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Catty council tables noise request

In a 4-3 vote during the March 1 meeting, Catasauqua Borough Council tabled a request from Fossil’s Last Stand, a bar and grill on Race Street, for the borough police to monitor noise complaints from nearby residents.

Currently, neighbors call the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to lodge complaints about noise or loud music emanating from the tavern. Fossil’s operator, Jackie Harford, is seeking to take noise enforcement control from PLCB and transfer it to Catasauqua Police Department.

It was reported a person who hears music or noise from a PLCB-licensed establishment can call in a complaint to the PLCB, which can then investigate and possibly cite the business.

Other municipalities with establishments of this nature have transferred the responsibility to the local enforcement agency. Coplay Saengerbund reportedly uses this process to manage noise complaints from local residents.

Numerous residents and tavern personnel spoke in favor of the change. Sabrina Sabatino, a longtime server at Fossil’s, said the establishment works to monitor and manage noise emanating from the tavern when it hosts live music.

Councilmen Brian Bartholomew and Gene Schlegel made the motion and second, respectively, to table the resolution. The vote to table passed 4-3.

The concern by Bartholomew and Schlegel was prompted by the fact that the issue was reviewed by the public safety committee at its February meeting. The committee voted not to bring the matter to council for a full vote. Thereby, the committee de facto recommended against the resolution.

Council President Vincent Smith chose to supersede the public safety committee non-recommendation and brought it before council to debate and decide the matter.

“We owe [Fossil’s] a vote and not table in committee,” Smith said, noting this is a long-standing issue that needs a resolution.

Smith strongly supported the change from state to local enforcement.

The resolution of change would require the police to have a noise meter in the patrol cars to provide data if the tavern noise reaches an unacceptable level.

“I am not warm and fuzzy about taking this on,” police Chief Douglas Kish said.

He noted the tavern was cited for loud music complaints this past New Year’s Eve when an alleged essentially maskless group was celebrating the new year.

Harford said she was unaware of a citation.

Councilman Brian McKittrick, public safety chair, noted there will be a virtual public safety committee meeting 7 p.m. March 15. He offered Harford, her attorney and any others who are interested to consider attending to resolve the matter.

Councilwoman Deb Mellish said the borough has a responsibility to both ensure residents have a safe, peaceful neighborhood and also support local businesses.

Smith agreed this responsibility is at the core of the long-standing, unresolved issue.

In other matters, council approved the Taggart and Associates agreement. Taggart has the responsibility to assist in grant procurement for the Iron Works project. The annual fees are capped at $25,000.

It was announced the borough office will reopen March 15.

Council approved the payment of $550 to the Cedarbrook Sportsmen’s Association to stock the Catasauqua Creek with trout for the upcoming fishing season.

Mayor Barbara Schlegel congratulated Derek Troxell, a Catasauqua junior council member, for passing the 1,000-point mark in his high school basketball career.

Troxell, in his report to council, said plans for a Catasauqua High School June 5 graduation are in the works.

The next Catasauqua Borough Council meeting, a workshop, is set for 7 p.m. March 29. Visit catasauqua.org for the call-in and access code numbers.