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Stroudsburg considering a ban on porch couches

Officials are concerned the outdoor furniture poses a fire risk at some locations.

STROUDSBURG — A Northeastern Pennsylvania borough is considering an ordinance that would ban couches on unenclosed front porches and lawns.

The ban would apply to upholstered furniture that is manufactured primarily for indoor use.

“Some people call it Pocono porch furniture,” said Jeff Wilkins, Stroudsburg code enforcement officer, who said rodents, bacteria and moisture are attracted to the cushions. “The fire company has a concern about some locations. It’s a combination of safety and aesthetics.”

A public hearing is set to be held on the proposed ordinance next month.

Some residents say they don’t understand why the borough is interfering with their choice of outdoor seating.

“If you own property, you should be able to do what you want with it, as long as it’s kept nice,” said Pat Reinheimer, who has lived on Second Street for 30 years. “This is a college street. You’re going to have that kind of thing.”

But Wilkins mentioned that a 1994 fire at Bloomsburg University, which killed five students, started in a porch sofa.

The BOCA National Property Maintenance Code, published by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, is a collection of standard codes that many municipalities, including Stroudsburg, adopt each year. The matter of upholstered furniture has been addressed in the past, but the BOCA code left it out this year; that left Stroudsburg with no rule to enforce.

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