During their April 7 meeting, the Northampton Borough Council unanimously approved a short-term rental unit ordinance. Under this ordinance, the borough will have the ability to regulate short-term units rented out via sites like Airbnb and Vrbo.
These popular sites have allowed individuals to rent out entire properties or single rooms on a short-term basis and earn passive income. The borough is seeking to address possible issues these rental units may cause while also ensuring that they are monitored for safety.
This new ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. This will allow the borough to finalize the appropriate paperwork and educate property owners.
In other news, community planner Victor Rodite appeared before council to outline several community development proposals. First, he recommended that the borough apply for a Community Development Block Grant to fund sewer plant updates. He also suggested that the borough look at grant opportunities in 2023 for park surveillance cameras. Rodite also announced that he is looking for grants to support the River Front Garden proposed at Canal Park and traffic improvements at 21st and Main Streets.
Rodite will continue to appear before council to outline his findings and aid them in the grant approval process. Another grant he is exploring would support the future D&L and Nor-Bath Trail connection.
Accessing the Nor-Bath trail, especially as the weather warms, is a priority for residents. In addition to the future connection with the D&L trail, council is exploring additional access points in the community. After unofficial access to the trail was blocked last year, Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst is meeting with the Northampton County Division of Parks and Recreation to see how a safe access point can be created at McKeever Lane.
During the meeting, council also hired a new public works mechanic. Aaron Bortz was interviewed by both the public works crew and the sewer committee, after which time he was recommended for the position. He will start following a drug and alcohol test, as well as a background check.
Finally, council reported on the status of 2022’s rental inspection applications. The final deadline for registering rental units was March 31. The borough had an 86 percent response rate. All property owners who did not submit their applications will receive a late notice and a $25 penalty.
The next Northampton Borough Council meeting will be on April 21, at 7:30 p.m.