Property Concerns Brought To Pottstown Borough Council

Pottstown >> Residents in the borough are turning to Pottstown Borough Council for help in addressing some of their concerns about real estate.

Tuesday night’s meeting featured six different residents who each spoke about different concerns ranging from problems on Upland Street, to a new borough ordinance that they fear could penalize homeowners in default on their mortgage.

“We the homeowners of Upland Street are coming here to borough council to express the concerns and pleas for assistance about investor purchases, rentals and subsidized housing here in Pottstown,” said one resident.

Upland Street residents, she said, are seeing a takeover of their street by Spring Hill Realty, which has been buying up properties across Pottstown and beyond.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150610/property-concerns-brought-to-pottstown-borough-council

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Chief’s Letter To Larksville Home Raises Issues

LARKSVILLE, PA — A police chief’s “welcome” letter targeting a suspected drug den and prostitution house on Murray Street has apparently accomplished its goal.

The tenant, a younger woman, hasn’t been seen since, neighbors say. The constant vehicle traffic from a stream of visitors immediately ceased, they say. And the landlord quickly issued an eviction notice.

Larksville police Chief John Edwards last week delivered the strongly-worded letter to the 10 homes on Murray Street, but most on the small block knew who it was meant for: the tenant of 39 Murray St. and all her visitors.

Edwards vowed to zero in on the people suspected of illegal activity until they “are arrested and imprisoned, or leave Larksville Borough.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/chief-s-letter-to-larksville-home-raises-issues-1.1862664

Wilkes-Barre’s Sherman Hills Complex Now Prefers Locals

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The welcome mat is still out for out-of-state residents at Sherman Hills, but under a program instituted by the new owner, locals are given preference to move into the federally-subsidized apartment complex.

The preference also applies if a member of the household waiting to get one of the 344-units has a job.

John VanMetre, director of property management for The Aspen Companies, an affiliate of Teaneck, New Jersey-based Treetop Development, owner of the complex, explained the change in light of a recent report that Sherman Hills had advertised for tenants in the New York City area.

VanMetre said that with the change in ownership, any ads are done locally.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50555847/Sherman-Hills-puts-focus-on-locals

Changing Skyline: Subsidized Housing Deal May Benefit Developers More

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You could probably fit every unit of affordable housing being built in Philadelphia today inside one of the fancy glass skyscrapers going up in University City, and still have a couple of floors left over. That’s not because the new towers are so immense, but because the city produces so little subsidized housing for the poor and working class.

It wasn’t always that way. From the 1950s through the Clinton years, the federal government financed thousands of units of affordable housing. Though the results weren’t always well-designed, the programs did at least ensure the poor had places to live. But in the last decade, federal money dried up and cities were left to their own devices. It’s no accident that wage stagnation has become a hot issue as low-cost housing has become harder to find.

So, as with many urban improvements these days, cities have begun to look to the private sector to pick up the slack. The strategy is called “inclusionary housing,” and it involves trading zoning bonuses for apartments.

Developers get to put up taller, denser towers. Cities get a bunch of units in the new buildings that can be rented at below-market rates. Low-wage workers get fabulous apartments with skyline views.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/20141017_Changing_Skyline__Subsidized_housing_deal_may_benefit_developers_more.html#TCCsm4dMWl0uHb5b.99

Town By Town: In Pottstown, Plenty Of Sellers, Few Buyers

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Editor’s note:  It’s pretty freakin’ sad when the Philadelphia Inquirer has to write up something like this about Pottstown.  Everybody knows why this situation exists, except for the do nothing Borough Council who are off in Lala Land taking a group cruise down the river Denial! What an embarrassing write up and very damning because of the enormous readership of this MAJOR MARKET publication!!!!!  Now that a big city newspaper has pointed out the same issues we bloggers have been harping on for years, maybe you all will be shamed into doing something. 

Trends in local housing supply and demand aren’t working in Pottstown’s favor right now. In a word, the market is troubled.

Andrew Himes, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in Collegeville, said the borough “is one of the few places that hasn’t made any kind of a comeback.”

Though just about every market in the eight-county Philadelphia region has a shortage of supply, Pottstown’s problem is it has 300 houses for sale and very little demand, Himes says.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20140831_Town_By_Town_.html#0CJjWTr05jzmHLlJ.99

Wilkes-Barre Zoning Board Approves Changes Requested By Housing Develoopment Corp

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — About 30 people protested the proposed housing project in the Rolling Mill section of the city, offering testimony, petitions and heartfelt concerns, but the Zoning Hearing Board unanimously approved all four changes requested by Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic of Lancaster.

