Harrisburg Strains To Eliminate Condemned Buildings; Residents Simmer Over Fire Hazards, Nuisances

HARRISBURG–In the 2000 block of Susquehanna Street, routine home maintenance included pruning a neglected tree to eliminate a ladder animals used to enter the upper floors of two condemned homes in the middle of the row.

It included dealing with encroaching mold from the condemned homes’ soggy beams.  It included adding boards at his own expense to keep out squatters, a neighbor said.

Harrisburg has about 400 vacant buildings whose status is considered “emergency” due to hazards and eyesore they pose or criminal activity they attract.  The city expects to demolish 35-40 this year — the most it can do given budget constraints and staffing shortages, said Robert Philbin, the chief operating officer.

“All I can tell you is the city is doing the best it can do,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/harrisburg_strains_to_eliminat.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Cherry Hill Proposes New Regulations On Abandoned Houses

Census Bureau map of Cherry Hill Township, New...

Census Bureau map of Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever John Aponik cuts the grass, bits of blue tarp get caught in the blades of his lawn mower.

Around Christmas, “it gets in all the wreaths,” Aponik said of the tarp that has been shredding off the house next door to his on Glen Lane in Cherry Hill, where a renovation project was abandoned four years ago.

No one has lived in the house since then, Aponik said, although it isn’t exactly vacant. “Raccoons, possums – cats were breeding out there,” Aponik said, who has set traps lent to him by a neighbor.

He’s also written letters to the mayor’s office and repeatedly called a contractor employed by mortgage companies, but the problems remain: The township doesn’t own the property.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20130422_Cherry_Hill_proposes_new_regulations_on_abandoned_houses.html