Some residents living near Northampton’s Tri-Boro Sportsmen Club expressed concerns about safety during Northampton’s September 5 council meeting. Recently, bullets have been found in the siding of nearby homes and rapid firing can be heard. Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli has sent detectives to investigate.
Residents asked why the borough has not established any ordinances or regulations regarding the organization. They cited nearby gun ranges, which require sign-in logs, gun records, cameras, and gate access.
Borough solicitor Steven Goudsouzian said the borough cannot act until an investigation is complete.
“The borough would not sit here and set up an ordinance when we do not know what has happened,” he said. “Until we go through the [investigation] process, the borough cannot do anything.”
While the investigation is ongoing, representatives from the club told Council President Anthony Lopsonzski, Jr. that they are currently making safety improvements. Berms will be built within the next couple of weeks, while a gate is being installed this winter.
However, residents worry that these changes may not be enough, unless the borough steps in.
“This is a business operating in your municipality…amongst your ordinances,” one resident said. “You guys write the rules.”
In other news, there have been some concerns over the borough’s rental ordinance inspection fees.
Tim Tepes, an area landlord, paid over $480 ($40 per unit) in inspection fees because each unit in his singular building has a different address. Normally, buildings with 9-15 units would require a flat $150 fee. Had he addressed his units with A,B,C,D, etc. he would have been charged a lower rate.
Goudsouzian explained that the fee is charged by address, not by tax parcel ID.
While Tepes said he was in full support of the rental ordinance, he said he does not find it fair that simply changing the way his units are addressed would enable him to a “discount.”
Finally, the borough’s VFW post #4714 may have found a new home. Robert Carvajal, executive director of Opportunity Behavior Health, is offering his Canal Street space to the organization, which lost its Main Street property earlier this year. However, a zoning hearing must be held to accommodate a change of use.
Carvajal asked that the $500 fee be waived for the hearing because he operates a nonprofit.
Council did not discuss the issue openly, but went into executive session. Following their session, they still did not make a decision on this request and tabled it indefinitely.