As the crowd filtered out of council chambers at City Hall Thursday evening, you could hear cries of “It’s not fair,” and “You live there,” from residents of McCarragher, Moyallen, Dana and Grove streets — all to be impacted by the 56-unit rental complex to be built by HDC.

Attorney Charles McCormick, zoning hearing board solicitor, said there is a 30-day window for appeals to be filed on the decision. Once that is exhausted, HDC will then bring a detailed land development plan to the city’s planning commission for approval.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50170995/Rolling-Mill-development-moves-forward#.U_YbQPRDsxI

Allentown Man Pistol Whipped, Robbed At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Allentown man was pistol whipped and robbed after going to a crime-ridden apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre to meet a female “acquaintance.”

Alexander Aron, of Allentown, reported to police on Friday that he went to Sherman Hills to meet a woman he referred to as an acquaintance, Taisha Moore.

Aron met the woman in front of Building 312 and walked to the area of the laundry rooms. He was then approached by two unidentified males, who demanded his wallet, police said.

Aron refused to turn over his wallet and was pistol whipped. He then gave the two males $150 in cash. The two males and the female then fled the area, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50148614/Allentown-man-pistol-whipped-robbed-at-Sherman-Hills#.U-9xifRDsxI

Gunfire Heard On Phone By 911 At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police are investigating gunfire in a hallway inside Building 308 at the troubled Sherman Hills apartment complex, which has been the scene of other shootings, stabbings and assaults.

Police responded to the apartment building after Luzerne County 911 received a hang-up call at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday.

911 called the phone number and were advised that shots were heard in a hallway and the sound of people fighting.

Police said shell casings were found in the hallway. A search of the area did not result in any suspects, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50124799/Gunfire-heard-by-911-at-Sherman-Hills#.U-pRh_RDsxI

Housing Development Planned In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — In a few months, the vacant building on Dana Street that formerly housed First Hospital will be gone. A housing development is planned in its place.

The Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation is demolishing properties on Dana, Grove and McCarragher streets in the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood with plans to donate the land to a Lancaster-based development company.

Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic plans to build 56 units of affordable rental housing in the area.

The properties include 133 and 149 Dana St., 66-68 Grove St. and 112 McCarragher St., according to Gerard T. O’Donnell, a consultant working with the Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation, which plans to demolish the structures.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/housing-development-planned-in-w-b-1.1724520

Web Petition Wants To Stop Sherman Hills Funding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A post on the White House’s We the People website petitions the Obama Administration to cease Section 8 subsidies to the Sherman Hills apartment complex.

But before it earns a response from White House staff, it first must gather 100,000 signatures by Aug 15.

Readers on the Times Leader’s Facebook page were quick to respond when asked if they would sign the petition. Many readers commented emphatically that they would sign. However, the petition only gained 5 signatures in the same time period.

One commenter suggested tenants receive criminal background checks and drug tests.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1541121/Web-petition-wants-to-stop-Sherman-Hills-funding

Dog Fighting In Pottstown: A Tragic Result Of Government Negligence…

EDITORIAL

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Our scuz-busting friend, the Golden Cockroach, has more horrific news about the results of the absentee extractive investors who have taken over large numbers of properties in Pottstown.  These folks buy up homes for “cents on the dollar” and rent them to anybody who will pay their rent in “cash”, **wink, wink. The properties are not maintained and the tenants are left to run wild and terrorize their neighbors.

The typical absentee extractive investor lives in a large suburban home, in a township where mostly upper middle class white folk congregate.  They take their wads of “rental cash” and do “fun stuff” like take vacations to tropical locations with municipal employees (who also make wads of cash thanks to the overburdened taxpayers in Pottstown).  While these folks are sunbathing, and having drinks with little umbrellas in them, back at the ranch all hell is breaking loose.  OR when they aren’t sunbathing and having funky beverages south of the border, they are at home in their virtually crime-free suburban communities reading about Pottstown’s ills in the Mercury.

Meanwhile, Pottstown is falling apart and these rental properties are crumbling off their foundations. HOWEVER, unless “I” live next to a problem rental property it’s not my problem.  These properties somehow pass inspection, they are somehow issued occupancy permits and everybody is happy.  Well, except for the people who live in Pottstown and are being terrorized by these tenants who aren’t properly vetted before being allowed to occupy said rental properties.  But again, unless it directly impacts me, it’s not my problem.  RIGHT?

Apparently, this is the attitude emanating from Pottstown Borough Hall.  This attitude comes across loud and clear when you read the latest post from the Golden Cockroach.  You should be utterly incensed by the complete disregard for the residents of Pottstown.  This stunning information confirms what we have always thought.   The fact that it was said out loud by a municipal employee makes us sick.

