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There's hope for troubled properties in Coaldale

  • CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Ruthanne Kehl pleads with council to do something about the mold-infested vacant house that is attached to her home at 134 W. Ridge St.
    CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Ruthanne Kehl pleads with council to do something about the mold-infested vacant house that is attached to her home at 134 W. Ridge St.
Published October 12. 2011 05:01PM

Coaldale council on Tuesday was deluged by complaints about flooding and dilapidated properties.

But the angst was tempered by a couple dashes of hope: Council awarded the job of tearing down a long vacant and neglected double home at 119-121 Greenwood St. to Walsh Construction and Excavating, Jim Thorpe, for $11,200.

And, council President Susan Solt also told the frustrated owners of a home attached to a vacant, mold-infested house at 132 W. Ridge St. that a man who owns other properties in the borough may be interested in buying the troublesome property.

Council also will send an engineer to inspect drainage along Water Street and will have borough Supervisor Kenny Hankey look at a flooding problem along Fisher Avenue.

Ruthanne and Ron Kehl, who live at 134 W. Ridge St., are at wit's end. they have been pleading with council, as well as state and federal agencies, to do something about the attached house, which has been vacant since the owner was forced by the borough to leave in April, 2010 after a long-neglected water leak damaged the house too much to make it safe for human habitation.

The roof continues to leak between the adjoining wall, and the water from that and flooding in an adjacent lot have resulted in the empty house becoming overwhelmed by mold. The Kehl's have been battling the creeping mold infestation and a burgeoning rat problem.

Council has said it can do nothing because it did not have a code enforcement officer.

However, Ruthanne Kehl told council on Tuesday that Police Chief Tim Delaney came out on Sept. 22 and took pictures and videos of the interior of the house.

Solt said the potential buyer, whom she did not identify, is in touch with the homeowner. The house, Solt said, is up for tax sale.

Solicitor Michael Greek said he has sent a letter to the owner, who is Lisa O'Brien, according to Schuylkill County property records.

Council on Tuesday hired a part-time code enforcement officer, Jamie Lee Nicholas. That should get the citation process rolling again.

That's also good news for borough resident Karen O'Brien. She asked council to again condemn an attached vacant house because of it's state of disrepair. The house was recently sold, but its new owner has failed to respond to her attempts at contact.

Council also heard from residents about flooding believed to have been triggered by a paving project on Fisher Avenue. Ernie Hill, Mike Doerr and Nancy Carnes said their properties flooded after the project raised the middle of the road so that storm water runs off the edge.

Council agreed to have its engineer, Alfred Benesch & Co., inspect the road to see how best to fix the problem.

Steve Tentylo of 226 Water St. asked council to fix a drainage problem that's sending raw sewage into his basement during heavy rains. The problem, Tentylo said, was that the borough put in a new 8-inch main last October. But the new pipe narrows to 6-inches at one point, and that is too small to handle the flow of storm water.

Adding to the problem is that in 2006 the borough plugged a pipe that once fed sewer discharge from a nearby property, whose owners did not connect to the borough system, into a creek. Now, Tentylo said, the sewer and storm water combine during periods of heavy rain and back up into his basement. Solt said council would contact Benesch to come out to inspect the pipes and suggest solutions.

Councilman Tom Keerans suggested council write to the sewer authority and ask it to pursue illegal storm water/sewer hookups to prevent such problems.

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