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New Hope Council president steps down


Alison Kingsley has stepped aside as president of the New Hope Borough Council. Her announcement, made at the Dec. 18 meeting of the borough council, was unexpected.

But it was not surprising in the context of recent accusations of zoning ordinance violations over The River Cat Café on South Main Street which she owns and manages.

“The last two years have been very tumultuous,” Kingsley said, adding after a short pause, “To say the least.” She continued by couching her resignation in terms of years served, saying that while she started on an odd year, she served two years and was stepping aside to turn the reigns over to “the next lucky person who gets to be selected as president and gets some new energy and takes the borough to the next step.”

Kingsley opened the River Cat Café in a limited commercial zone, designed to buffer residences from businesses. The business proceeded to break borough ordinances by preparing food and placing dumpsters that crossed into in buffer zones.

George Fernandez, who owns the apartment building across the street, sent complaints to the borough that went unheeded until he appeared at a council meeting in October, which then resulted in zoning enforcement action on Kingsley’s business.

A zoning hearing board meeting will take up the issue on Thursday, January 10.

Kingsley announced her decision to step down after praising recent council accomplishments made under her tenure, including no tax increase for a second year running. She expressed confidence in the accuracy of the projected 2019 budget and cited new purchases including public trash cans and a police car. Kingsley also stated that the parking kiosks installed Jan. 2, were fully operational with “100 percent accountability” of the money being generated.

Kingsley added that a police car preventive maintenance program was in place and a driveway had been installed off New Street allowing easier access for police to and from the station. She stated that a new borough manager, treasurer and part-time office assistant have also been added to the borough staff.

Kingsley’s resignation from the council presidency was effective Dec. 31.