All 13 members of County Council not only voted to enact a residential rental code for properties in unincorporated areas, but signed on as cosponsors of the ordinance.
"What a difference a year makes," declared a jubilant County Executive Christopher Coons who tried unsuccessfully when he was president of Council to have a virtually identical measure enacted. The three present members who helped defeat it the first time around voted affirmatively. Karen Venezky did so while calling it "a good first step." Primary sponsor Robert Weiner said New Castle County no longer is the largest jurisdiction in the middle Atlantic region without such a code. Michael Morton, lawyer for the Delaware Apartment Association, called the code an "important, meaningful, well-thought-out" law.
Dissent during a 15 minute non-debate on Jun. 28 had to do with the measure not going far enough. Venezky and David Tackett said it stops short of dealing with the problem of too many people living in a rental unit. Patty Powell said it makes no provision to assist low-income people displaced when a housing unit fails inspection. Jea Street said enforcement provisions require more inspectors and financing, but said he voted affirmatively because such "a code is better than no code." As "a living document that can be changed over time" the code can be improved as experience dictates, Weiner said.
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