Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A few takeaways from the May 9, 2023 Columbia Borough Council Meeting

Habitat for Humanity presents a proposal for 400 Locust

Andrew Szalay proposes homes and commercial space for 400 Locust.

Andrew Szalay, president and CEO of Lancaster County Habitat for Humanity explained the organization's proposal for the vacant lot at 400 Locust Street which includes two homes (condominium-style, possibly three stories) and a commercial space. Habitat is offering $57,500 for the property. Cimarron Investments LLC, whose offer of $56,000 was discussed at the April 25 council meeting, has requested a two-week delay on the sale - presumably, to offer a counter offer and proposal. According to Council President Heather Zink, the borough received the request for delay on May 9, the day of the meeting. Democratic council candidate Brad Chambers noted that council was prepared to sell at a loss at the previous meeting and asked what changed in their decision to wait to sell. Zink said they were asked to wait [by Cimarron].

Residents allege officer misconduct 
Two borough residents claimed that an officer came to their home and jumped over their fence for no apparent reason; they alleged other misconduct by officers. Police Chief Jack Brommer, who was present, did not respond. 

Council votes to release CCAT funds

Zink and Kauffman voted against releasing CCAT funds.

Council voted 4 to 2 (Councilwoman Barb Fisher was absent) to release the remaining balance of TNR funds (about $2,500) allotted to the Columbia Cat Action Team (CCAT) which will now be under the umbrella of the Columbia Animal Shelter. Zink and Councilman Eric Kauffman voted against releasing the funds. Zink complained that CCAT had already spent almost half of its allotment for the year (even though the year is almost half over.) About 180 cats have been processed since the group's creation a year ago. Councilman Todd Burgard praised the group's volunteers for their efforts.

More spending for airfield testing

Council voted to spend $22,751 for further testing at the former McGinness airfield to analyze the soil for lead.

Two demos, but Chris Vera gets to look first 

Chris Vera of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society will first inspect one of the houses for items of historic interest before demolition. 

Council voted to authorize demolition of 154 and 156 South 5th Street which were damaged in a fire about a year ago. Chris Vera of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society will first inspect one of the houses for items of historic interest.

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