Northampton Press

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Borough adopts rental ordinance

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Mayor says he won’t sign legislation

Northampton Borough Council adopted the contested rental property ordinance at its Sept. 6 meeting, with six members favoring the legislation and two councilmen dissenting.

The ordinance, which covers more than 1,300 rental apartments, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019. Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said letters will be sent to landlords notifying them to register their apartments and units with the borough.

Unlike some previous council sessions, last Thursday’s meeting was more tranquil.

The rental property passed by a scant one vote in June and was vetoed by Mayor Thomas Reenock.

After much discussion before the September meeting, the legislation was adopted with “yes” votes from council President Anthony Lopsonzski Jr., Vice President Keith Piescienski and council members Robert McHale, Judy Kutzler, Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. and Kenneth Hall.

Piescienski changed his vote to the affirmative from the June meeting when he cast a “no” vote. Council President Anthony Lopsonzski Jr. was not present at the June meeting.

Council members Ed Pany and Anthony Pristash again voted against the rental property legislation. They have said they believe there is adequate enforcement and regulatory provisions in the borough already.

There was no discussion by council or the mayor when the matter came up on the agenda.

Following the meeting, Reenock said he would not sign the ordinance and will offer his reasons in writing.

There have been some revisions made to the rental property paperwork since it was first drafted, now exempting new housing developments and initial inspections of the Tama and Central School buildings, which are undergoing extensive upgrades to convert them into apartments.

The borough’s code enforcement officer will make the inspections of the property. There will be a sliding-scale fee based on the number of rental units.

Kathy Novogratz, a resident who favors inspections, brought in pictures of structures in hazardous and unkempt conditions.

Kutzler thanked the citizens backing the legislation and the committee she served on regarding the matter, which included McHale and Lopsonzski Sr.