PRESENT – President Stockton, Vice President Anzinger, Councilwoman Benjamin, Councilwoman Reichner, Councilwoman McMenamin, Councilwoman Ostrander, Mayor Bollendorf, State Representative Elect Guenst, Chief Gardner, Manager Hegele, Assistant Secretary DeRenzis, Solicitor Geiser, Superintendent Sine.
ABSENT – No one was absent.
CALL TO ORDER – President Stockton called the December 7, 2020 Special Council Meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
INVOCATION – The invocation was given by Mayor Bollendorf.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chief Gardner.
MEETING NOTES – President Stockton reviewed the Public Comment Policy with regards to addressing Council and time allotment.
PUBLIC COMMENT – There was no public comment.
1) SPECIAL HOLIDAY RECYCLING COLLECTION
President Stockton stated that because Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on a Friday this year certainly residents in the Borough will go two weeks without recycling collection so the Borough will have a special recycling collection for residents who are affected by this on Wednesday, December 30, 2020. Manager Hegele stated that Public Works employees will be handing out notices to residents affected by this collection.
2) APPOINTMENT OF NEW MAYOR
President Stockton stated that Mayor Guenst was forced to resign to start a new chapter as State Representative. He also stated that the Admin Committee was presented with a task to appoint a new Mayor for the upcoming year. He stated that they received four resumes and out of the four, three reside in the Borough and after review, they made a unanimous decision to recommend Tim Schultz for the position of appointed Mayor.
3) DISCUSSION OF WAWA COURT DECISION
President Stockton stated that the Court handed down a ruling that was not in the favor of the Borough as it ruled with the developer.
Solicitor Geiser stated that the Court denied the Borough’s argument and ruled in favor of Wawa and the Borough has 30 days to petition for allowance to appeal. She also stated that the Supreme Court doesn’t everybody to appeal so you have to petition asking for permission to appeal. She also stated that there are seven examples of why they would hear the case and the one that might be pertinent to the Borough would be a new area of law and she doesn’t think it is a strong enough argument for the Supreme Court to take the case and the Supreme Court does not take many land use appeals and that is what this case is. She also stated that the allowance to appeal would be the next step and the Borough is in the position to determine whether or not they would like to petition for this allowance to appeal and if the Supreme Court would grant this allowance, then the Borough would be able to appeal and this would be a lengthy procedure and she is not confident that they would hear the Borough’s appeal.
President Stockton stated it would cost about $10,000.00 for the brief if the Borough were to appeal. He also stated that if the Court were to rule in our favor, there would be additional costs as well. He also stated that he understands that this is a very important issue as there is a lot of passion regarding it and he has received many emails from those who are in support of appealing the decision and he has received some from those against spending any more money to fight it. He also stated that he feels the Borough’s likelihood of success is very slim if we decide to petition to appeal.
Tim Schultz, 52 Orchard Avenue, stated that this is a very emotional issue for the community at large and he wished to speak on behalf of the Millbrook Society and the Historic Commission. He stated that as the Historian he wanted to make a point that Hatboro was settled in this area and the Cressbrook House was recently acquired this year by the Borough and the Boilieu House was recently spared by the developer and the Pennypack Mill serves as a centerpiece for our town as well as Loller Academy. He also stated that to put a super Wawa in the middle of this historic footprint of ours would be an affront to History. Tim Schultz read a letter to Council from the President of the Millbrook Society, Lin Magaha, which is labeled EXHIBIT A and is attached to the minutes.
Dave Shannon, 42 Harding Avenue, stated that he supports the Borough Historian and the Millbrook Society to petition to appeal.
Steve Mock, 547 Moreboro Road, stated that the people who pay taxes in the Borough should be the only ones to have a say so regarding the Wawa because they will be the ones to contend with the traffic congestion on a permanent bases. He stated that a super Wawa next to a Historical building does not make sense to him.
ADJOURNMENT – President Stockton adjourned the Special Council Meeting at 7:23 P.M.
BOROUGH OF HATBORO
SPECIAL VOTING MEETING
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2020
CALL TO ORDER – President Stockton called the December 7, 2020 Special Voting Meeting to order at 7:23 P.M.
PUBLIC COMMENT – There was no public comment.
ORDER OF BUSINESS AND VOTING ITEMS
SPECIAL HOLIDAY RECYCLING COLLECTION – Councilwoman Ostrander made a motion to approve a special recycling collection day on Wednesday, December 30th, for residents with Friday collection who are affected by the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benjamin, all ayes. Motion carried 6-0.
