Neighbors petition Pine officials to take action on ‘deplorable’ conditions of property

Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Dale Riley is tired of living next to a vacant property he said is in “deplorable” condition and presented a petition signed by neighbors of the property at 5028 Bakerstown Road in Pine Township requesting that officials take action.

Riley appeared before the board of supervisors at the Nov. 4 meeting.

“We, the undersigned residents, property owners, voters and taxpayers of Pine Township petition the government to enforce its own codes and the deplorable and hazardous conditions that have existed for far too long at 5028 Bakerstown Road, Gibsonia, be torn down and cleaned up,” Riley read from the petition. “We urge the solicitor to immediately contact the owner and demand they bring the property into compliance with the codes.”

Riley said the location has been a “problem property” for over 30 years with issues including a house fire, a man living in his car on the property and animals such as raccoons living on the property.

According to Riley, the home sold to “speculators” in June, at which time he spoke to the purchasers.

“They said, ‘Well we’re going to tear it down eventually,’” he said. “Well, I was willing to give it time until even January when we get the new board in, but now we have scavengers. We have people going through the property rooting around.”

Riley said he went around to 12 houses within walking distance to sign the petition and approach the board after finding the property listed on Zillow.

“It says this house can be saved,” he said. “Well, I’m saying either save it or they tear it down.”

Photographs on Zillow show an old car covered in leaves in front of a house that appears to be in a state of disrepair.

After several price history changes, the site shows the property went back on the market on Oct. 18 and there is a pending sale listed on Oct. 29 at a price of $59,400. The listing brokerage is Continental Real Estate Group with an address in Hackensack, N.J.

Larry Kurpakus, director of land development and code enforcement for the township, said that they had been contacted recently by an individual who has the sales agreement to purchase the property from the most recent sheriff’s sale for the purpose of obtaining a demolition permit to remove the property and a permit to construct a new home. He did not know specifically when that closing date was scheduled.

Riley said he knew of one sales agreement that already fell through.

“Are we going to wait for this one to fall through, or are we going to do something?” he asked, noting that the car has since been removed.

Kurpakus said they’d been exploring condemnation of the property but worked with the school district to initiate a sheriff’s sale in order to get new ownership.

Solicitor Gary Gushard said if it’s a public nuisance then the zoning officer can go and determine if there’s an immediate problem and they can arrange for it to be boarded up.

“I think we need to establish what’s going to happen on it sooner rather than later,” Gushard said. “There would have to be a report done by the zoning officer to determine if it needs immediate attention and what that attention should be to safeguard the property. It shouldn’t be standing open.”

Kurpakus said they would schedule an inspection within two days of the meeting and generate the letters to ensure that if the sales agreement falls through they can work to advance the process.