The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 17, 2014

Derelict property concerns Riverside resident

RIVERSIDE — Borough council members have agreed to add an Avenue F house to their blighted property list after the house’s former owner said its current condition worried her.

Eloise Bennett, of Riverside, spoke at the request of Maria Burke, resident of 1011 Avenue F, who lives next door to Bennett’s former home at 1009 Avenue F. Burke’s sons originally complained to the council about the condition of 1009 Avenue F after they came to visit Burke for Mother’s Day. The building next to Burke’s house “is totally uninhabitable,” she said at the council’s June 16 meeting. “Right now, it is a serious health threat to me because I’m right next door.”

Burke said the most recent owners left the building about six to seven years ago. At that point it was “highly neglected,” she said. “No one knew what was going on.”

Burke said in addition to the debris she has seen rats on the property and thumping coming from it late at night.

“I am afraid to walk to the back of my yard,” she said.

Bennett sold the house several years ago to a young man who was getting married. When Burke contacted her, it was the first she had seen it since then. There are huge trees next door to the house which could easily be knocked over in the event of a storm, Bennett said, and that worried her.

Council president John Novak said since receiving Burke’s complaint the borough has contacted codes enforcer Jackie Hart to examine 1009 Avenue F. Hart said the premise had been abandoned and she wrote to a third-party maintenance group that had taken responsibility for the structure.

The building in its current state “is abhorrent to the community,” said council vice president Peter Flemming as it has fallen into neglect and is bringing down property values.

Council unanimously passed the vote to add 1009 Avenue F to its list of blighted properties and have Hart continue trying to contact the current owners.

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