County panel reviews blighted properties

The Warren County Blighted Property Review Committee last Thursday reviewed a number of properties from last month and a new one in Pine Grove Township

In old business, two properties the Hecei property at 2393 E. Fifth Ave. and the Passinger property at 102 Cottage Place in Russell have interested buyers.

Warren County Commissioner John Eggleston spoke of John Diperro’s efforts regarding his daughter’s property in Sheffield Township “He is basically negotiating his position of ‘You tell me what I need to do’,” Eggleston said.

Judy Smith, whose property at 463 Pleasant Dr. has been deemed blighted, couldn’t attend the meeting because of illness, but she called in advance to say the building should be down by the end of summer.

Speaking of a proposed county-wide ordinance to deal with blighted properties, Glade Township Supervisor Joe Scully said the township has “signed on to the ordinance (proposal) and wants to move ahead.” If adopted, the ordinance would make inspections easier, and would only apply to townships, boroughs, and cities that want to participate.

Dan Glotz, county planning director, said he will send out informational materials to supervisors detailing what information needs to be provided to property owners regarding blighted properties, specifying what is wrong and what needs to be accomplished.

Pine Grove Township has forwarded a request to declare an unoccupied trailer at 819 Cider Mill Hill Rd., owned by Frances Matsock, as blighted. They issued a township nuisance violation to the owners, then in March sent a blighted property letter citing attractive nuisance, unsafe, presence of vermin, a fire hazard, property not habitable, vacant for years, rubbish both inside and outside, and tax delinquency for two years or more. The letter requested return notice of 30 days, but no response has been forthcoming.

Committee Chairman Paul Pascuzzi said, “Let’s invite the township supervisors and the owners to the next meeting on May 23,” to get a more detailed report and pictures.

Pascuzzi reported that a community in central Pennsylvania had adopted a Quality of Life Ordinance that authorized code enforcement officers to issue tickets on the spot. He said fines ranged from $25 for the first ticket to $300 for the fourth. He said, “This gets their (the offenders’) attention right away.”

Glotz said he met with Bear Lake Borough officials about participating in the blighted program at their last council meeting, and “they are really interested.”