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New Hope hires part-time police officer, settles on preliminary budget


Mayor Larry Keller announced the hiring of part-time police officer Tim Phillips at the New Hope Borough Council meeting on Nov. 19, saying that Phillips, who retired from the force in Buckingham Township, would be a “great fit.”

Council member Dan Dougherty requested a change in process from hiring employees based upon a “short memo” before having an opportunity to run it by a work session of council or the finance committee. Council member Laurie McHugh agreed. The request, phrased into a motion, passed in a 4-3 vote.

Borough Manager E.J. Lee presented a motion to authorize advertisement of the 2020 preliminary budget. A proposed revenue of $4,120,208 runs against an anticipated expenditure of the same amount. The motion passed unanimously.

A public hearing by interim Solicitor David Sander for a liquor license transfer application to the future site of McCaffrey’s Market at 300 W. Bridge St. was held at the meeting. The application was approved in a 7-0 vote.

A revised zoning ordinance amendment defines height of a structure, eliminating the word occupied, to make it habitable space for stylistic conformity to references of nonhabitable space. Council member Alison Kingsley called the ordinance a “can of worms” with its ambiguity, stating that the ultimate definition of height requires context with existing properties.

Council member Peter Meyer argued that he did not find the “professionally recommended language” ambiguous and stated that the current language speaks to height relative to the street. A motion to enact the ordinance passed 6-1 over Kingsley’s objection.

The borough speed limit of 25 mph was extended west on Bridge Street beyond the high school to Old York Road and Riverstone Circle in a unanimous vote.

In other borough business, a sign request for the Salty Dog at 2 W.Ferry St. was approved in a 7-0 vote. A 6-0 vote with one abstention approved a fence, wall and garage at 91 W. Ferry St. A certificate of appropriateness for demolition at 18-20 Mechanic Street was also approved with unanimity.

The council discussed a zoning hearing board application from Riverhouse Offices 2 LLC for the Riverhouse Executive Offices at 328 S. Main St. Information on proposed use, however, was incomplete because only the builder showed up.

Dougherty expressed his concern with the application, stating that it was the builder who was presenting proposed use, while the owner should be presenting instead.

“I cannot in good conscience vote on this,” said council member Tina Leifer Rettig, and Meyer agreed. McHugh stated that last month the council forgot to tell the owners to show up, and at the Nov. 19 meeting the appropriate people were not in attendance, asking what the next step was.

At the suggestion of Dougherty, another meeting will be planned.