Clarks Summit mayor swears in new full-time police officer at council meeting

CLARKS SUMMIT — On June 3, Kevin Yeskowskas was sworn in by Mayor Patty Lawler as a full-time Clarks Summit police officer at the borough’s regular council meeting.

The mayor congratulated Yeskowskas and welcomed him to the police force.

“On behalf of the entire department, thank you so much for your interest in the security of our people,” Lawler told council because of council’s extended efforts and multiple recesses of the May council meeting to hire another full-time officer.

Police Chief Chris Yarns also thanked council and the mayor. “A lot of work went into this from the finance committee, the personnel committee, and the Civil Service Commission. It was a hurdle on our part.”

In other news, the first floor of the borough building will begin to transform in the near future.

Dori Waters, Board President of the Gathering Place and Abington Area Community Classroom committee member announced for the Gathering Place, “We have received a note that we did receive $100,000 LSA grant from Pennsylvania State which gives us the sufficient funds to now occupy the first floor of this building.”

Waters said with the Local Share Account (LSA) grant award under Act 71 (the Gaming Act) of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Gathering Place is now “up to $250,000 so we are ready to get going.

“We have such a great group of people working on this project,” Waters said, thanking all the board members. She said committee members will soon meet with an architect and that construction on the first floor of the borough building may begin in the fall.

“I think it’s going to be a great partnership (with council)…and will add to this community in ways that we can’t even imagine,” Waters said.

Lawler thanked Waters for recognizing council. “We have so much to be grateful for because an award of this precedence is so unusual.” Lawler called the grant application “extraordinary,” and said, “The partnership needs to be between us and you.”

The Gathering Place is a collaborative effort with Abington Area Community Classroom and others to provide a place for community learning, local artists, musicians, and more. Waters said part of the reason the Gathering Place received the LSA grant is because it is inclusive for all community members.

In other news, council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit minor subdivisions of properties within the borough.

According to Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe, a minor subdivision of property is currently the only thing the planning commission may approve without a vote from council. “A minor subdivision is defined as changing one lot into two, or two lots into one,” she said.

Council member Vincent Cruciani made the motion to draft the ordinance to prohibit minor subdivisions in an effort to prevent overcrowding in the borough, and to manage the borough’s storm water and MS4 requirements.

“Storm water is our biggest financial liability,” Cruciani said. “I see no advantage to having properties further subdivided. The borough is almost fully developed as it is.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Vice President Dominic Scott. Council agreed.

“We don’t need to turn half acre lots into two houses,” Cruciani said.

Borough council needs to advertise the drafted ordinance at least 10 days before a vote. Upon approval by the borough solicitor that drafted language in the ordinance is correct, council plans to advertise the ordinance in mid-June. Then, council anticipates a vote passing the ordinance at the July 1 council meeting after finalizing ordinance details at council’s work session June 30.

“The elected officials should make the decision because they are the ones answering to the taxpayers and are responsible for storm water policies,” Cruciani said.