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Slatington examines ordinances for housing, grease trap checks

Slatington Borough is looking to make changes in its ordinances to create a grease trap inspection program and end redundant housing inspections. The two ordinances are set to be advertised for public review in this month and are available to read at the borough building.

The first is a change to Ordinance 697, section 180-13D, which pertains to the creation of a grease trap inspection program.

“We’ve had trouble with grease in the sewer line, so we are trying to be proactive,” said Daniel Stevens, the president of the borough council.

The change will be voted on at the council’s special meeting on Dec. 23. If passed, it would go into effect immediately.

Stevens said the ordinance will affect only businesses like restaurants who use grease traps. He said grease traps can be maintained by the owner, but larger restaurants often hire someone to clean them out.

The second is a change to Ordinance 698 that amends Chapter 141, Article II pertaining to rental, rooming and commercial units and all dwellings in the borough.

“It removes the requirement to have it inspected (by the borough) when it’s sold,” Stevens said.

The intent of the ordinance was to have rental properties inspected after a tenant moved out and before a new tenant moved in, not when real estate was being sold.

“The purpose of the ordinance was to make sure the rental properties were up to par before they were rented, to improve the quality of life,” he said.

The result was that every residential property was being inspected by the borough before it could be sold. The inspection was redundant, because properties routinely have to be inspected for insurance purposes. And most of these properties were not rentals. The borough’s requirement was making the process more complicated and created a larger burden on the inspector.

“We have limited resources,” Stevens said. This was not a good use of the inspector’s time.

Another change to Ordinance 698 was suggested to the council by borough solicitor Edmund Healey, who suggested that the sections pertaining to a Maintenance Board of Appeals be removed. He said this practice just prolongs the issue over years, which adds costs to the borough.

“It just drags it out,” he said.

Healey suggested that any issues go directly to the magistrate.

If passed, the borough will continue to inspect rental properties as the ordinance intended, Stevens said. Anyone moving in or out of the borough is required to get a $10 moving permit, which helps the borough keep tax records up-to-date and will help with enforcement of the ordinance.