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Local Government – Morrisville Borough

Council Holds off on Meeting Day Change, Approves Advertising Smoke Shop Code Change, and Censures Councilman

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At last month’s borough council meeting officials decided to hold off on changing meeting dates until at least January, voted to approve advertising a zoning change, and censured one councilman.

Prior to a vote on the motion for changing meeting days, Councilman Justin Bowers said he could not support the meeting date change plan, from the third Monday of the month to the third Tuesday, since he would not be available.

Bowers said he has a prior meeting obligation for that day, monthly.

Councilwoman Helen Hlahol, noting Bowers is in his last months as a member of council, suggested the voting body table the idea until January when two newly seated members of council will come aboard.

Council members agreed and the motion was voted down.

In other council news, the next step forward in the process of changing the borough code to limit smoke shops and tobacco stores moved forward with a unanimous approval for advertising the potential change.

Solicitor Scott Holbert said the next steps for the change to happen would come with approvals from the county and borough planning commissions.

Lastly, in a 5 to 2 vote with one abstention, council voted to censure 4th ward representative Mike Yeager for answering a question about newly hired Judith Danko as Borough Manager from this publication.

Council member’s contended, Yeager broke the seal of executive session secrecy by sharing the information with Lower Bucks Source for a story published on Tuesday, June 22.

Yeager called the vote “silly.”

Holbert was asked to weigh in on the discussion and offer an opinion on the matter, which he declined to do.

Danko who observed the entire discussion, was not asked, nor did the new borough manager offer comment on the motion.

Much of the discussion centered on whether Yeager actually broke the seal of secrecy executive  sessions offer by sharing information outside of that setting. Yeager said he shared information contained in an e-mail which was noted Danko had accepted the offer to take the manager’s position.

Council President Ted Parker said, that from here on out any topics discussed in closed door sessions that create follow up e-mails, etc would be labeled as executive session material, thus protecting anything discussed.

Yeager again said the vote and discussion was “silly.”

In terms of secrecy issues, etc, maybe Hlahol can explain why she sought the opinion of borough officials, last year, on whether she could hold office and the job of borough manager, which on the record, Scott Mitchell said she inquired about.

Lower Bucks Source awaits her on the record response.

 

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***** American Relief Act funds received – $454 K comes in two installments – half this year – half next year — looking into the what the funds can be used for–

 

Movie night in Park on Sept 18 8 to 10:30

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Morrisville Borough

Morrisville Swears in New Chief of Police, Invites Public to Meet and Greet with New Department Leader

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Morrisville Borough swore in its new Chief of Police Monday, Mayor Gary Wallace announced.

A social media post from Wallace highlighted the official ceremony with which will be followed with a ceremonial event open to the public on July 16 at Borough Hall, 7 p.m. .

Wallace addressing borough residents said:

Today, I had the immense pleasure of swearing in our new Police Chief, Rich Ciampa. Chief Ciampa comes to us with an impressive 25 years of law enforcement leadership, and we are confident that he will bring positive changes to our department.

Chief Ciampa’s experience, dedication, and fresh perspective are exactly what our community needs at this pivotal moment. His gesture towards the public on his very first day made a profound impression on everyone on the council. His commitment to transparency, community engagement, and effective policing is a testament to the bright future we envision for Morrisville.

Credit: Submitted

Our borough has experienced many changes in recent months, but amidst these transformations, I have witnessed a growing sense of positive energy and confidence within our community. This new chapter presents an incredible opportunity for us to come together and build a stronger, safer, and more united Morrisville. I am super excited to work with Chief Ciampa on making Morrisville Borough a safe and collaborative community.

Let’s welcome Chief Ciampa with open arms and support him as he takes on this important role. Together, we can achieve great things and ensure a thriving community for all.

I also want to invite all residents to join us on Tuesday, July 16th, at 7 PM at Morrisville Borough Hall for the ceremonial swearing-in of Chief Ciampa. It will be a wonderful opportunity to come together and show our support for our new Police Chief.

The announcement was met with congratulations and welcomes by the Morrisville community.

Credit: Submitted

 

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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Developer Discussed Vision for Vacant Manor Park Elementary School

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After standing vacant for over a decade, will Manor Park Elementary School be redeveloped? If the contract purchaser can get all his approvals from the borough, the site may undergo a redevelopment like 101 Washington Street project but it will take time.

The contract purchaser, Kevin Romano, of the Manor Park Elementary School and its land, presented his  vision for the use of the building and land at the previous meeting of the Morrisville Council meeting.

Romano and an attorney at Begley, Carlin and Mandy appeared before Council to discuss the future vision of the site. The attorney offered  apologies for not attending previous meetings to discuss the matter.  The application may appear confusing but there are a lot of  moving pieces especially to the relief they are requesting and he felt appropriate to be at this meeting and discuss the vision, said the attorney.