The result of this blatant contempt for Pottstown is crime.  Evidently, we can now add dog fighting to the list of heinous crimes being perpetrated in Pottstown and ignored by the very folks who are paid to look after the interests of the taxpayers.  Why?  Because many municipal employees do not live in Pottstown and these problems do not impact their quality of life.  Ergo, it’s not my problem.  They can read the Mercury on their iPad while they sip their morning latte from the safety of their suburb.  After reading about “life in Pottstown” they can head into the office for another fun-filled day of work “screw over the taxpayer” behind bullet-proof glass.  We think that’s a game like “pin the tail on the donkey” but we aren’t 100 percent sure.  Can you hear them cackling as they drive over the borough line with their big fat paychecks?

So we have people with virtually no interest in seeing Pottstown revitalize running the show.  These same people are allowing absentee extractive investors to make large profits at the expense of the fine folks who do live in Pottstown (and who pay very high taxes for these stellar municipal services brought to you by people who don’t give a shit crap).

Crime is running rampant and no matter now many miniature golf courses you build, you are still putting lipstick on a pig.  Don’t get us wrong, miniature golf is fun and we expect to try it out soon, however there are far more important issues that need to be addressed.  CRIME and JOBS should be the TOP priority of the municipal government.  The job market should be high and crime should be low!  It’s ass-backwards in Pottstown!  It’s time for the taxpayers to say “enough” and hold these co-perpetrators accountable for Pottstown’s ruination.

Please take a few minutes to read Golden Cockroach’s latest post.  Please watch the video about the animal abuse and dog fighting if you haven’t already seen it.  The video is included in the post for your convenience.

CLICK HERE:  http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/dog-fighting-in-pottstown-a-tragic-result-of-govt-negligence/

A Must See Video About A Rental Unit In Pottstown – Contains Adult Language

Court Documents: Sherman Hills Sale Price Tops $16M

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The current owners of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments in Wilkes-Barre will receive more than $16 million should a proposed sale be finalized this month, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Luzerne County Court.

Family members of a murder victim are trying to block the sale or have the sale proceeds placed in escrow, claiming the sale of the low-income housing project would make the complex “judgement proof.”

On Tuesday, lawyers for Sherman Hills filed their response, saying the sale should be allowed to proceed.  The sales agreement was attached to the response and revealed Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Park Management, the complex’s owner, will be paid $16.2 million from the sale.

Survivors of murder victim Shantique Goodson, 27, fatally shot at the complex on Nov. 11, 2013, are seeking an injunction to block the sale, or place the sale proceeds in escrow, until the lawsuit plays out. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Luzerne County Court.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/court-documents-sherman-hills-sale-price-tops-16m-1.1664522

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Crafton Man Rehabs Worst-Looking House On Street

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parade of people who rented apartments in an old Crafton house aggravated Chuck Gigliotti, a longtime neighbor who lives across the street. After it became Section 8 housing in 2003, shingles fell off the roof regularly and loose bricks threatened to avalanche from a tall chimney. In 2006, Mr. Gigliotti watched from his home as two dozen police officers and a SWAT team broke down the door and arrested one man.

Finally, in March 2012, he bought the house at 24 Mildred St. for $18,900 and tackled his ninth property. His wife, Lindy, was not thrilled, but Mr. Gigliotti, 56, was ready for another challenge — rehabbing the worst-looking house on the street. He formed a company called Crafton Redux and hired three Triangle Tech graduates to restore the 1904 house that is a near mirror image of his own. Nearly two years later, they’re finished. The four-bedroom, 21/2-bath house is for sale for $220,000.

Mr. Gigliotti has a long history with old houses. At age 19, he joined the local carpenters union. Since 1988, he has been buying houses to remodel and resell. For six years, he was a glazier at Rex Glass in Robinson; for another six he was a self-employed remodeling contractor. Since 2010, he has taught carpentry at Triangle Tech.

Although he has done his share of working on roofs, he had no interest in going up on the high-pitched roof to remove the chimney. So, he cut a 16-inch hole in the wall of a third-floor bedroom and put a ladder through it. Gradually, he and his crew removed bricks, ending up with enough to build a 21/2-foot-wide walkway that parallels the property’s upper side.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/homes/2014/02/01/From-eyesore-to-model-home-Crafton-man-rehabs-worst-looking-house-on-street/stories/201402010031#ixzz2s5JQBTfp

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Wilkes-Barre Shuts Down Unit In Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — The city has shut down an apartment in the troubled Sherman Hills apartment complex where police said they found drugs while investigating a shooting.

The apartment in Building 308 cannot be rented for six months under the city’s “one-strike” ordinance that’s been enforced a number of times since it took effect on Sept. 1. in an attempt to deal with problem properties where gun and drug crimes are committed.

