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Board reviews harassment policy updates

Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners gathered virtually Aug. 2 for the monthly workshop meeting. The commissioners discussed the idea of returning to in-person meetings, but with the township headquarters under construction and COVID-19 cases rising, the return does not seem to be in the near future.

Bill 24 was the first ordinance up for discussion and was returning to the board on its second hearing. The bill aims to amend the personnel policies and procedures of the township’s harassment policy.

Employees of the township have been taking an hourlong online training course relating to such, and the board of commissioners will also be required to complete this course.

Bill 25 will amend Chapter 29 of the township codified ordinances, which refers to planning, zoning and development, specifically the subsection concerning use permits. There were no additional comments on this bill.

The board discussed authorizing the purchase of a 2022 Ford F250 pickup truck for the public works department through Bill 26. The board will have to vote on this purchase because the cost will exceed $25,000.

An ordinance deferring a sidewalk installation was up for discussion with Bill 27. The sidewalk would be placed along the frontage of 4205 Lehigh St. Resolution 3166 will conditionally approve the minor subdivision plan on this property.

There was no representative to speak on behalf of this property, and some of the commissioners were missing their briefing materials for the resolution, so there were no further comments from the board or public.

The board reviewed Resolution 3167, which will request a grant from Pennsylvania’s Keystone Communities Program. This grant will go on to further fund the Whitehall Parkway pavilion project. While the pavilion has been purchased, additional equipment and manpower will require additional fees. The grant is said to be around $100,000.

The last item on the agenda was a discussion of a bill in the ordinance section last month. Bill 21 aims to amend three articles in the township’s zoning policy that will focus on outdoor commercial cooking.

This bill was moved from ordinance to discussion after the planning commission had a few comments about needing some additional definitions, specifically in terms of defining what outdoor commercial cooking is.

Board Solicitor Jack Gross explained the term “commercial” defines exactly what this bill is intending to limit. If passed, Bill 21 will prevent commercial operations of outdoor cooking in a residential district. This will not impact the average cookout or Sunday barbecue but will reduce someone’s ability to cook outdoor in a residential neighborhood for commercial purposes.

The board decided to leave the bill as is and to send it back to the planning commission for a vote. It was noted they will not be voting on this until September.

The board of commissioners will next meet Aug. 9 via Webex for the monthly regular meeting. For viewing, visit whitehalltownship.org and find the link on the board of commissioner’s page.