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Gettysburg revisits signage, outdoor toilet, and other ordinances

The Gettysburg Borough Council is revisiting and potentially revising several local ordinances and will get public comment during the decision-making process.

The borough will consider one or more ordinances that explicitly require each street address and apartment unit to have its own utility hookups. The goal is to prevent people from sharing water, electric, sewer, cable, trash, and other utilities. The ordinance will be drafted with input from Police Chief Robert Glenny and Solicitor Harry Eastman and considered at a future meeting.

The proposed ordinances will also regulate inappropriate placing of trash in other people’s trash receptacles and using public trash cans for private waste.

The borough is also updating its sign ordinance, considering questions about signage and painting on and around buildings. The borough debated the frequent use of sandwich board signs that are placed on the sidewalks in front of businesses, and which frequently block passage of pedestrians.

Current ADA requirements call of for a minimum of 48” of pedestrian space on the sidewalk.  The council considered potential policies ranging from banning all such signs to requiring signs to be within 3 feet of buildings, to revising the ordinance to make rules clearer to business owners.

The council also considered rules about off-premises signs and the use of tree wells to display flags, banners, and advertisements.

The borough will also review its fire codes and their enforcement.

Also discussed was the use of portable toilets in the borough. The borough said there are many portable restrooms in the borough, especially in the back of buildings along Steinwehr Ave.

Although the Gettysburg Municipal Authority has encouraged the borough to disallow portable toilets for safety reasons, existing toilets are being heavily used.

“I see a great need for porta-potties along Steinwehr Ave.,” said council member Judie Butterfield, “Right now they are a necessity. People routinely thank businesses for them.”

The police department has created a new rank of Master Sergeant and will recruit from its current sergeants to fill one slot. Police Department Sergeants receive a 6.5% salary increase over the base salary, and the Master Sergeant will receive 7.5% over base.

The Master Sergeant will be authorized to fill in if the chief of police is absent or incapacitated.

The borough will also consider how they handle personnel complaints.  Currently, complaints about the operation of the borough are sent to either the borough manager, the mayor, or the chief of police and are not necessarily shared with council.

A proposed solution would be to require monthly reporting to the councilmembers about complaints.

Main Street Gettyburg President Jill Sellers said her organization was applying for a Dept. of Community and Economic Development grant for another round of funding to support exteriors of local businesses.  If obtained, the $50,000 award would allow up to $100,000 spending for façade-related upgrades.

Businesses can apply now for up to $5,000 in support to maintain and improve windows, siding, and other parts of building facades.  The program will not incur any costs to the borough.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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