Catasauqua Press

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Hanover addresses safety issues

Thursday, February 4, 2016 by paul cmil Special to The Press in Local News

Code inspection criteria topped the agenda at the Jan. 21 Hanover Township Council meeting. According to a report submitted by Robin Yoder in his position as township code enforcement officer, he recently encountered several problems while conducting his rounds at the Days Inn on Airport Road.

Yoder noted and reported cars were parked in the fire lanes, rooms were overcrowded and the maximum occupancy signs had been removed in several rooms.

“There was a lot of activity at the motel,” Yoder said. “The banquet room was full, the hotel was booked, and the lounge was crowded.”

According to Yoder, there were not enough parking spaces. He issued tickets to some of the cars parked in the fire lane.

“There was an angry reaction to the tickets and I stopped taking any further action because I was out-numbered,” he said.

Yoder, who is also the Han-Le-Co fire chief, has some authority to evacuate a building if it is overcrowded, but the main authority rests with the fire marshal, also a Han-Le-Co member.

Yoder alerted the Pennsylvania State Police to the problem but did not ask for assistance.

“We need to look at how we handle this,” Councilman Robert Heimbecker said. “We don’t need to have a situation where the rules are ignored, and we have a nightclub fire.”

Township Manager Sandra Pudliner sent a missive to the owner asking that the owners, local management and township officials meet to discuss the situation to resolve any future problems.

“Essentially, they can meet with us so we can get an understanding of what we all need to do, or we take action at the next incident,” she said.

According to township Solicitor Jackson Eaton, safety provisions of the National Fire Protection Association are included as part of the township’s building code. According to Eaton, the township did not adopt NFPA regulations in their entirety, and there may not have been a requirement to do so.

“The maximum occupancy signs were posted, and that is a requirement,” he said. “Chief Yoder found those to be removed. That is a violation.”

Yoder also noted elevator violations.

“It does not appear that we have a final inspection on the repaired elevators,” he said.

Pudliner will report back to council at the next meeting on the outcome of her discussion with the motel’s owners.

Also at the meeting, the council received word that talks between FedEx and Fuller family representatives associated with airport land under development are concluding, and an agreement is expected to be approved in February.

FedEx has received an approval from Allen Township to build a one-million square-foot warehouse hub facility on land owned by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority along Willowbrook Road. Although the land is now owned by the airport, the original owners, the Fuller family, had certain deed restrictions on the use of the property when they sold it to the airport.