By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Shenandoah Borough Council announced during it's July meeting on Monday night that it's the recipient of a $41,875 grant from the Schuylkill County Land Bank.
The grant is part of a $200,000 Blight Remediation grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Three boroughs, Shenandoah, Mahanoy City, and Minersville, participated in a matching grant program with the land bank in order to receive funding.
Shenandoah committed $50,000 towards the grant. Mahanoy City committed $106,168, and will receive $88,775.
According to council, that grant money will be used to research a low incoming housing project for elderly residents at an empty lot at Coal and Jardin Streets, where fire destroyed several homes in 2012. The borough acquired the lot in 2015.
The borough is looking to partner with Schuylkill Community Action to develop a taxable housing project on the site.
In order to receive the grant, the borough had to enter into a sub-recipient agreement with the land bank, which council approved at Monday's meeting.
Also regarding the land bank, Mayor Andrew J. Szczyglak was appointed to the land bank's board of directors.
The list of properties that will be demolished as part of the agreement are as follows:
In old business, borough solicitor Attorney Christopher B. Slusser, of the Slusser Law Firm, Hazleton, Luzerne County, provided an update on the handicapped parking issue raised at the last council meeting.
Attorney Joseph R. Baranko, Jr., also of the Slusser Law Firm, said at last month's meeting he would look into the issue and provide an update at this month's meeting. Instead, Slusser provided the update.
“The issue in the current state of the law is that anyone with a handicap placard has the ability to use that spot unless it’s specifically designated for that individual. In other communities that we represent what they’re doing is placing a permit number — reserved for permit number holder blank — and correlating it to the person who’s paid for that particular location, so, if we wanted to implement that system, I think that would be the only way that we could make sure that spot is being utilized for the person who has paid for that spot.” Slusser explained.
In other business, borough council noted that the street paving projects on White and Chestnut Streets have been completed.
Council also approved a driveway request for 413 West Washington Street.
Council approved the use of borough hall for meetings for the Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center for Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties.
During the second public portion of the meeting, borough resident and member of the borough Zoning and Planning Commission Charles Vascavage raised concerns regarding the commission.
"As far as I know, there's never been a planning meeting. I don't know who's on the planning commission with me, but I think it's about time our town has a plan." Vascavage said.
"The planning commission is a recommendatory board, they don't take official action for approvals," Solicitor Slusser explained.
"I understand that" Vascavage responded.
"And what they do is, they review various applications, usually subdivision or land development applications of a minor or major sort, and large-scale industrial development or commercial development." Slusser added.
"When I first got on (the commission), I did go on the state website for what a planning commission is supposed to do, and it had a lot to do with roads, street, from what I read, if I read it correctly" Vascavage said.
"Not typically, sir." Slusser responded. "And the planning commission, the name suggests that the planning commission provides some forward-sight or plan for the community. It does, in some respect, but they're impound to react to applications that come before them, so if there's not been applications or development plans or subdivision plans that are on the table for your review, it wouldn't necessarily trigger a meeting."
"I've been on there, what, three, four years? And people who were on it for years before, there's never been a meeting. Not one. I mean, just even have a meeting and say 'Well, why don't we have meetings?'" Vascavage added. "I mean, I just think it's time that, well, planning is planning, we should have a plan of some sort, even if it's not a good plan."
The meeting was adjourned in a storm of laughter following Vascavage's final comment.
Present at the meeting were Council Members Rosanne Mychak, Robert Mychak, Leo Pietkiewicz, and John Thomas, Solicitor Slusser, and Secretary . Absent were Mayor Szczyglak, and council members Paul Holland. Marlana Buhl, and Ronald Mickalowski.
Photo Gallery - Photos of Properties to be Demolished