Smoke-free parks? Council considers ordinance; also addresses slippery pool surface

By on August 15, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

The trend at making public places tobacco-free could soon be coming to parks located within Ephrata Borough according a committee report delivered to Ephrata Borough Council at Monday night’s regular session.

The Community Services Committee was addressed by Susan Lackman from Lancaster General Hospital concerning a countywide initiative to see parks go tobacco free. In a presentation by Lackman, she explained the benefits of tobacco-free parks, noting that to date, 10 municipalities have adopted such resolutions. A sample resolution was also presented to the committee for review.

Jim Summers, the interim director at the Ephrata Recreation Center, indicated they are in support of such a program and recommends that the committee consider adopting the resolution. Committee members, too, have expressed support for the initiative and have requested borough staff to identify locations within the borough to be defined as tobacco-free. Further discussion on the matter will take place at the next committee meeting. As of yet, there has been no discussion of penalties for those smoking within areas to be designated tobacco-free.

In related news, the Community Services Committee reported to council that it had discussed several issues of concern with the new Ephrata Community Pool. The first issues was that of the slippery deck. Borough staff reported that two solutions were tested for effectiveness. In one test, a sealant containing non-slip particles was applied to a small area. In the other test, muriatic acid was applied. The first test provided the best results. The committee advised staff to move forward in obtaining bids to have the non-slip material applied throughout the problem area. Once obtained, the committee plans to move forward with a change order to have the area treated.

The committee also discussed the possibility of purchasing 30 additional chaise lounges for the pool at an estimated cost of approximately $100 each. Staff was given clearance to purchase the additional lounges out of the existing pool amenities budget.

And finally with regard to the pool, the committed considered concerns about the new sod turning brown and the possibility of adding an irrigation system. It was determined the grass was turning brown because it had gone dormant due to the dry conditions earlier in the summer but that with sufficient rain the grass would return to a healthy green. The committee decided to hold off on any irrigation system at this time, citing the additional cost for the system, irrigation and additional mowing costs that would result from the grass growing at a faster pace.

In other borough news, council enacted Ordinance 1486, amending Chapter 319 establishing definitions for special exception uses in areas zoned Planned Mixed Use District, with specific special exception standards to regulate Assisted Living Facilities, Congregate Care Facilities and Personal Care Facilities. The unanimous vote followed a required public hearing on the matter at which no one from the public offered any testimony prior to the vote.

Council appointed three individuals to the Uniform Construction Code (or UCC) Board of Appeals. Thomas L. Weaver was appointed for a term from 8/13/12 to 12/31/2013. David M. Albright was appointed from 8/13/12 to 12/31/14 and Robert A. Hoffman was appointed from 8/13/12 to 12/31/15.

The Public Safety committee reported to council that Lt. Chris McKim had presented committee members with recent notification by the Pennsylvania State Police that municipal departments can no longer use the state police to perform background checks for transient retail application background/ clearances. According to Ephrata Borough Code 293-6 Investigation of Applicants, specifies that a criminal background investigation must be conducted before the issuance of a permit. Lt. McKim requested that the committee approve the review of the current code with the borough solicitor and Ephrata Police Department staff for compliance. It was also requested that no new permitting occur until the issue is fully addressed and resolved. The committee was unanimous in its support of the request and will await further guidance from solicitor James McManus prior to moving forward with any formal recommendations.

Council also approved an increase to the Buffer Zone Protection Plan Grant in the amount of 41,494.85. Police Chief William Harvey commented on the grant.

"This is due to Homeland Security and some issues with necessary infrastructure," said Harvey. "These funds are for critical infrastructure equipment."

While Harvey explained that due to the nature of the work, he was unable to comment further on the exact details, since it was critical to the Homeland Security effort, he did explain that the borough would be reimbursed for the funds through the grant with no negative impact on the budget.

Council voted unanimously to enact Ordinance 1485 which amends the borough’s Cod of Ordinances, chapter 165 regarding conditions for medical certification to postpone termination of services.

"As an elaboration on this," said council member Anthony Kilkuskie, "we are making our ordinance consistent with PPL and other electric providers in the state subject to PUC conditions for the postponement terms of service regarding medical conditions. We will now be consistent with the PUC on this."

In comments to council, member Bob Good informed members that filming for "Today in America" (took) place on Tuesday, Aug. 14 from 8:30 until 6:30 p.m.

"This will be a nice filming and interviewing presentation of our community," explained Good. "Once done, a DVD will be made of the segment. It will also be presented on national TV with an introduction by Terry Bradshaw."

The borough will receive a copy of the DVD which it can then use for marketing and promotional efforts. During Tuesday’s filming, crews will interview Mayor Ralph Mowen as well as several members of borough council. Additional footage has already been provided to producers depicting the Ephrata Fair and performances at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center (EPAC). Weather permitting, footage will be shot at the new pool. Should weather not cooperate, that additional footage will be forwarded on to producers at a later point.

For a wealth of additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail at More BOROUGH, page A6

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