Despite protests, Summit Hill updates its maintenance code
Summit Hill Borough Council last night unanimously adopted the "2012 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code," but not before some audience members expressed vehement opposition to it.
An overflow crowd of 34 people attended the meeting, with some there to specifically voice their displeasure.
Sandy Dellicker, a borough resident, said she was against using an "international" maintenance code, arguing that it falls under the plan of Agenda 21 of the United Nations; an agenda for the 21st Century.
She said, "UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is the action plan to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all information, all energy, and all human beings in the world."
"This is not a conspiracy theory," she told the council. "This is for real."
She said the International Property Maintenance Code had been adopted in Montgomery County, but the county "has already gotten rid of it" because of its dictatorial direction.
"This is not what Summit Hill and the United States is about," she said.
Council members pooh-poohed her assessment. "In my opinion, the International Property Maintenance Code is to protect citizens," said Council President Michael Kokinda.
Dellicker responded that she feels Summit Hill should have a property maintenance code; but that it shouldn't be tied to International Codes.
Attorney Michael Greek, solicitor for the council, said he researched the matter and the International Property Maintenance Code is not affiliated in any way with Agenda 21. He said the code that Summit Hill is adopting gets its name from the firm which prints a book of maintenance codes, and explained that the borough has tailored the regulations to fit its individual needs.
The solicitor said the code governs such things as garbage, weeds, and things falling off a property. "It doesn't tie into United Nations Agenda 21," he said.
"It's a nuisance ordinance," said the solicitor. "It's not a zoning ordinance."
Jesse Walck, a member of the council, agreed with the lawyer, telling the audience, "We have situations that are problems. We're here to look out for the taxpayers."
Chief of Police Joe Fittos suggested that the name be changed from International Property Maintenance Code to Summit Hill Property Maintenance Code, but it was pointed out that it might be harder to reference and enforce the regulations by changing the name.
One individual felt that there should not be any property maintenance codes imposed. He said if a person has a problem with a neighbor's property, he should approach the neighbor. If that doesn't work, it should become a civil matter, not a concern of borough council.
He added that if he has a dog with stomach problems, and the dog likes to eat tall grass, he should be permitted to grow his grass two feet high.
Kokinda asked, "What about rodents?"
Councilman Billy O'Gurek brought the matter to a head by suggesting to his peers, "Let's vote on it."
"What happens if this backfires?" asked Patricia Rabayda.
"We repeal it," responded Kokinda.
O'Gurek interjected, "There is a lot of fear mongering going on right now."
The vote was then taken and passed without additional comment.