Salisbury Press

Friday, November 16, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINSean LaSalle, president, board of directors, Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, raises concerns about the proposed rental ordinance. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINSean LaSalle, president, board of directors, Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, raises concerns about the proposed rental ordinance.

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOC

Thursday, November 1, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Rental ordinance amendments tabled

Following objections by an official of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, an ordinance to amend the moving permit ordinance and to adopt rental property inspection regulations was tabled by the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners.

Sean LaSalle, president of the board of directors of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, objected to a passage in the ordinance pertaining to the designation of a property manager.

By consensus, commissioners agreed to table the amendments to the ordinance before a motion was made and seconded to bring it forth for an up or down vote.

Commissioners authorized Salisbury Township solicitor Atty. John W. Ashley to look into the Realtor’s concern.

“We love the idea about the rental inspections,” LaSalle said, speaking on behalf of the Realtors’ association, at the Oct. 25 commissioners’ meeting.

“It provides a safe living environment and keeps landlords on their toes,” LaSalle continued.

“Our concern is about having a requirement to live with a 20-mile radius,” LaSalle said, referring to the ordinance’s requirement for a property owner.

In Part 2, “Rental Property Inspections,” the amendment to the ordinance states, among other matters, under the category of “Designation of Property Manager:”

“Every rental property owner who is not a full-time resident of the township, and/or who does not live within 20 miles of the boundaries of the township, shall designate a property manager who shall reside within the township borders or in an area that is no more than 20 miles from the township boundary line.”

Continued LaSalle at the township meeting, “If I happen to move from Salisbury, say, to New Jersey, I shouldn’t have to hire a property manager.”

LaSalle reasoned that just because a landlord lives in the township, “I don’t think it makes him a good landlord.”

However, Sandy Nicolo, Salisbury Township MS4 coordinator, building code enforcement officer, assistant zoning officer and building inspector, disagreed.

“My concern is with properties that landlords who live far away own,” Nicolo said.

“They are more responsible when they live in the community,” Nicolo said.

“It can be someone you designate in your absence,” Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said to LaSalle.

LaSalle, objecting to the term “property manager,” explained, “A property manager is a professional who’s licensed to do that.”

Township board of commissioners Vice President Debra Brinton and Commissioner James Seagreaves asked LaSalle what he would recommend.

LaSalle reiterated his concern was with the specific term, property manager.

Township Commissioner Joanne Ackerman suggested that instead of the term property manager, the amendment could instead state: “a person who manages the property.”

Township board of commissioners President Robert Martucci Jr., said to his fellow board members, “Do you think we should table this?”

Commissioners agreed.

Turning to LaSalle, Martucci said, “I think your suggestion is excellent.”

It was not announced at the meeting as to when the amendments to the ordinance would again be placed on the township meeting agenda for a vote.

The first reading of the amendments to the ordinance was at the Oct. 11 township meeting.

A draft of the two-page moving permits amendment and the seven-page rental property inspections amendment was distributed and discussed during the Sept. 27 commissioners’ meeting workshop.

The proposed changes were presented at the July 26 township meeting workshop by Salisbury Township Lead Fire Inspector Dustin Grow; Salisbury Township Police Department Sgt. Donald Sabo Jr., who heads investigations, Salisbury Township Chief of Police Allen W. Stiles and Nicolo.

The goal of the amendments, according to township officials, is for landlords to keep their properties up to code.

A change in a tenant would trigger a property inspection. The tenant would be responsible for obtaining a moving permit.

The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors is a not-for-profit trade association representing more than 2,000 Realtors in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties.