During the Northampton Borough Council meeting on September 1, several Newport Avenue households appeared before council to voice concerns for their safety after repeatedly being harassed and threatened by residents of a neighboring rental property on the 1300 block.
“Every night is a party,” said one resident. He spoke of music all night and other loud, intentional noises waking the neighborhood dogs. He also said the residents sit outside, threatening and name-calling the neighbors.
The threats, he said, have gotten so persistent that he has received a license to carry a concealed weapon.
“I am done being threatened,” he said.
Jason Nelson, another resident of Newport Avenue, also spoke up.
“I regret buying a house in Northampton,” he said. “I look like a bad dad because I bought a crap house in a crap town.”
The threats and nuisances, he added, are even giving his children anxiety.
Nelson’s words impacted Councilman Ronald Glassic. “It is embarrassing to hear people say [they regret] moving to our town,” he said. “My apologies to you,” he added, addressing the residents in attendance.
Code Enforcement Office Keith Knoblach and Chief of Police Bryan Kadingo were in attendance during the meeting. Councilwoman Judy Kutzler told the residents that their first course of action should be meeting with both men.
Solicitor Brian Panella will join the conversation and help review the borough’s nuisance ordinance to see whether there are grounds for evicting the tenants from the property.
In other news, resident Cheryl Ossa stood before council to clarify a discussion held at the previous meeting regarding the Nor-Bath Trail access on McKeever Lane. Her property is the one the borough was previously going to construct an access through.
Ossa was told that the borough would install stairs to the trail, which she supported. However, stairs are not possible because of ADA regulations. Instead, trees were cleared and stones were poured. Rainstorms caused erosion, which hampered safety. She said people were falling down the hill and something had to be done to prevent dangerous accidents.
“I don’t have a problem [with granting access],” she said, “I just want it to be safe.”
During the meeting, council also approved a resolution to convert the borough’s street lighting to LED fixtures. This change, which will be carried out by PPL, will not cost the borough. Instead, it will save the borough money on electricity. There was no announcement on when PPL will begin this conversion.
Finally, in a 5-2 vote, council hired Brian Welsko as assistant to the borough manager. Councilmen Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. and Kenneth Hall abstained from the vote.
The decision comes after a six-week interview process for multiple candidates.
“All candidates did excellent,” said Councilman Trevor Stone. “This was the toughest voting decision I have had to make since I have been here.”
Councilwoman Judy Haldeman agreed.
“Everybody was really very impressive,” she said.
The next Northampton Borough Council meeting will be held Thursday, September 15 at 7 p.m.