Polk considers nuisance, rental ordinances
The Polk Township supervisors are considering two new ordinances. The first ordinance is a nuisance ordinance and the second is a short-term rental ordinance.
Both ordinances have been placed on the township’s website, but have not been officially advertised. For that reason, the supervisors were not able to vote on them.
They decided to advertise the nuisance ordinance first and will vote on it during the December meeting. The short-term rental ordinance will be addressed in the new year.
The nuisance ordinance is designed to regulate the accumulation and storage of junk and/or rubbish, including unregistered vehicles and equipment. It also prohibits the existence of dangerous buildings and structures, to prevent public health hazards and to protect the safety and welfare of the residents. As a result, the ordinance prevents blight and the deterioration of property, which protects property values.
According to the ordinance, enforcement would done by an enforcement officer or other agent authorized by the board to inspect premises.
If a violation is suspected, the officer would make a request to inspect. If denied, then the officer can seek a court order to inspect. If violations are found, then the property owner will be given a written notice to amend the situation.
The ordinance also discusses the process of hearings, appeals and fines.
As far as the short-term rentals ordinance, it covers everything from permits, fees and standards to marketing, nuisances, violations and penalties.
Brian Ahner, chairman of the supervisors, said the Monroe County Planning Commission supplied the template for the ordinance.
“Short-term rentals are here to stay,” he said, which is why he thinks the ordinance is needed.
Owners of the rental houses will be required to collect sales tax and pay the hotel taxes, Ahner said.
Speaking of taxes, township solicitor James Fareri said, “Every single property in the county was reassessed.”
Property owners have 30 days after receiving the reassessment to file an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas. Solicitors for municipalities receive the notice of the filing.
Fareri said his office has begun to receive the appeal notices, and five of them are for properties with an assessed value of more than $200,000. One property was assessed at $2 million, he said.
Fareri advised the supervisors to give him permission to enter his name with the court in order to receive updates on these properties.
“With these bigger ones, I think we should know what’s going on,” he said, just in case the appeal results in a lower tax assessment.
A resident asked if the council knows if millage would go up because of the new assessments.
Fareri said, “My understanding is no one is going to raise taxes with the reassessments,” but he added that the decision isn’t his to make. Once the assessors are done and the school districts have received the assessment rolls, then the municipalities can set the millage, he said.