Northampton Press

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Board OKs advertising ordinance

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 by Al Recker Special to The Press in Local News

Council will vote on modified rental legislation at Aug. or Sept. meeting

Northampton Borough Council revisited the apartment rental ordinance at the July 5 meeting and voted to advertise the proposed ordinance and then hold a public hearing. Councilman Ed Pany cast the sole no vote.

The ordinance was adopted by council May 17 by a narrow margin, then vetoed by Mayor Thomas Reenock June 7.

A few major changes were made to the document to allow for another vote on the bill at the council meeting in August or September.

Councilman Robert McHale said the major revisions are to exempt homes in which the resident continues to reside although the property was deeded to another party.

The other major revision, McHale explained, would not require an initial rental inspection for structures undergoing major conversions to apartments from its previous nonapartment status. Council was told the former Tama Manufacturing building and the vacant Central School, both on Main Street, and the former Catholic War Veterans building on Washington Avenue fall into this category.

McHale and council members Judy Kutzler and Anthony Lopsonzski Sr., who comprise the committee, contend building inspections for the borough to allow a certificate of occupancy are very strict.

There were also minor tweaks, such as sentence structure and a word here or there, according to the committee.

“I don’t think it is much different from the original,” McHale explained.

Reenock made no comment on McHale’s presentation.

The mayor, in his veto message, stated, “This started out as a rental property ordinance for abandoned and unoccupied blemished properties. Now it’s added housing occupancy within the Northampton Borough minimum standards for rental properties, violations and penalties for noncompliance.”

He said the borough already has sufficient means to regulate apartments.

At the May 17 council meeting, members Anthony Pristash, Pany and Keith Piescienski voted against passage of the apartment rental ordinance. Voting for adoption were members Kenneth Hall, McHale, Lopsonzski Sr. and Kutzler. To overturn the mayor’s veto, it would require the majority of council, plus one.