After the Gettysburg Borough Council spent several hours on Monday evening making progress on a number of important decisions, Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers used the public comment period to express disapproval of each of them, accusing the councilmembers of showing a “lack of vision.”
Sellers said Main Street Gettysburg was “the economic development arm of the borough.”
The borough announced at the meeting they planned to try a pilot program that allows people to drink alcohol outside on the Lincoln Square and within one block of it. Sellers said the borough had existing laws which related to this issue and that the pilot project could have been borough-wide. “You’ve left out a lot of businesses that could benefit economic development by limiting that that to the square plus one block,” she said. You have a whole list of businesses who are going to say ’what about me?”
The borough also decided to reduce the number of parklets in the borough, saying they were not used regularly and took away parking spaces. Sellers said the borough was being short-sighted. “We’re trying to create a walkable downtown. That includes public gathering spaces and you’re basically taking part of that program away. Cars are not going to be the answer forever and they shouldn’t be,” she said. Sellers said saving parking spaces was not contributing to a vision of a cleaner city.
The council spent over an hour developing appropriate guidelines for potential event venues in the borough, a change that could negatively affect residential areas. The councilmembers considered noise, lot requirements, accessory structures such as tents, dumpsters, frequency of events, outside lighting, fire codes, waste containers, parking, idling buses, setbacks, and enforcement, among others.
The borough noted the new ordinance could potentially apply to many properties in the borough and that the decisions could have wide effects. One approach being considered is to write the ordinance so there are different regulations for neighborhoods that are more residential.
Referring to the proposed High St. project that led to the event venue discussions, Sellers said the council’s considerations about the “private property which is being micromanaged down to the foot is unnecessary when there are existing laws to answer almost every issue that has been brought up over the past 7 to 8 months.”
Sellers thanked the council for their “diligence” but wondered “in what condition we’re going to pass this borough on to the next generation.”
In other news, the borough encouraged residents to document any difficulties they may have had with the conversion from Waste Connections to Waste Management using a form available on the borough’s website.
The borough also announced that spring brush pickup will be from Monday May 23 through Thursday May 26. The public works crew will go around the town twice to pick up brush. Residents are asked to place brush along the curb or alley but not in the street. No leaves or grass clippings are allowed.