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Commercial Property Inspections Proposed for Trappe Businesses

Similar to the current Trappe rental property inspection program, commercial properties in the community may soon face inspections.

 

At the Nov. 13 Trappe Borough Council meeting, Councilman Paul Edwards proposed inspections on commercial buildings in the borough.

"It would support the safety of the people who use these commercial buildings," said Edwards. "There's ADA compliance, fire safety and general issues. It would also generate some revenue over time."

Borough Manager Jacqui Guenther suggested that if the borough was going to "go down this road", they consider purchasing a permitting management system to manage both the rental and commercial property inspections. The borough currently inspects about 200 rental properties annually and commercial properties would add approximately 120 more inspections per year.

"There is a program out there called Permit Manager," Guenther said. "It's a great program, a little pricey, but what they do is put in every property and every permit on that property, so 20 years from now we can look back and see when a new roof was put on or a fire safety inspection was done."

When pressed on the cost, Ms. Guenther acknowledged that the program runs between $9000-$11,000. Onorato added that you're also getting data collection from a program like this.

"Right now we use an Excel spreadsheet, which I'm sure was okay in its day, but it's now hard for just one person to keep track without things falling through the cracks," said Guenther. "A software program keeps track of dates and properties, sends out letters and offers account and data mangement."

"It sounds like based on just the permits we have today, that a program would be helpful," said Councilwoman Cathy Johnson. "It sounds like we need software help now since we only have a two-person office."

"If we're going to go down this road, a lot of our businesses are probably going to be required to make some improvements and I don't know how that will be received," Ms. Guenther said.

An audience member asked how Council planned to define "a business".

Solicitor Onorato said that probably any business that had customers would be included.

"What about a home-based business that has employees?" she asked.

"We'd have to define it. I don't know right now," answered the solicitor.

Council directed the borough manager to put a package together to include a proposed ordinance, a proposed fee schedule and the software information.

The next Trappe Borough Council meeting will be held on Tuesday December 4 at 7 pm at the Trappe Borough Hall. The public is invited to attend and comment on any item during the public forum.

henry eroh November 15, 2012 at 01:19 PM
more ways to dig up money from people- inspections are ok as long as they are done proper and not because of the need for money- - everything comes around to money so the business people should beware of this scheme
Judy A Muche November 15, 2012 at 07:00 PM
This is just so out of control. Local Government does not need to get involved with Business, Commercial or Residential, which must adhere to laws written on state and federal levels. I believe it is called double dipping. We need to help our Business Community thrive. We are the foundation. You cannot tell anyone when they need a new roof, let alone mandate it! Unless, of course, you (local government) are going to cover the cost. It seems to me, certification to be a deciding member of our communities needs to be put in place. And this is not an issue isolated to Trappe Borough, it is the direction our Country has been traveling. Why are our jobs gone? Why are our businesses folding? Keep putting more restraint on them, that will help...
Norman Hunsberger November 16, 2012 at 01:30 AM
This is a infridgement of your property rights. Just plain and simple. Come on people. Wake the heck up.
Judy A Muche November 16, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Not for businesses, we do not have the same rights as a resident...even if you reside on the property...it would be an infringement on your civil rights.....or maybe that was taken away from us as well...
Judy A Muche November 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I came up with a novel idea. How about local government work on helping our businesses thrive so we can go back to supporting our Little League. Allow Community members to gather at “our” children’s game. Let’s go back to the support of our children. We have become so protective of our children we tend to isolate them, and in turn isolate ourselves. Allow a game to be about Community. Please stop setting our businesses up to fail.
Bob Swartley January 11, 2013 at 02:39 PM
See the recent Patch articles regarding Paul Edwards other self imposing drags on Trappe....Re-instating the Real Estate Tax and spending over $67,000 on an unwanted fence at the compost site...the tip of the fiscal iceberg for the "trusted team".

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