Monday, January 30, 2023

Columbia Zoning Board denies use of 732 Chestnut Street as Airbnb

732 Chestnut Street 

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board denied use of a property at 732 Chestnut as a short-term rental, known as an Airbnb, at its January 25, 2023 meeting.

The property had been operating as an Airbnb since October 2022 until the borough issued a "cease-and-desist" enforcement notification letter dated November 7, because the area in which the property is located is not zoned for such a use. The property owner also paid a $500 fine for the violation.

Dan Zecher, a principal of Awakened Properties LLC, which owns the property, subsequently appealed and applied for a use variance in a letter to the borough dated December 5, 2022 but continued operating the property as a rental despite the borough's notice.

The following legal notice regarding the appeal was posted in LNP on January 10, 2023:

"Awakened Properties LLC is requesting variance(s)/special exception(s) from the Table of Permitted Uses as referenced in Chapter 220-25 and an appeal from an enforcement notice to use the single-family dwelling at 732 Chestnut Street located in the Medium Density Residential (MDR) zoning district as a short-term rental. If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend this meeting and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Columbia Borough Office at 684-2467 to discuss how the Borough may accommodate your needs. Sharon Cino, Zoning Officer"

Zecher appeared before the zoning board at last week's hearing and said that since his company paid the fine and was appealing the decision, he thought it was okay to continue renting the property.

After the hearing, board members adjourned to executive session and emerged to unanimously approve two motions:
  1. To deny the appeal of the zoning enforcement notice dated 11/7/22 and affirm the enforcement notice in all respects.
  2. To deny the application of Awakened Properties for all use variance to convert 732 Chestnut Street to a short-term rental.

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board voted to deny the use of 732 Chestnut Street as an Airbnb at its January 25, 2023 meeting. 

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