The woman, who lived in the apartment with a small child, and a man drove to a New Jersey hospital on Dec. 27 for treatment of gunshot wounds they said they suffered in an accidental shooting, according to police.

Catherine Thomas, 23, and Lashawn Burgman, 31, of Wyoming, told police they were afraid and fled out-of-town to avoid a police investigation.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1096899/City-shuts-down-unit-in-Sherman-Hills

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Sherman Hills Owner Promises Changes To Troubled Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Brooklyn, N.Y., owner of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments has vowed to create a gated community, hire armed security officers and repair and improve video surveillance, according to the Sherman Hills Task Force.

The disclosure came in a conversation between U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, who initiated the task force, and of Park Management Inc., who said the business is sending Wilkes-Barre City Council a report outlining its plans, Cartwright spokesman Shane Seaver said.

The task force is meeting Monday morning to discuss those and other plans to address the troubled Sherman Hills complex, which has been plagued by crime in recent months.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/sherman-hills-owner-promises-changes-to-troubled-complex-1.1601842

Woman Arrested In Sherman Hills Stabbing

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wilkes-Barre police are investigating a stabbing that took place at the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments on Monday morning.

Police say a 27-year-old woman, whose name was not immediately released, was stabbed by another woman during a domestic dispute about 8:15 a.m. at Building 308.

Officers were called to the area of the Sherman Hills entrance on North Sherman Street and arrived to find the victim had been stabbed in the back, police said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/woman-arrested-in-sherman-hills-stabbing-1.1591058

Wilkes-Barre Slaps Fine On Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Attention Pottstown Borough leadership – this is the kind of action you SHOULD be taking, instead of denying there is a drug problem and a slumlord problem in Pottstown.  At least Wilkes-Barre is taking proactive steps to clean up a problem that is plaguing their city by using existing laws and ordinances to do so.  In Pottstown these same problems are the elephant in the room that the “leadership”, and I use that word loosely, chooses to sit idly by and ignore at the peril of every resident.  Shame on you people!

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city has levied a $33,000 fine against Sherman Hills Realty LLC on allegations the realty company failed to have apartments at the Sherman Hills complex inspected before new tenants moved in.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development personnel began a two-day inspection of the 344-unit complex on Monday, the same day the letter was sent to the Brooklyn, N.Y., realty company. The city alleges 60 units had new tenants, but the apartments were not inspected.

“It has come to the attention of the City of Wilkes-Barre that since the last time inspections were performed at your facility, 60 units have changed tenants. A change in tenant per the Wilkes-Barre City Code of Ordinances requires a rental inspection,” the letter says.

“The units have since been inspected but your company is still accountable for the fines during this period. The complex … has been found to be in violation of the Wilkes-Barre City Code of Ordinances entitled ‘Rental Dwelling/Residence and Tenant Registration,’ ” the letter said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/845198/City-slaps-fine-on-Sherman-Hills

New Rules Put In Place At Sherman Hills?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA— New security measures are reportedly set to go into place at the Sherman Hills where two young girls were shot in the latest case of violent crime at the apartment complex.

An e-mail outlining some of the rules to go into effect on Oct. 1 was sent to The Times Leader Wednesday, but they were not able to be confirmed.

According to the e-mail, among the steps to be taken are: tenants must provide a driver’s license and paperwork to receive a parking sticker; vehicles must be registered to tenants; visitors must receive a pass issued by the office in order to park in the visitors’ lot; visitors must present photo identification to obtain a pass; businesses delivering groceries, food or prescriptions must have two people in the delivery vehicle so one can stay in it to prevent it from being towed.

Residents say they received flyers on their doors informing them of their new rules, TV reports state.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news//809848/New-rules-put-in-place-at-Sherman-Hills

Pittsburgh’s Larimer Revival Concerns Residents

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plans to revamp Pittsburgh’s Larimer section promise the creation of a new kind of neighborhood, where low-income residents are no longer clustered in housing projects or crumbling apartments, where subsidized housing units are scattered among market-rate ones.

But some are worried that the blueprints for the $100 million housing development would push residents in two places slated for demolition — East Liberty Gardens and a Pittsburgh Housing Authority-owned project — farther from transit lines and business districts.

“[The housing authority] is talking about moving me somewhere else,” said Robert Morton, who lives in one of 27 units in the Auburn/Hamilton-Larimer complex, which is owned by the housing authority. Mr. Morton, 64, uses a wheelchair.  “I can’t just uproot and go somewhere else.”

The city is currently preparing an application for a highly competitive $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with hopes of building some 350 units of mixed-income housing in the struggling neighborhood, to support jobs, parks and businesses similar to those in neighboring East Liberty.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburghs-larimer-revival-concerns-residents-697299/#ixzz2aRwXiz1o