The school which is on approximately 1.7 acres has remained vacant for over a decade. The building itself is a little over 14,560 square footage. The attorney’s understanding is the school district previously had the site under contract but the deal fell apart because the former proposed developer could not secure financing. The proposal by Romano and the attorney is labeled as a “mixed use commercial building,” similar to the 101 Washington Street building that Romano operates. Speaking of the future plans, the attorney touched on many legal aspects of the application. He said that they have done what they could in the terms of requiring minimal relief.

Credit: Lower Bucks Source

Romano is the owner of 101 Washington St. in Morrisville and the Bach building in Philadelphia. He said, he has been in the development and redevelopment industry for over 20 years, the last six or seven years he has been focused on the creative redevelopment/reuse of existing structures, sometimes homes but mostly businesses.

Romano’s vision is to be similar to 101 Washington St and wants the school site to be part of the community, not a standalone. He has proven to have success in Morrisville and if they are allowed by zoning to have the same structuring of relief that 101 Washington St was granted, then the new site at the former school will also be successful.

The entire purpose of this presentation was to explain their future plans since it is different than most applications to zoning. The attorney wanted the borough to understand the vision going into the application.

The former Manor Park Elementary School in Morrisville was constructed in 1975 and closed in the late 1980s. It was then used for pre-kindergarten programs for many years.

Credit: Lower Bucks Source

Presented by Romano was information on the Bach Building in South Philadelphia. A former high school spanning 350,000 square feet was in worse shape than Manor Park Elementary. It now houses 220 tenants, there is practically no vacancy. To name a few types of businesses within the building are a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, and bike shop.

Speaking on the the 101 Washington St. building that was bought in 2020 or 2021, Romano said,  that it houses approximately 26-27 tenants who all have different hours of business. Some of the tenants are a couple photographers,  wedding/event planner, tech shop, and several estheticians.

Romano also said, “…Our sort of bread and butter quite frankly is taking buildings that most people don’t really know what to do with and finding a kind of a creative use for them…”

“…For buildings like this to kind of have someone want to breathe life back into them you know it’s a fair amount of risk quite frankly and like to take  that risk me or anyone else needs a little bit of flexibility in the zoning….”

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Morrisville Borough

Morrisville Boro Fire Company’s Seeks Use of Safety Enhancements, Knox Box Program

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“Safety of the citizens of Morrisville and our firefighters is most important to us,” said Fire Chief John Weiss as he spoke to the Morrisville Borough Council at their June meeting about the fire department’s safety improvements including the Knox Box program.

Introduced by former fire chief and currently handling Emergency Management, Matt Wiedenhaefer, Weiss presented an update on the enhancements to fire inspections and investigations, including the Knox Box program.

Weiss said the 100% volunteer fire company respond to an average of 500 calls annually. Most important to the fire company is “the safety of the town’s citizens.” Weiss has been a member for 22 years and during the years, he has “seen his share of unsafe conditions because a proactive fire inspection program was not in place.”

In association with the Code Enforcement Officer/Fire Marshal Barry Isett, the borough has an “avenue” to lessen and possibly eliminate unsafe conditions by implementing a proactive in-person fire inspection program. The unsafe conditions are now caught and corrected during the annual fire inspections. The Fire Protection Systems, which had not been inspected in many years, are now properly maintained and certified. The Emergency Contacts which had not been updated in years are now current with the dispatch center and will benefit all first responders.

Morrisville Borough Fire Chief John Weiss at the June Council Meeting Credit: YouTube screengrab

The Knox Box program, a program that has been requested for decades, is now implemented. The program allows for quick entry and reduces the need  to damage property. The boxes are very secure, and the fire department invested $8,000 of their own funds to “obtain key securers and software to protect the Knox Box keys from being in the wrong hands.”

Each key is locked in its own “key secure.” A key can only be removed by a member who has access to the secure and an unique code assigned to them. The software tracks all activity including who and when of the key removal.

In conclusion, Weiss spoke of  multiple interactions on a weekly basis with the fire inspector and fire marshal. They update Weiss on the active enforcements and the progress of compliance and Weiss updates the officials on any found unsafe conditions. The officials then work towards restoring safety.

About Knox Box

Trusted by thousands of fire and law enforcement agencies for over 40 years, Knox Rapid Access Solutions have provided first responders with immediate access into secure buildings, campuses, residences and commercial properties when it matters most. Removing barriers to entry reduces injuries to responders and minimizes property damage. That’s the power of the Knox rapid access system, according to the Knox Box website.

Click her for more information on Knox Box.

 

Note: If you’re a Morrisville Borough resident who thinks there’s a story out there not being covered feel free to send tips to lbsbdm20@gmail.com with the who, what, when , where, why and how! 

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