SUNBURY — Property owners can discuss upcoming, mandatory commercial property inspections with City Council during a town hall meeting March 27.

A representative of North East Inspection Consultants (NEIC) will be in attendance, according to Councilman John Barnhart.

The inspections, which will begin in mid-April and are required under a city ordinance, will be carried out using the IPMC 2015, (International Property Maintenance Code) by the city’s designated licensed inspector, North East Inspection Consultants, according to the ordinance.

Code Department Supervisor Jeff Wojciechowsk said 466 commercial property owners received letters about the inspections, which will cost $200. He said 297 have paid, 53 still owe the fees and 114 have either filed for or been granted exemptions.

Barnhart said the inspections are an added safety measure for owners and anyone entering the buildings.

“This is good for everyone,” Barnhart said. “This helps us reduce blight and makes sure buildings are safe for the public to enter.”

Barnhart said the town hall meeting was scheduled so property owners can ask questions and know what to expect when NEIC arrives to conduct the inspection.

The passing of the ordinance caused some pushback from owners.

Property owner Mark Walberg asked council how governmental buildings and DRIVE properties are exempt.

DRIVE Executive Director Jennifer Wakeman said one property, the former Sunbury Hospital, was granted the exemption because the group has potential buyers.

Walberg questioned council members.

“So if you have potential buyers, you get exempt?” he said. “I have potential buyers for some of my properties as well.”

Solicitor Joel Wiest said he would be meeting with Walberg to discuss his issues.

Wakeman said the former UPMC Sunbury Community Hospital building could have major construction taking place so it would not make sense to have the building inspected twice. Wakeman said another building at the property will also go back on the tax rolls soon.

Walburg asked council if exemptions are granted for owners who may have “potential buyers” of a property.

“I am just asking how do I get an exemption,” he said.

City officials said there are a few exemptions that would be granted.

The first is if the property is residential, the second is if the structure was already inspected, the third is governmental buildings and then a fourth would be for “other” which means the property owner would meet with the code department or council and explain the situation.

Barnhart said the new ordinance’s intent is about safety, not punishment.

Mayor Josh Brosious said he is against certain exemptions that were granted.

“I am against any exemptions to the commercial property inspection except if that property received a similar inspection to prove the life safety of the structure,” he said. “Getting this ordinance passed was to show residents and property owners the state of their structure and to prove it was safe to be in.”

Other commercial property owners have filed letters to the city explaining why they should be exempt.

Among those owners are Sunbury attorneys Brianna Apfelbaum Kula and Mike Kula who sent a letter from “Team Apfelbuam” explaining their two buildings, located on Market Street and South Fifth Street, should be exempt. The letter stated the building on Market Street is under the residential ordinance and the Fifth Street building is a storage facility.

Barnhart’s office also said the Christ Wesleyan Church building on Market Street and the East Sunbury Hose Co., were also denied exemptions. As of Thursday, they had yet to pay the inspection fees, according to a list provided by the office.

Brosious said exemptions set the city back.

“We would be going in the wrong direction if we allow exemptions to the inspection,” he said. “Our priority as elected officials should be the safety of our citizens and visitors when they are visiting our city. We have had too many examples of properties and businesses that left the city because of the condition of commercial properties.”

Barnhart said the town hall meeting scheduled for March 27 will be the time for people to come and ask questions, and after that the city could start taking action on those who are noncompliant.

“We are doing this to improve our city,” Barnhart said. “I hope every commercial property owner attends the town hall and asks the questions they want to be answered.”

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4
Name Address Fees paid
1 First Baptist Church 135 S 4th St P
2 Nicole Kreider 423 Packer St
3 James S. Cinque 501 S 2nd St P
4 Cindy Bui 241 Market St P
5 ANM Rentals 314 Market St P
Team Apfelbaum, LLC 210 Market St
6 Team Apfelbaum, LLC 43 S 5th St
7 Timothy Stettler 415 S Awl St P
8 Affluent INC. 260 Market St P
9 Larmatt LLC 159 S 2nd St P
10 1337 Holdings, LLC 452-460 Market St P
11 Brian & Lori Garman 401 S 2nd St
12 Drew Reich 300 N 2nd St P
13 Marlin Burrell 970 S Front St
14 Kenneth Potter 439 Vine St P
15 Martin Weiser 453-457 R Chestnut St P
16 Jamie Jay 26 S 2nd St P
17 Higher Hope Int. Ministries 604 Market St P
18 Faith United Methodist 2nd & Arch St P
19 Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church 15 S 5th St P
20 Douglas E. Chervanik 735 Chestnut St P
21 Romana Morales 404 Chestnut, 62 S 4th St P
22 1337 Holdings, LLC 432-438 Market St P
23 Sunbury's Revitalization, INC 450 Chestnut St P
24 Raymond Stenner 413-415 Market St P
25 P.H.A.C 160 Reagan St
26 Real Rent INC 950 Linden St P
27 Suzanne & Edward Mensch 600 N 2nd St P
28 Michael Shambach 836 S River Ave P
29 William & Martha Geise 6 N 6th ST
30 Carl Hovenstine 735 Market St P
31 Central Susquehanna Sight Service 348 Market St P
32 Loyal Order of Moose 256 Market St P
33 Sonia & Brad Fisher 1424 N Front St P
34 J & J Moran, LLC 222 Packer St P
35 Larry Newman 117 N 2nd St P
36 Joseph Romano 202 Church St
37 Douglas J. Cropf 160 Arch St P
38 Diane Messner 124-126 N 6th St
39 Nathan Shrawder 204 N Front St
40 Joseph Dagle 242 Chestnut St P
41 Burt & Melinda Stepanik 135R Fairmount Ave P
42 Christ Wesleyan Church 370 Market St
43 East Sunbury Hose Co. # 1 215 Catawissa Ave
44 Edwin Santana 318 Market St
45 Alex Frew 826 N 4th St

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