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Township sets sights on illegal rooming house

Published April 19. 2010 05:00PM

Mahoning Township resident said that having her car broken into and having a bag removed was the final straw and now she is asking supervisors to finally take care of a long term problem she and her neighbors have been having in her Jamestown neighborhood with a rooming house that has been running without permission at 79-81 Jamestown Road.

"I have had a satchel taken from my car and papers were taken from my father's car right in front of our houses," said resident Pat Snyder. She did not name the person but said police arrested one of the residents of the residence at 79-81 Jamestown Road. To make matters worse, she said she fears for the safety of herself and her neighbors indicating there are two predators living in the boarding house also.

She presented to the board of supervisors at last evening's meeting sheets of paper printed from sexual offender registries on the Internet two unnamed men who live at the address, one convicted of rape and the other of indecent assault. She said she was concerned for the children and residents in the neighborhood as well as herself with such dangerous people living in an illegal boarding house.

Zoning Officer LeRoy Leibenguth said at the request of the previous solicitor Steven Serfass he sent a registered enforcement letter to the building's owner Ted Vanderling but the letter was refused delivery. Under Serfass' advice the letter was sent through general mail and not returned. Solicitor Tom Nanovic said if the letter has already been sent last year following Serfass' advice then the board could immediately move on the issue and take Vanderling to court to enforce the zoning ordinance.

"If he didn't appeal it last year, then he has left the window lapse and we can enforce our law," said Nanovic.

Nanovic pointed out that if the board does not enforce the ordinance then a resident could force the issue and take him to court as well.

Snyder, a former supervisor herself, said this issue has been ongoing for several years since she was on the board and has continued since leaving it and with the latest events she wants something done about the building. She said she didn't know if any inspections have ever been done on the home but believes there was work done that was not checked. She also followed up with the municipal authority because of concerns there is an illegal sewer hook-up going to the property.

"I would appreciate you [the board] looking into it and seeing what can be done to deal with this," she asked supervisors.

Chairman John Wieczorek asked Nanovic how they could deal with the issue and Nanovic said they can start by charging the owner with the zoning violations since the letter was delivered last year.

Supervisor George Stawnyczyj moved to have Nanovic take the necessary steps with Leibenguth to enforce the law and stop any illegalities occurring at the residence. The vote carried 5-0.

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