Council holds last meeting before 2020

Borough officials discuss traffic calming study, new roads grant

The Berlin Borough Council met Dec. 12 at the municipal building for its last meeting of the year before its reorganization session early next month. Council discussed borough streets and roads, recycling, resident complaints and more.

During council reports, Councilman Len Badolato informed residents that a light was fixed in the parking lot of the municipal building. In the near future, the borough will look to make the parking lot compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by striping it correctly.

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Badolato also said studies have been completed by the appropriate parties to draw up a plan for traffic calming ideas for downtown White Horse Pike within the borough, which Badolato expects to send soon to the state Department of Transportation.

In the realm of public works, Councilman Andrew Simone reported the borough is closing in on completion of the 2019 Roadways Improvement Program, after inclement weather delayed the project in recent weeks. Simone said he hoped the project would be complete by year’s end.

While this year’s project nears its end, Simone also reported that Berlin Borough is preparing for the eventual start of next year’s project. The borough received a 2020 Municipal Aid Grant in the amount of $245,000 for that work, slated to address parts of Rondon Avenue, Pineview Avenue, East Broad Street, Delaware Avenue, Brierhill Road and Pennsylvania Avenue. Work will begin in the fall of next year.

Councilman Rick Miller reminded residents they can use the Recycling Coach app to help with borough recycling tips about what can and can’t be recycled. Additionally, trash and recycling magnets are expected to be sent out to residents in the coming weeks.

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Cynthia Jennings addressed council regarding issues with placement of her trash and recycling cans on trash day. She has communicated with council over several months about cars parked in front of her residence that prohibit her from putting them in front of her curb.

In recent months, council has worked with the Lonaconing East Homeowners Association (HOA) to solve the problem on their own, while the Berlin Police Department has also paid attention to the area to make sure residents are following the law when it comes to space between cars and driveways.

In a letter sent out late last month by the homeowners association board of directors, its residents were reminded to “utilize [their] driveways for parking as much as possible to maximize the number of parking spaces available on the street,” while also being “mindful of driveway aprons when parking on the street” so as to not block driveways.

But Jennings claimed her problem has not been resolved. Despite council’s proposed solutions in recent months, Solicitor Howard Long said any potential ordinances would go against the wishes of the development’s HOA while also encouraging residents in other parts of the borough to request solutions limiting parking for entire communities that would only address the problems of a few.

“If we put a 5 foot limit on every driveway in that development, it would just compound the problem,” Long explained. “We rely a lot upon the board of directors of the HOA association to tell … us what they want and don’t want.

“Government, unfortunately, can’t fix every problem. We’ve been trying to respond to your concerns, but frankly, we’re out of ideas like you’re out of ideas.”

Wayne Bonfiglio, a resident of the Lonaconing East development, addressed council on behalf of the HOA to further discuss the issue. He said Jennings reached out to him in November regarding an issue with not putting her trash out due to a large vehicle in front of her house. Bonfiglio reached out to the owner of the vehicle, who he said removed the vehicle before the morning of trash day.

Resident Peggy Donaldson also addressed council, raising complaints regarding safety within the Lonaconing East development and being unable to back out of her driveway. Donaldson has requested signs within the development, but council has continued to deny its willingness to put up the proposed signs.

“The borough is in charge of the streets, so I’m asking for you to give me an answer,” Donaldson insisted.

Solicitor Long once again stated council is unable to find a solution for the problem.

“We don’t have one,” he advised. “We don’t have an answer.”

Council’s reorganization meeting is Friday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m. in the municipal building.

In other news:

  • Councilman Jim Pearce reported that Berlin EMS responded to 204 calls in November, with 88 being in Berlin Borough. For November, the Berlin Fire Company responded to 70 calls, while the Berlin Police Department responded to 1,811 calls.
  • Miller reminded residents that the police department’s new website is live and is integrated with the departments Facebook page. If residents encounter glitches with the  website, they should make Councilman Miller or Keith Hohing aware.
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