Borough Council on Monday narrowly adopted a VisitAbility Ordinance.
The ordinance includes four requirements that new single-family and duplex construction that will be used as rental housing must meet.
These requirements include at least one zero-step entrance; doors with 32 inches of clear passage space; at least one bathroom with a toilet on the main floor that is wheelchair accessible; and at least 40 inches between appliances that allows wheelchairs to access the kitchen area.
It was enacted 4-3, with council members Evan Myers, Janet Engeman and Jesse Barlow voting against — citing a desire for more time to consider the ordinance (a motion to postpone the vote failed 4-3).
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In theory, it’s a good idea, said Pat Vernon, of College Township. But it should be left up to individual owners to decide.
Myers said he’s concerned about how the ordinance may affect a lot of different properties.
It’s an “extremely” important to make as much of the community accessible as possible, he said.
The council needs to move forward at a good pace and it needs to be done correctly, but Myers said he doesn’t think council was in position to do that just yet.
“I think it is a small, real improvement in the housing options in our community,” said Councilwoman Theresa Lafer.
A second ordinance that was on the evening’s agenda for consideration — offering a tax credit for properties that meet the VisitAbility requirements for single-family and duplex housing — was tabled until the Sept. 18 meeting.