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Chester County Press

'Third on Third' coming to Oxford

03/12/2014 02:58PM ● By Acl

By Steven Hoffman 

Staff Writer

Oxford Mainstreet Inc. (OMI) executive director Sue Cole made a report to Oxford Borough Council about the organization’s upcoming activities, including the launch of a new monthly attraction called “Third on Third” at Monday night's council meeting. This partnership between OMI, the Oxford Arts Alliance, and the business owners will be working collaboratively on this event, which takes place on the Third Friday of each month. Businesses on Third Street—hence the “Third on Third” moniker—will be extending their hours during the event. Some of the stores will have art shows or exhibits or musical performances during Third on Third events.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the owners of the Octoraro Hotel & Tavern sought approval from Oxford Borough Council to close the adjacent alley during First Friday events each month.

John McGlothin, one of the owners, said that they would like to close off Octoraro Alley with barricades from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. so that tables can be set up outside for people to enjoy outdoor dining. They also want to bring in country or easy-listening bands to entertain the diners.

The length of the building is approximately 125 feet, so if tables were set up in the alley no more than 100 people would be in the area at any one time. 

There is never a lot of automobile traffic in the alley, and Cole said that she spoke to the neighboring Oxford Presbyterian Church to make sure that the closing of the alley wouldn't be a major concern.

Cole said that she was in complete support of the request, explaining that she thought this added attraction would be a boost for First Friday activities.

Oxford Borough Council was enthusiastic about the request.

“This is the kind of {thing} I’ve wanted to see in Oxford for a long time,” said council member Paul Matthews.

“The atmosphere is different from anything that we’ve had in Oxford before,” said council member Randy Teel. “It’s a very good place to eat.”

Council then unanimously approved the request.

McGlothin said that securing permission from local officials is necessary before the business can seek approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to extend the retail area for the limited hours. He assured council that the area will be roped off and guests will be checked for identification if they are drinking alcoholic beverages. The beverages are not allowed outside the designated area.

Borough council was less receptive to a request from the Housing Authority of Chester County  asking Oxford to waive the rental inspection fees for the rental units that it has in town. The Housing Authority previously failed to pay the rental inspections. Several other communities in Chester County waive the inspection fees, and there was a request for Oxford to do the same.

Ultimately, however, council decided that the inspections, which take place every other year, are a necessity to ensure resident safety and consequently so are the fees. Because the borough decided that its existing ordinance should remain in effect, there was no need for council to take any action.

Borough council reviewed year-to-date expenditures and compared them to 2014 budget figures, a new practice for this council. Previously, the Finance Committee would have scrutinized these figures. Oxford Mayor Geoff Henry lauded the increased oversight by council.

Council members had another lengthy discussion regarding Oxford’s policy for retaining recordings of public meetings.

When Oxford or other municipalities record their meetings and then approve minutes for those meetings, the approved minutes become the official record of what transpired at the meeting. The recordings of the meetings can then be destroyed.

In fact, according to borough solicitor Stacy Fuller, it’s a much better option to destroy the recordings rather than keep them stored away. At a previous meeting, it was pointed out that as long as a recording of the meeting exists, it can become a part of discovery during a lawsuit. 

Council member Randy Teel has spoken in favor of keeping the recordings several times because they could prove to be useful if there’s ever a time when someone needs to go back and hear exactly what was said at a meeting. While the minutes will include the results of votes and a brief explanation of some of the items that were discussed, it won’t include the whole story of what transpired.

Other council members, however, expressed doubts about how useful the recordings are. Sue Lombardi said that in all the time that she has served on council, she didn’t think there was ever a time when council went back to old recordings.

“I don’t know what the benefit is to keeping them,” Lombardi said.

Ultimately, council voted 6-1 in favor of getting disposing of the recordings once the minutes are officially adopted.