August 5, 2008

Board Alters Night Parking in Borough Also Discusses New Inspection Ordinance

By James Loewenstein, The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.

Aug. 5--TOWANDA -- The Towanda Borough Council on Monday passed a parking ordinance that provides a large increase in the amount of overnight parking in the borough's downtown.

In addition, the borough's code enforcement officer gave an update on the implementation of the borough's new inspection ordinance, which was passed on May 27 and requires regular inspections of buildings in which there are one or more rented apartments.

Parking ordinance

Currently, there is no overnight parking on Main Street, as vehicles cannot park there from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on any day of the week.

Under the parking ordinance that was passed on Monday, overnight parking on Main Street will be allowed on five days each week, said Tom Fairchild Jr., Towanda Borough manager.

Parking on Main Street will be prohibited only from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays, which will allow the borough's street sweeper to clean the street, Fairchild said.

In addition, parking will not be permitted overnight on Main Street when the accumulation of snow on the street exceeds 4 inches.

That will allow the borough to remove the snow, which will occur during the early morning hours, said Leonard Frawley, borough solicitor.

Due to the passage of the parking ordinance, the new regulations for overnight parking on Main Street will also go into effect on the other streets in the downtown area, Frawley said.

The ordinance "provides overnight parking for many of the downtown apartment dwellers, and (will) allow us to keep the street clean and remove snow," Fairchild said.

The parking ordinance goes into effect immediately, said Jean Miller, Borough Council president.

Inspection ordinance

The borough has done 19 inspections since the inspection ordinance was passed, said Jim Haight, borough code enforcement officer.

There were seven inspections done because the dwelling did not pass the first inspection, and no third inspections done, Haight said.

"Everyone is complying (with the inspections)," Haight said. "A couple of landlords had to do a couple of minor repairs. It (the ordinance) seems to be working pretty well."

Landlords had 60 days after the ordinance was passed to register with the borough and apply for a temporary operating permit for their properties, borough officials said. That deadline has now passed.

"About 30 landlords did not register," Haight said. Landlords who failed to register were sent a warning notice, he said. If they still don't register, they will be sent a certified letter and given five days to a week to comply, Haight said. If they fail to meet the deadline in the certified letter, they will be cited, Haight said.

Borough Council Vice President Mark Christini said he had gotten a couple of compliments from landlords -- including one who had to undergo a re-inspection -- who said the borough's inspectors were doing a very good job.

Borough council members said that if landlords are having problems complying with the ordinance, they want to hear about it.

"We are bending over backwards" in helping landlords comply with the ordinance, said William Kovalcin Jr., borough councilman.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: [email protected]


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