Tyrone mulls program for business inspections

Majority of council supports idea of safety checks

By William Kibler

bkibler@altoonamirror.com

TYRONE — Borough Council on Monday gave its code enforcement officer permission to devise a program of routine safety inspections for all business buildings.

Marvin Frazell proposed the program after being called to inspect a business recently and finding numerous life-safety problems, including large piles of rubbish, blocked exits and issues with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

If there had been a fire at that location, things might have gone badly, Frazell told council.

A majority of council members support the idea, although most would rather keep fees to a minimum, even though, as Frazell said, Tyrone is “one of the cheapest” local municipalities in which to do business.

It would be better to emphasize fines when businesses fail to correct violations than routine fees that everyone pays, council members said.

Business owners should get plenty of time to prepare for their first inspections, council members said.

“There would be a period of education,” Frazell said. “I’m not trying to give anyone a hard time.”

There are lots of older buildings in the borough that have been “grandfathered” — not looked at for a long time, Frazell said.

Education and perhaps annual inspections he could “bring the borough back up to snuff,” Frazell said.

Currently, the borough is behind the times, he said.

Buildings that pass inspections would receive compliance certificates, he said.

Generally, property owners would be responsible for correcting deficiencies, although in some cases, lease agreements give tenants ownership responsibility, solicitor Dan Stants said.

Council’s permission for Frazell to draw up the program was informal.

Eventually, council would need to formally approve a program.

Mayor Bill Latchford wondered whether such a program would create a liability problem — putting the borough “on the hook.”

Stants said he didn’t think so.

Frazell said he aims to create a “robust” program for the safety of business owners, employees and the public.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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