Honesdale tables parking, police policies

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 8/12/20

HONESDALE, PA — At the August 3 borough council meeting, Honesdale officials once again discussed downtown parking—something president Mike Augello said has “always” been an …

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Honesdale tables parking, police policies

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HONESDALE, PA — At the August 3 borough council meeting, Honesdale officials once again discussed downtown parking—something president Mike Augello said has “always” been an issue. Most recently, Stephens Pharmacy—located at the corner of Eleventh Street and Main Street—requested that the borough change the time limit on its parking meters. Currently, the meters on the side streets have a two-hour maximum; the pharmacy has asked the borough to change the limit to 8 to 10 hours, primarily for the sake of employee parking.

“I’d like more time to investigate the impact or potential impact on surrounding businesses before we make any decision on this request,” said councilor Jason Newbon, parking committee chair.

After the council voted unanimously to table to request, councilor Jim Jennings suggested doing a full-fledged study into downtown parking.

“Given the complexities of the parking situations in town, I think it’s probably worth looking [into conducting] some sort of official study of at least the downtown or the core district to try and figure out how we can manage growing business concerns with employees... to try and find if there’s some sort of modern remedy to some of the issues that we’re facing that are kind of continuingly being brought up,” he said.

Augello said he agreed and that, for decades, he has been “one of the most vocal” advocates for modifying the parking system in the borough. Newbon said that he would form a long-term committee with parking vice chair Jim Brennan and newly-appointed councilor William McAllister to look into parking procedure and come up with possible solutions.

Later in the meeting, councilor Bob Jennings moved to adopt a new foot pursuit policy for the Honesdale Police Department. The policy—reviewed by the borough’s labor attorney and presented by Honesdale Police Chief Richard Southerton—lays out guidelines for when and how borough police officers should respond to subjects who have fled on foot. It explains when—and when not to—engage in a foot pursuit, how to conduct a chase properly and what to do once a subject has been apprehended.

Before voting to accept the policy, McAllister requested tabling the motion to give him the opportunity to discuss the policy with the borough’s labor attorney and police chief, who were not in attendance at the meeting. A motion to table passed unanimously, but Augello said that it was important to get the new policy adopted as quickly as possible.

Southerton later explained to the River Reporter that Honesdale’s insurance company asked the borough to create a foot pursuit policy and that it was developed by the labor attorneys. Southerton said he was “dumbfounded” that the policy was not approved at the council meeting.

Honesdale council will meet again on Monday, August 17, at which point Southerton expects the policy will get adopted.

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