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Chester County Press

Oxford Borough Council enlists interim borough manager

03/02/2021 10:57AM ● By Steven Hoffman

At the March 1 meeting, Oxford Borough Council approved a professional services agreement between the Borough of Oxford and ARRO Consulting, Inc. to provide an interim borough manager. Cary B. Vargo will be serving as interim manager while council conducts a search for a new, permanent manager. The contract calls for him to work 20 hours a week unless approved by council to go beyond that.

Council President Peggy Ann Russell thanked Arlene Harrison for stepping in as interim borough manager for several months. Now, Harrison can focus exclusively on her regular duties.

“This will allow Mrs. Harrison to stop doing double time. Her treasurer position is more than enough. She did a great job and we thank her for her dedication,” Russell said.

In other business at the meeting, the former Rite Aid building at 46 South Third Street will soon be occupied. Council approved a motion to grant approval to Dr. Daniel P. Neff for conditional use to operate a physical therapy office or clinic at that location. Neff will be purchasing the building. He currently has a clinic in Quarryville and Willow Street.

Planning Commission recommended the approval to Council. The building, located in the C-3 commercial district, has been vacant for two years. It has 6,000 square feet of space on the first floor and over 2,000 square feet in the basement.

It is also located in the historic district so Neff will need to go before the Historical Architecture Review Board (HARB) if signage or the façade is changed.

“We will be changing signs, and changing the façade,” Neff explained. “The material there now is not structurally safe.”

The property was approved at this time for a medical center. Neff plans on bringing in another tenant in the future and, if so, that would need approval from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Hours of operation would run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. two days, 8 a.m. to 5 on two days, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. There are no plans for weekend hours.

The clinic would start with three employees, one doctor, a physical therapy assistant and an administrative assistant. It could increase to five employees if necessary. Neff said the clinic could see up to 4 patients in one hour, or 150 patients a week.

The plan is for the patients to park beside the building. Currently there are about nine parking spots at the side of the building, but possible room for more on the property.

Neff said in the event they would need more parking, they would park in the parking garage. He explained his physical therapy technique saying, “We do a gentler physical therapy. We actually travel throughout the country teaching what we do.”

Neff said he is excited to put a facility in Oxford. They plan to start renovations sometime during the summer.

Council approved Mary Beth Rizzo Moore to fill the vacancy of tax collector. Moore currently works as a nurse practitioner. She is a resident of the borough, as is required for that position.

Christy Hannum and Brian Dix from Oxford Mainstreet told council they plan to bring shoppers to the downtown by holding a March 13 special event aptly named, “Spend Your Green in Downtown Oxford.” They are working with the chamber and plan to raffle off a basket full of amazing items. More information will be forthcoming.

There was also a discussion about the plans for a drive-in movie event on April 16 and 17 at the Oxford Area Recreational Association Park. The event is actually a fundraiser for the Shoebox Theatre, and as a reminder that OMI is still working on opening that venue. The movies will be announced next week. There will also be a vendor to provide popcorn and candy.

Mark Gallant, senior planner from Chester County Planning Commission and Susan Elks, a community planning director, spoke to council about the Vision Partnership Planning Grant Program. This will be discussed further at the March 15 council meeting including appointing a task force. The previous regional comprehensive plan and the Borough’s Revitalization Plan were completed through the Vision Partnership Planning Program.

Public Works Director John Schaible gave council a report of their monthly accomplishments, which included snow removal and ice treatment, and equipment repairs. 

Borough council considered and approved a number of motions at the meeting, including a motion to approve an extension request for the John Walsh project.

The resignation of Willard McKim, who was a crossing guard for ten years, was also approved.

A motion was approved to outsource the printing and mailing of water bills to Freedom Systems.

Resolution 1309-2021 and Exhibits A & B “Water Tapping and Connection Fees were approved in the amount of $4,525 per EDU, which covers the actual cost of connection to a new service.

There was also a motion to approve the Financial Security Modification Agreement for Sycamore Crossing Phases 3, 5A and 5B. This agreement reflects the developer’s name change.

Additionally, there was a motion to approve the Development Agreement and Financial  Security Agreement for Sycamore Crossing Phases 2 and 4. This also agreement reflects the developer’s name change.

Also approved was a motion to approve an access agreement from Lancaster Avenue to Sycamore Crossing for developers.

Borough Council discussed the feasibility of developing Well #14 at Sycamore Crossing. This will be discussed at the March 15 meeting.

Council member Dick Winchester said traffic counting for Mt. Vernon Street is scheduled for March 14. He will recommend that traffic counting for the East Precinct be done the next time.

Hodgson Street Curbing was discussed. Vargo will bring back this discussion at the April meeting. Vargo will work with borough staff, including Schaible, Scott Moran and David Bright, to formulate a plan on the curbing and bring it back to council at the first meeting in April.

Russell said there were questions as to whether the Borough was paying for two solicitors to attend this council meeting.

Solicitor Stacey Fuller explained that although another solicitor attends from her firm, he is not being paid for by the borough.

“Rob Jefferson, the other solicitor from our firm, asked if could sit in to learn. The Borough is not paying for him,” Fuller explained. “The Borough is paying for my services only at the meeting. When we set our fee agreement last year, we did not increase it.”

Mayor Phil Harris explained to council that, since one of the crossing guards has just retired, the Borough only has two out of four crossing guards they should have. It was decided that Winchester will draft a letter to the school district to ask them to contribute to the cost of the crossing guards. The solicitor will review the letter and bring it to council for approval.

Harris also noted that on March 1, the borough remembers Eli Seth Matthews, a brave borough resident who worked to raise funds to fight childhood cancer until he passed away from the disease.

 “Today is Eli Seth Matthews Day and we honor his fight against cancer,” Harris said.                Vargo thanked council for approving the professional services agreement. He thanked everyone for welcoming him and looks forward to working with the group.

Russell encouraged anyone wishing to run for council seats this year to have their paperwork in this week.