearly defined limits in the sidewalk caf├Ęs.

Police policies and procedures: Mayor Leo Lutz provided an update on Columbia Borough police policies and procedures in response to recent international protests regarding police brutality and racism after George Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Lutz said the borough's policies and procedures were reviewed by a consultant last year and that the borough will continue ongoing review of its policies. Councilman Todd Burgard said there have been no complaints about police use of force under current police Chief Jack Brommer.

Of police brutality, Lutz said, "We don't play that game in Columbia, and if any officer wants to play that game, they won't be an officer very long."


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