Council meeting notes | June 4, 2019 Work Session

Video recording | Tonight’s Borough Council Work Session is recorded and viewable on demand at the Borough’s facebook page. We maintain the preferable way to attend a meeting is to ATTEND THE MEETING IN PERSON. Yet circumstances happen and it’s not always possible or convenient for that, so the livestreaming is an improvement. It can be even better though, with enhanced audio. The voice of the borough manager, Rebecca Denlinger, was loud and clear. Sadly, that’s not the case for others. Ironically, the camera positioning is also not optimal. Viewers do not get to see all the borough staffers and elected public servants around the horseshoe shaped table. [NOTE: Columbia news, views & reviews was unable to be at last night’s meeting, but we encourage readers to view the video recording to hear and see more about these items. And more. 

14 lancaster aveThis was an item on last night’s Borough Council agenda.

food inspections

Jeff Helm, the borough staffer who has been facilitating the food serving establishment inspections in Columbia, said in 2020, the inspections for the Retail Food Facilities & Restaurants will be conducted by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture employees. Tune in the video recording at the 1:15 mark.

He said Columbia establishments have been apprised about this transition for along time. He also said that Borough staffers call establishments to set-up inspections. That will be changing as the PA Department of Agriculture conducts “no notice” inspections once a year.

 “Exceptions to Retail Food Licensing (PDA Exemption Order 05/07/2016)

“A facility is exempt from having to obtain a Retail Food Facility License if:

  1. The facility is located within PDA jurisdiction as the licensor. The exemption does not necessarily apply to facilities operating in Local Health jurisdictions.
  2. The retail food facility is one of the following:
    1. Operates on no more than three (3) days per calendar year.
    2. Food bank owned by a charitable nonprofit entity and operated for charitable or religious purposes.
    3. Soup kitchen owned by a charitable nonprofit entity and operated for charitable or religious purposes.
    4. Charitable nonprofit entity established to promote and encourage participation or support for extra- curricular recreational activities for youth.
    5. Offers only prepackaged, shelf stable (non-TCS) foods or beverages (ex: canned soda, packaged chips, candy).
    6. Food or beverages sold only through a vending machine.
    7. Sells only raw agricultural commodities (unprocessed, not ready-to-eat).

“A retail food facility that is exempt from the license requirements under the Act is exempt from the licensure requirement only, and remains subject to inspection and all other provisions of the Act.” – PA Department of Agriculture

So it appears that in 2020 anyone who goes to the PA Department of Agriculture database will be able to see inspection results for establishments selling food in Columbia. This is a winning scenario for everyone.

Information sheet | Resident Frank Doutrich presented this information sheet (below) from a former Borough Manager, Norm Meiskey, to each of the persons seated around the U-shaped table arrangement.nm letter

driveinThe site of the old Columbia Drive-in on Route 462 most likely will be part of the growth that is happening in West Hempfield Township. “The Conditional Use hearing for the former Columbia Drive-in has been postponed from June 4 until July 2.” – West Hempfield Township Website

Speaking of West Hempfield Township | Check out the township’s Website. The splash page is clean, functional, informational and attractive for its stakeholders. It’s got a twitter feed and announcements about what’s going on in the township.

Expanded Historic District – considered and discussed. Is your home in it? You’ll want to listen to the conversations that began somewhere around the 2:15 mark.historic

Well? | “What’s Your Poop Telling You?”DailyInfographic




  1. The restaurant inspection discussion was just painful. I applaud Mr Novak for expressing frustration with the lack of progress. There is no reason it should have taken this long. And the lack of answers from Mr. Helm was amazing. How can you be performing inspections but not know when they are and aren’t required by the state!?! I still don’t understand how the power packs program would need a license but not need a state inspection to get the license. We are not the only area with power packs. What are those other places doing?

  2. I cannot understand how a council person can receive a board packet and not research the topic of an upcoming discussion. During the discussion, she had to ask where 14 Lancaster Avenue is located. And we want her voting on major issues?

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