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Arnold proposes easing regulations on landlords

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

Arnold Council is amending the year-old ordinance governing landlord requirements for rental properties.

City Solicitor John Pallone said council has proposed two tweaks to the rules: expanding the permissible proximity a landlord or property manager must have to rental properties in Arnold and eliminating the annual landlord registration fee.

Pallone noted the existing 10-mile limit would exclude landlords or managers from Pittsburgh, including commercial property owners.

Pallone said the stringent guideline could be prohibitive if a prospective developer were interested in doing business in Arnold.

Expanding the limit to 30 miles would be more reasonable while still preventing the perennial problems Arnold and other local communities have with absentee, out-of-state property owners, Pallone indicated.

Council also is amending the ordinance to eliminate the $20 annual fee landlords are supposed to pay to register rental properties with the city. Landlords have been critical of the fee.

Pallone said other fees, including for occupancy and transfer permits, will remain in effect.

Council gave the changes initial approval on Tuesday and likely will finalize them in November.

In other business

Council agreed to pay a Pittsburgh law firm to defend Arnold police Chief Willie Weber in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year.

According to court documents, Michael Kramer, 30, formerly of New Kensington filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in April against New Kensington police and Weber.

The documents indicate that Kramer, who is serving a sentence in a state prison, is acting as his own attorney.

Kramer claims a New Ken-sington police officer caused him to seriously injure himself in July 2011 when police were serving an arrest warrant for Kramer violating his parole in an armed robbery case.

Kramer claims that police at the scene used excessive force, were indifferent to his subsequent injuries and falsified the police report.

In the lawsuit, Kramer seeks damages from New Kensington, its police department and several officers, including Weber.

A police complaint states Kramer ran from police and jumped off a porch after giving police a fake name. Police said they chased Kramer on foot until he was caught on Constitution Boulevard.

Pallone said the law firm Burns White had been hired by Arnold's insurance company to defend Weber, but the insurance company since has declined to continue covering the defense.

Council agreed to pick up the attorney fees, which will range from $195 to $225 per hour.

Pallone said attorneys have filed a motion to have Weber dismissed from the case.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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