Changes to a zoning ordinance passed at a recent Carroll Valley Borough council meeting will make it easier for residents to use their homes as short-term rentals. “Now you don’t have to apply to the zoning committee for a special exception. You just need to get a permit through the zoning office,” explained David Hazlett, borough manager, and zoning officer.
Short-term rentals are allowed in agricultural, low- and medium-density residential districts. However, they are not permitted in the six areas identified as R-1 or residential conservation areas. The discussion regarding R-1 short-term rental permission was prompted by a letter asking the borough to consider changing its zoning plan.
“We feel this is unfair. Carroll Valley has many attractions for vacationers, and the closest properties to these attractions are exempt from providing short-term rentals… while other properties in the borough are allowed to do this.” The letter was sent by S2 Investments, a local company whose owners have been Carroll Valley residents since 1985.
“We need time to go look at the original notes to determine why R-1 was not allowed as a site for short-term rentals,” suggested council member Michael Wight. The council agreed to pass the matter on to the planning commission, where short-term rentals can be fully discussed and a recommendation made to the council at its next meeting. The planning commission meeting will be Monday, May 1, at 7 p.m.
“We continue to be inundated with requests with the popularity of vacation rentals in Carroll Valley,” Hazlett said. “This is a use that is going to increase in pressure for us.”
Several comments by council members suggested that long-term rentals are already operating in the borough without going through the proper permit procedures. Council president Richard Mathews said, “ For the privilege of having them (short-term rentals), they should be notifying us, getting the proper permits and registration. And making sure that we have contact information so if there are problems, we can address them so that the neighbors aren’t inconvenienced. “
In other business, council approved a request for a full-time police officer and two new patrol cars for Carroll Valley. Police Chief Clifford Weikert said the need for a full-time officer is due to the recent resignation of a current officer. Currently, the police department has two full-time and three part-time officers.
The 2023 capital reserve budget has set aside $102,000 for two new cars, but Weikert said that due to inflation, he is now requesting $124,500 for both vehicles and selected equipment. The police chief is seeking to replace two 2014 police cars that have nearly 100,000 miles.
There are two stages to purchasing a police cruiser, Hazlett explained. The first is to buy the basic vehicle, and the second, through a different vendor, is to outfit them with special equipment such as lights, rollbars, and other necessary items.
The council approved advertising a competitive bid for the vehicles. Weikert estimated it might take up to two months to get the new cars and another six to eight weeks to get them outfitted. An estimate for equipping the police cars will be presented to the council at the next meeting.
An estimated 1000 people welcomed spring April 8 by attending the annual Easter egg hunt in Carroll Valley. Gayle Marthers, assistant borough manager, thanked everyone for the combined effort it took to stuff and hide 5,000 plastic eggs. Other monthly events include:
April 22 – National Medicine Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a spring and summer clothing giveaway at Liberty Worship Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 29 – The annual fishing derby will take place at Carroll Valley Commons Park, while the opening day of baseball parade can be seen on West Main Street, beginning at 9 a.m.
Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.