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W-B council mulls rental regs changes

Council plans to vote Thursday to amend rental unit inspection requirements.

WILKES-BARRE – City council on Tuesday discussed a proposed ordinance that the city administrator said has “more teeth,” but council wants a few more requirements added.

Council will vote Thursday to amend the tenant and rental unit inspection requirements aimed at making all buildings and neighborhoods in the city safer.

If passed, city officials say, inspections will be in line with the city’s health department regulations and the building codes.

Councilman Bill Barrett said he wants stickers placed on all rental properties to let people know the buildings have been inspected and are in compliance with the city codes. Councilman Rick Cronauer agreed, saying that would help keep track of the properties.

Council Vice Chairwoman Kathy Kane said each building should have a plaque attached that shows the building manager’s name and contact information.

Council will vote on the ordinance on first reading.

In other business discussed at the work session, council said it will vote on applying to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for $500,000 under the Growing Greener II Program for Downtown Revitalization. The money will be applied to the $20 million Stegmaier Lofts Reuse Project.

J.J. Murphy, city administrator, said the grant would be used to remove blight from the project area.

The former bottling plant is to be converted into commercial and residential use with 47 apartments, a restaurant, art gallery, fitness room, parking deck and retail space. Greenspace Properties is the developer.

Council will decide whether to make Coal Street Park part of the Keystone Opportunity Zone. Murphy said the move would save sales taxes on materials and equipment for the $14 million park project.

Councilman Bill Barrett said Tuesday night he wants to include placing stickers on rental properties to let people know the buildings have been inspected and are in compliance with the city codes.

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