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Short-term Airbnb-type rentals of houses, rooms in houses or sofas in a residence were unanimously agreed to be banned by Cornwall Borough Council following an interpretation of the laws of the State proposed by the district attorney that the council is legally authorized not to allow this. type of short-term rental.
Borough zoning ordinances allow accommodation in motels, hotels, and guesthouses in designated zoning districts, but require guesthouses to have a full-time resident who oversees the property and does not allow rentals in guesthouses to exceed 14 days.
In the past year, council has dealt with at least two situations in which landlords welcome guests to rent in private homes located in zoned residential districts. In each case, the owner was told to cease the practice until a permit was requested.
Previously:Cornwall Borough Council discusses short-term rental housing and use of fire company building
Previously:Cornwall Borough Accepts $ 205,000 Loan to Replace Fire Company Truck
According to the minutes of a recent Cornwall Borough Planning Commission meeting, Council Chairman John Karinch, who also sits on the Commission, said he had not heard from anyone in the district supporting short-term rental. The Planning Commission will review the zoning ordinance and make minor changes to reflect the council’s decision.
Also at the meeting, a resident of Spring Hill Lane in Spring Hill Acres, a development zoned as “residential forest,” told council members that some of her neighbor’s actions had disrupted her enjoyment of her residence. She claimed that her neighbor had cut trees on the property, had his employees parked in his driveway, parked the construction equipment he uses in his business on his property and slowly built a new garage on the property. She showed photos of the council to substantiate her complaint.
Kim Spang, zoning officer for the Lebanon County Planning Department, said she recently met with the owner of the property, to whom the planning department had issued a permit for a home-based business. He told her that a contractor was planning to finish the garage starting in September. Spang added that she was ready to work with the owner and give him more time.
Karinch and City Councilor Al Brandt Jr. said they each visited the property earlier in the day of the meeting and in their opinion the condition of the property has improved and the dump truck tipper and equipment were stored in the walls of the garage under construction.
The owner noted that even though he uses the truck and equipment for his landscaping business, which has only one employee, everything is registered in his personal name and not in his business name, and that he uses the equipment to perform work on his driveway. He said his building permit does not expire until February 2022.
Councilor Bruce Conrad said when the owner came to the Planning and Zoning Commission to apply for a permit to change his driveway or build his garage, commission chairman Ray Fratini asked him s ‘he was planning to run a business from his home. Conrad said he remembers the owner saying “no”.
Asked by Conrad if he has another facility that he uses to operate his business, the owner said no.
Borough resident Stan Alekna said a home-based business is allowed in the Residential Forest District, but only if all of those involved in the occupation of the house are full-time residents of the accommodation. The ordinance states that all supplies and machinery used for the business must be stored in the accommodation and not exceed 25 percent of the gross floor area. Alekna added that the planning department has been working with the owner since March 2020.
“Cornwall has chosen to make county planning their zoning enforcer, and many of us have seen them fail to enforce our zoning ordinance over the years, but this is probably the worst-case scenario.” , said Alekna. “If the council wants to keep faith with the residents of the borough, you don’t have a lot of options. I think you should end the county planning as a zoning enforcer and hire or enter into a contract with a person who will work interactively with our borough director and municipal council, in the fair and efficient application of our zoning ordinance.
Council told the owner to continue working on his property and then attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in October for the commission to consider the issue of using the residential property as a business. residence.
Council members also received a request from Harvey Turner, a resident of Ephrata, who would like to buy the Alden Mansion and turn it into a guesthouse he would also live in. Turner said time is running out as he expects to sell his residence soon and would like to move into the mansion. Karinch asked Borough Director Cody Rhoads to schedule a special Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to look into the matter with Turner.