Gettysburg advances zoning change for libraries

The Gettysburg Borough Council is one step closer to allowing libraries in the institutional zone. However, elected officials made it clear Monday that approval does not mean they are permitting the Adams County Library System to move its Gettysburg branch. That decision lies solely with the library system’s board of directors. 

During their regular business meeting, the council unanimously voted to advertise an ordinance that will make libraries a permitted use in the institutional zone. The Gettysburg Borough Planning Commission and Adams County Department of Planning and Development recommended the change, Solicitor Harry Eastman said. The council is expected to vote on the issue one last time during its May meeting. 

The Adams County Library System is seeking a zoning text amendment so it can relocate its Gettysburg Branch from Baltimore Street to the United Lutheran Seminary,

The library’s board proposed the zoning text amendment. The board hopes to move the Gettysburg branch to the United Lutheran Seminary property on the borough’s western border. 

Dorothy Puhl, library trustee emeriti, told the council during a public hearing held before the council meeting that the library has been exploring its options for more than 10 years. The library recently received a renovation estimate of $13 to $15 million, Puhl said. 

“And that would not solve our number one complaint from patrons–no parking,” Puhl said.

As a result, Puhl said, the library board voted unanimously to stay within the borough’s borders. The board first hoped to move to the Gettysburg Rec Park. However, grants the park received mandate the land be used for recreational use. 

Council’s thoughts

Before the vote, several council members encouraged the public to become better informed about issues before the board. The comments came after three members of the public encouraged the council not to allow the library to move from Baltimore Street.

“The borough council of the Borough of Gettysburg does not have authority over the Adams County public library system,” Councilperson Chad-Alan Carr said. 

Carr and Council President Matthew Moon encouraged citizens to regularly read the borough’s website, www.gettysburgpa.gov, and subscribe to email notifications. 

Councilperson Patti Lawson concurred.

“We shouldn’t be pitting the library against the borough or the library against the people who use it,” Lawson said. 

Lawson also encouraged the library board to continue to explore options that will allow the branch to remain on Baltimore Street.

In response to comments made about lack of public notice, Eastman said the borough met all requirements of Pennsylvania law.

Parking Pilot Program

A pilot program designed to ease bus traffic congestion in the borough is off to a slow start.

In response to a question from Carr, Parking Manager Becka Fissel said no businesses have applied to reserve meters. In March, the council approved a three-month pilot program to allow restaurants with a seating capacity of 50 or greater to reserve several meters for up to 12 hours a day when they expect buses. 

Carr said he heard from citizens who would like parking back on the borough’s agenda.

Appointments

The council unanimously appointed the following volunteers to borough committees:

  • Brian Hodges, a three-year term on the Gettysburg Code Enforcement Appeals Board
  • Robin Fitzpatrick, a five-year term on the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority
  • Caleb McClure, a five-year term on the Gettysburg Borough Local Human Relations Commission
  • Scott Hancock, a three-year term on the Gettysburg Borough Local Human Relations Commission
  • Brendan Cushing-Daniels, the remainder of a five-year unexpired term member on the Gettysburg Municipal Authority

The council also expressed appreciation to Timothy Good for serving on the Gettysburg Municipal Authority for 26 years.

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​Alex J. Hayes has spent almost two decades in the Adams County news business. He is passionate about sharing stories focused on the people in our communities and following local governments in an age when few journalists report on their meetings. Alex is also a freelance writer for several other publications in South Central Pennsylvania. Alex encourages readers to contact him at ahayes83@gmail.com.

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Donna Despres
Donna Despres
2 months ago

Since becoming a grandparent six years ago, I have escorted both granddaughters to a number of Adams Couty Library toddler and preschool programs offered at various locations. I must say that I was apalled by the condition of the Littlestown library. Indeed this is not to disparage the personnel, but of the library Board for not providing renovation as they have, in particular, the Carroll Valley library. Alas, I do not follow the Board’s deliberations but do want to “put it out there” of this person’s opinion. BTW, I do not live in Littlestown, so this isn’t a biased opinion.

Miranda Wisor, Executive Director
Reply to  Donna Despres

Thank you so much for your support and patronage of the libraries in Adams County! The Adams County Library System (ACLS) is dedicated to providing the highest quality service possible to all of Adams County from each of the six library locations. With the exception of the Gettysburg and East Berlin libraries, all library branch locations are generously provided by the boroughs or townships in which they reside. While this may result in cosmetic differences between locations, ACLS makes every effort to ensure that each branch offers comparable services and access to our community.

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