At the July 14 meeting of the Lehigh Township Supervisors, residents attended in person and via teleconference to voice concerns about an Airbnb rental in the township. The property, on Longacre Drive in Cherryville, was purchased in January of 2019 by an investor from out of town. The residents said that the sole purpose of the property is to act as a rental for upwards of $699 a night after it was completely renovated from a family home with three bedrooms to a 12-bedroom unit. The complaints ranged from loud noise to large parties and the physical assault of a neighbor.
“I didn’t move here to live next to a Howard Johnson’s,” one of the residents said during public comment.
One of the major concerns was renters from out of state staying in the home during the Covid-19 crisis, in direct violation of the Governor’s orders. Residents in the neighborhood said they are worried about their property values going down because of the possible illegal activities taking place on the property.
Board of Supervisors Chairperson, Cindy Miller, said that they would look at existing ordinances and “decide what they want to restrict in their community.” Supervisor Phil Gogel implored the residents to be patient and said that changes won’t happen immediately, but they will address violations as they arise.
In other business, a representative from Lehigh Engineering, who is contracted by the township, said that he had a phone conference with the PA Department of Environmental Protection regarding the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit program (MS4). The MS4 program is an unfunded state mandate that was handed to municipalities and designed to protect waterways from polluted storm water runoff. Lehigh Township, while unable to completely dodge the mandate, is appealing to “lower the numbers” and decrease the possible burden on taxpayers.
“We are one of the few who have pushed back. Maybe the only ones,” Miller said.
The next Lehigh Township Supervisors meeting will be on July 28. Since Northampton County is currently in the green phase of Covid-19 mitigation, residents are welcome to attend in person at the municipal building. If you are uncomfortable or unable to attend in person, there is a call-in option available. You can get more information at the Lehigh Township website at www.lehightownship.com.