ZELIENOPLE — Owners of street-level commercial properties in the borough will be held to a new set of standards approved by council last Monday.
Last month, council heard the proposal that aimed to force property owners of vacant buildings to either keep properties clean or to develop or sell them.
Officials said the ordinance would allow the borough to contact property owners if a ground-floor space is vacant, hasn’t been maintained and is lacking signs. The property owner would be given 45 days to address the issues, after which a $500 “monitoring fee” would be imposed. The ordinance would apply only to ground-floor commercial structures.
A bill would be sent to the property, with the fee imposed yearly if the issues aren’t addressed. If the fee is not paid, a lien could be placed on the property.
Council voted to advertise the ordinance.
At another meeting in October, council voted to revise the ordinance, specifically dealing with the monitoring fee amount and whether it should increase each year. The fee was changed to $500 for the first year, $1,000 for the second and $1,500 for the third. Because the changes were substantial, the ordinance needed to be advertised again.
Council unanimously voted to enact the ordinance. Shelly Kaltenbaugh, the borough’s code enforcement and zoning officer, said the ordinance provides clarity for dealing with specific properties.
“It’s a pretty easy ordinance to comply with,” she said.
Icy rain on the parade
Officials said there are currently no plans to reschedule the borough’s Christmas parade, which was canceled Nov. 24 due to inclement weather.
Councilwoman Marietta Reeb said a call had to be made by 9 a.m. whether to proceed, and icy conditions forced the cancellation. Council Vice President Andrew Mathew said this was only the second time in its history that the parade had to be canceled, and Reeb said it likely would not be rescheduled.
Council members held a moment of silence for Jeffrey Barkley, who died on Nov. 16. Barkley served as president of the Zelienople Community Park Association and co-president of the Zelienople Skate Park, and led the charge to seek funding for that project.
Don Pepe, borough manager, called Barkley a “man of truth” who did much good in his life.
“Jeff was a wonderful man,” he said. “He was well thought of because he was a good person, and we’re going to miss him.”
Council will next meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Members also voted Monday to cancel the Dec. 31 scheduled meeting.