Housing stock is a pivotal issue that will make or break Pottstown’s revitalization efforts. A key piece regarding housing stock is rental properties. Specifically, the conversion of single-family homes into multi-unit “house apartments”. Our fair city has an overabundance of “house apartments”. I speak from experience having lived in several.
I was told a number of years ago that this phenomena started during the construction of the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station. The story goes that with the influx of Bechtel workers and the need for housing, many people turned their homes into rental properties. I can attest that some of these “house apartments” are configured oddly, again having lived in several.
If we are to restore balance (as a Libra, I am all about balance) in the housing stock and reduce the number of “house apartments” in Pottstown, Borough Council must take steps to ensure this practice a. stops and b. provide incentives for homeowners to move into Pottstown and restore “house apartments” back to their original intent as a single-family home.
Without a middle class, Pottstown will not be able to reverse the situation we find ourselves in. That would be broke and surrounded by prosperity. This all goes hand-in-hand. One way to stop border development is to make the borough more attractive to homeowners and investors. Attracting taxpayers and investment dollars will solve our financial woes.
Norristown Borough recently made a bold stand to end the practice of “chopping up” perfectly good single-family homes into rental units. Several organizations in Pottstown have been desperately trying to shed light on this subject. Code Blue comes to mind with their attendance at Council meetings, their participation in blighted property reviews, their participation at the First Suburbs meetings (here and in Lancaster) and their posts on The Pulse!
I would encourage our elected leadership, along with the Mercury, to make stopping the conversion of single-family homes into multi-unit apartments a high priority along with the new rules for landlords that the borough is working on so diligently. This combination is important to revitalization efforts.
If Norristown can do it, why can’t we?