APPOINTMENT OF NEW MAYOR – Vice President Anzinger made a motion to appoint Tim Schultz to the position of Mayor for the Borough of Hatboro. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Reichner, all ayes. Motion carried 6-0.
Dave Shannon, 42 Harding Avenue, asked if there was a reason to be concerned about a conflict with positions in the Borough considering Tim Schultz is the Borough Historian. Tim Schultz stated that he was stepping down from his current other positions to avoid conflict with the Borough.
WAWA APPEAL – Councilwoman Benjamin made a motion to submit for an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania against the previous ruling which would allow a Wawa to be developed at Horsham and York Roads. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Ostrander. Motion doesn’t pass, 4-2.
Councilwoman McMenamin stated that she feels with this decision, that it is a lose-lose for Hatboro and she would prefer that there not be a Wawa at the proposed location for several reasons such as the Historic buildings that would surround it, Miller Meadow, and most importantly because the community does not want it there. She also stated that there are several families within close proximity that would be affected and some residents at Moreland Towers who would not be able to make the walk to the new location for necessities. She also stated that this has also been a financial burden that we have been supporting in hopes of a favorable outcome and at this point are voting if they want to spend additional tax payers dollars on a gamble with only a 3% opportunity of appeal which is not guaranteed. She also stated that this is during a year when we are trying to refinance debt and trying not raise taxes.
Councilwoman Reichner stated that she agrees with Councilwoman McMenamin and we need to make zoning a priority, so we do not face this in the future. She also stated that she understands how the traffic can get congested in that area as well. She also stated that she doesn’t think we should keep spending money on fighting what appears to be a losing battle.
Councilwoman Benjamin stated that that she understands that it is a financial burden as it’s a long shot but it one she believes they should take because then we can say that we did everything we could and $10,000.00 is a lot to prepare a brief and if it never goes to court, it is a loss, but she feels it’s a greater loss if there was that chance they could have fought it. She also stated that she feels the long-term financial loss to the Borough greatly outweighs the $10,000.00 expense to prepare a brief.
Councilwoman Ostrander stated that she also agrees and that we have come this far, and she knows that $10,000.00 is a lot of money but there are residents who really want to stop the Wawa there. She also stated that if we could stop the Wawa, it would be worth doing.
Vice President Stockton stated that just like last time, he did not want to spend any more of the borough’s money if he didn’t feel like we had any chance of success or positive outcome. He also stated that this is going to be tough year for the Borough financially and we are in a good position as compared to other municipalities, but it is a difficult time to justify another expense. He also stated that he knows $10,000.00 is a lot of money, but the Borough has a lot of money into this venture already and at this point is a very difficult decision to make for all of Council.
Susan Gould, 43 Orchard, asked if there is anything the residents can do to increase the chance of this being heard in the Court System.
Solicitor Geiser stated that it would be up to the Supreme Court if they want to hear our case or not and unfortunately it won’t matter what any resident would say as their job is to sit unbiased and look strictly at the law.
Tina Giovinazzo, Horsham Road, suggested that the Borough review our ordinances in full as the Wawa case will bring more challenges if we don’t act fast. President Stockton stated that we have someone that has been hired to do that. Manager Hegele stated that we are in the preliminary stages, but it has been started.
Benjamin – Yes
Ostrander – Yes
Reichner – No
Anzinger – No
McMenamin – No
Stockton – No
Motion doesn’t pass 4-2.
OLD BUSINESS AND UPDATES – There was no old business or updates.
NEW BUSINESS – There was no new business.
PUBLIC COMMENT – Dave Shannon, 42 Harding, asked if there were any negotiations the Borough could make because it does impact a nationally historic registered building, Loller Academy. He asked if there were any concessions we could make that would appease the Borough in the Historic aspect. President Stockton stated that this still has to go through land development and Wawa initially were going to be open to comment and concern from the Borough residents as well as meeting with the residents adjacent to the property and find ways to adjust their plans to try to minimize the impact of the development on that intersection.
ADJOURNMENT – Councilwoman McMenamin made a motion to adjourn the December 7, 2020 Special Council Meeting at 7:53 P.M. Motion was seconded by Vice President Anzinger, all ayes. Motion carried 6-0.
Respectfully submitted by
Diane C. Hegele/Borough Manager
Transcribed by Cindy Bollendorf