State College

State College Borough Council discusses code amendments

At its meeting Monday, Borough Council discussed several chapters in the property maintenance code revision.

Council was presented with nuisance property and property maintenance code amendments at its May 2 meeting, but student organizations asked council to postpone its review of the proposed amendments until students returned in the fall.

Council agreed to postpone the sections dealing with rental housing and nuisance property enforcement.

Tom King, assistant borough manager/public safety, told council on Monday that staff suggested adopting section 106.3.7 — which deals with interior furniture being used outside — as a borough ordinance and removing the section from code.

Councilwoman Cathy Dauler said she agreed with the staff recommendation.

The borough should handle this — not code, she said.

Morgon Goranson, student representative to council, also said he supported making this a borough ordinance.

Council President Tom Daubert questioned if this was what people were so troubled by in the spring and why no one was at the meeting to speak about it.

Dauler said she thought it was interesting that the public was not there because this meeting was their opportunity to hear council’s thoughts.

Staff held a forum on Sept. 15 to answer questions from community members about the current draft of the property maintenance code.

Section 302.8 also deals with interior furniture, and borough Manager Tom Fountaine said that staff recommends that the whole section on interior furniture come out of code and be a stand-alone borough ordinance.

Another section of particular discussion was 313, which deals with emergency accommodations when a rental housing unit is declared “unfit for human habitation.”

Staff recommended that the whole section be removed from code because it is a civil matter between tenant and property owner, which the borough — as government — should not get involved in.

Councilman Evan Myers said he would be worried about a tenant who might be in a “precarious” situation with an unsafe place to live.

King said staff discussed that the community has resources to help people who have been displaced.

Council will continue discussion of the property maintenance code revision at its Nov. 7 meeting.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619; @SarahRafacz