CURWENSVILLE — In its first official action, Curwensville’s new property review board recommended four blighted borough properties to Curwensville Borough Council for immediate action.
At the board’s inaugural meeting Aug. 11, it analyzed a list of 22 properties in locations throughout the borough that are unoccupied or considered unkept or blighted. Properties on the list were referred for review by the board by members of the public, code enforcement and other agencies.
At Monday’s Curwensville Borough Council meeting, council members reviewed correspondence from the board endorsing sending official notices to the owners of structures on Second Avenue, Bloomington Avenue and Windy Hill Road. The letters from the borough will give each owner 90 days to complete remediation of the properties. A fourth property on George Street Extension was also recommended, but council heard there is a buyer interested and the sale has been verified.
Borough Secretary Terri Bracken, who is a member of the board, said the committee believes those four properties “are beyond repair.”
Council accepted the recommendation and approved sending notices to the owners of the three properties and will also send the same letter to the owner of the George Street Extension property if the sale does not take place.
Members of the property review board, appointed at council’s July 27 meeting, are: Chairman Hildred Rowles who is also a member of the Curwensville Borough Planning Commission, Vice Chairman Bernie Carfley, and Secretary/Treasurer Terri Bracken, who in addition to serving as the borough’s secretary/treasurer also oversees the borough’s code enforcement department. Other board members are Councilman Keith Simcox and resident Andrea Shaffer-Stewart. Robert Moore is council’s representative alternate.
Council adopted the ordinance at its July 15 meeting addressing vacant, blighted and abandoned borough properties. Under the ordinance, council was required to appoint a board to review those properties and recommend action regarding them to council.
The decree defines a vacant, blighted and and abandoned properties and requires a fee of $200 per building, per year, to be paid at the time of registration and each subsequent year at the time the registration is renewed. Owners must also note whether there is a mortgage on the property and provide proof of insurance and services — such as water, sewer, electric or gas.
It is the owner’s duty to maintain the property in compliance will all applicable codes, ordinances and provisions of local and state laws and regulations in place in the borough.
It defines an abandoned building as one whose maintenance is discontinued or is not used for 12 months in an 18-year period. Blighted structures are ones that are vacant, and because of its physical condition or use is regarded as a public nuisance or is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested, a fire hazard or lacks facilities or equipment required under the borough’s housing or maintenance codes.
The ordinance also calls for those structures that are declared abandoned or blighted to be redeveloped, sold or leased for development if the owner fails to respond to notices sent by the borough or cannot be located.