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Chester County Press

Oxford Borough Council approves agreement for water main replacement project

08/23/2021 04:41PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council has approved an agreement with Eagle Contracting and Landscaping, Inc. for a water main replacement project in the amount of $387,125. The project area is on Hodgson Street and Eighth Street. 
At the same meeting, council listened to concerns of a resident and executive director of the Sycamore Crossing Homeowners Association. 
According to the resident, they are trying to resolve a long-standing issue with the borough regarding the streetlight payments to PECO. She said Sycamore Crossing residents believe that the financial responsibility of payment for the streetlights rests with the borough. She referenced a number of agreements which allegedly established that the streetlights in the Sycamore Crossing development are the borough’s responsibility. She informed council that the Homeowners Association stopped payments to PECO until this issue is clarified. Borough solicitor Stacey Fuller will continue to research this issue.
Brian Dix, the Main Street Manager for Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI) informed council that Christianna Hannum, the executive director for OMI, is stepping down from her position due to personal reasons.  
Council president Peggy Russell thanked Hannum for her all of her hard work.
Dix also announced that OMI is a recipient of a $25,000 façade grant, and the funding will be made available to businesses in the Business Improvement District. The money may be used for a variety of projects, including new signage and changes to doors and windows.
“The past two First Friday events have been very successful,” Dix told council. “And, of course, on Sept. 3, we have the annual car show which is always a huge event.” Dix emphasized that he is aware of possible changes that could occur due to COVID, but they are ready to pivot if that is necessary. 
Dix also updated council about the Shoebox Theatre, and he said that construction has started again on the bathroom. Dix will keep everyone apprised of future plans.
Council member Dick Winchester attended the Zoning Hearing Board meeting regarding the Presbyterian Homes’ request for a variance. He stated that the council had previously approved having Fuller attend that meeting and that she represented the borough very well.
Winchester told council that it was his understanding that in a communication to the borough’s solicitor after the meeting that Presbyterian Homes might be pulling that project back.
The original application requested “relief necessary to expand an existing retirement community and life care facility located at 7 East Locust Street, Oxford, PA 19363. A special exception pursuant to Sections 27-404.D and 27-404.E of the Borough Zoning Ordinance is required to expand the existing retirement community use.  The applicant proposes the construction of an independent living apartment building instead of eleven cottages that were previously approved and not constructed.  The proposed apartment building will be 208 feet long and 53 feet high.  Variances are required from Sections 27-1312.B and 27-1313.3 (by reference to Section 27-406) of the Zoning Ordinance which limit building length to 160 feet and building height to 35 feet. The property subject of the application is located in the PD-1 Planned Development Zoning District.”
In a follow-up conversation with Malynda Hivner, vice president of Presbyterian Senior Living stated, “We asked for a continuation at the August Zoning Hearing Board meeting. We are looking at a change in the design. We are willing and working with the Borough of Oxford and neighbors to come up with something that will be beneficial for all.”
Andy Rau, attorney for Presbyterian Homes, in his correspondence, is requesting the Zoning Hearing Board record on the issue to remain open. The next Zoning Hearing Board meeting is scheduled in August where he is expected to ask for a 120-day extension so Presbyterian Homes may pursue a potentially fully compliant plan relating to the current application. 
Police chief Sam Iacono told council that one of the police department’s full-time officers is being deployed to Cuba for 11 months. He will not be receiving a check from the borough during that time.  
Public Works Director, John Schaible talked about the Hodgson Street Water Line project. It was started and they will be out of the block where Jordan Bank is located before school starts. 
Another drain issue has come up on N. 5th Street. Public Works will have to replace a 30-inch pipe in the area that has created a sinkhole.
Council briefly discussed potential new COVID-19 issues. They will keep the public informed about any new guidelines for public meetings and for mask wearing.
Work is expected to continue on some sidewalks along N. Third Street from Wheeler Boulevard to the Oxford Square Shopping Center. There will be a need to clarify some issues with PennDOT during this project.
Borough council appointed Raul Juarez and Jesus Garcia as members of the Oxford Comprehensive Plan Task Force. Both are local business owners.
 A motion to accept the resignation of part-time police officer Josh Lowery from the Oxford Police Department was approved by council, effective Aug. 8. A motion to accept the resignation of Parley Hess as a representative of Oxford Borough on the Oxford Area Sewer Authority Board was also approved.
A public hearing was held to adopt Ordinance 945-2021, amending Section 1-502, the Authorized Activities of Fire Company was held. The issue was tabled until further notice.