Northampton Press

Saturday, March 24, 2018

East Allen asked to approve building code updates

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Shannon Calluori, of Codemasters, East Allen Township’s third-party officials for building inspections, asked supervisors for changes to the township’s building codes during the board’s Jan. 2 meeting. She requested that the board look at the overview she provided.

Most of the changes, according to Calluori, were corrections to administrative errors or clarifications. There were some explicit changes that can affect businesses and residents working in the township, including a new provision on how street numbers are displayed. The goal is to get uniformity in the township on the location of street numbers. According to Calluori, this helps safety and emergency services teams in locating a given property.

Administrative changes are also recommended on how certificates of occupancy are issued. The intent is to reduce redundancy.

Calluori asked the township to adopt the latest International Building Code (IBC), which is updated every three years. During the updates, clarifications are made to administrative errors, and some of the codes are changed. When East Allen Township adopted the building code, the standard was the 2009 building code. The 2015 version is the latest standard.

Calluori asked that the township automatically adopt the latest version of the code. These updated versions are expensive for builders and contractors. Revising the code every three years is a controversial practice. The township did agree to move forward with Calluori’s recommendations subject to further review by supervisors.

Township Manager Deborah Seiple introduced two new staff employees. Kelly Cascario and Melissa Baker were hired in December and have been through an in-house training program.

Seiple asked the board to accept an application from Weinhofer Farms to be part of the township’s Agricultural Security Area (ASA). Chairman Roger Unangst explained that the designation in an ASA shields a farmer from nuisance lawsuits.

“This prevents a farmer from being sued because his tractor is too loud,” he said.

Unangst explained that it is different from preservation, but being a part of an ASA is a precursor for filing to preserve the land for dedicated agriculture use.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a variety of loans and programs available for farmers and residents in rural areas. There are changes to the rules and qualifications available under USDA programs. Municipalities like East Allen Township that are predominantly rural have advantages for municipal grant programs.