Highlands Borough Council Approves Building Ordinance and Addresses Soil Erosion Legal Action

In a recent meeting, the Highlands Borough Council addressed several issues including the approval of ordinance 0242, which amends building and housing provisions, and the decision to pursue legal action concerning soil erosion on private property. The council also adopted resolutions regarding the 2024 temporary budget and improvements to Veterans Memorial Park, among other administrative matters.

This ordinance, which has now passed its second and final reading, aligns the borough’s fee structures with those of neighboring towns in the county and is expected to streamline processes within the building department. These changes are part of the council’s ongoing efforts to modernize and improve efficiency in local governance.

Of notable concern during the meeting was the discussion of a longstanding issue of soil erosion on a particular property, which has prompted the council to consider legal action. The erosion has been a cause of contention due to its potential impact on the community and the environment. The council’s attorney expressed frustration with the lack of enforcement from relevant authorities and highlighted the urgency of the situation. The council debated the efficacy of issuing violations versus taking immediate judicial action. The potential for soil to continue eroding during prolonged legal proceedings was a primary concern. The council ultimately agreed that the community’s welfare necessitated decisive legal intervention. A resolution was passed to enter executive session to discuss the potential litigation further.

Additionally, the council tackled administrative matters including the amendment to the 2024 temporary budget. This amendment is important for maintaining the borough’s fiscal responsibilities and ensuring the continued operation of municipal services while the final budget is being prepared. The execution of a RightWay agreement with the United States Department of the Army was another important resolution passed, which will allow the borough to engage in mutually beneficial activities with federal entities.

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The meeting also saw the approval of change orders for the ongoing improvements to Veterans Memorial Park. Members of the council provided detailed explanations for each resolution.

In an effort to revitalize the Central Business District, the council discussed simplifications to the Redevelopment plan aimed at attracting more businesses to the area.

Public engagement during the meeting offered insight into the concerns of residents, with one individual voicing apprehension about a project near his property and its implications. This resident sought answers regarding the enforcement of regulations and the security of the project site. The council reassured the individual that the matter was being addressed by the land use board and that revisions to the tree and slope ordinances were underway to prevent similar issues in the future. Despite the council’s assurances, the resident expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of resolution and did not rule out legal action if necessary.

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The reports section of the meeting included a mention of the upcoming Tricky Tray event at the elementary school, with a council member encouraging community participation. This reflects the council’s support for local events and educational institutions.

The meeting was conducted with an emphasis on procedural order, including a reminder of the public’s three-minute time limit for addressing the council. The dialogue between the resident and the council members highlighted the ongoing debate about the town’s regulatory responsibilities and the rights of residents to protect their property.

The administrative portion of the meeting concluded with the approval of the executive session minutes and the adjournment of the meeting at 8:27 pm.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Carolyn Broullon
City Council Officials:
Jo-Anne Olszewski, Donald Melnyk, Karen Chelak, Leo Cervantes

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