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Building housing apartments, business, may be condemned

Published May 14. 2013 05:02PM

Breslin's Hilltop News, which for several decades has been selling newspapers, Tastykakes, cigarettes, and lottery tickets at its 5 E. Ludlow St. address in Summit Hill, might be forced to make a hasty retreat from that location.

That's because officials of Summit Hill borough seem poised to condemn the structure housing the business.

There also are about eight apartments in the large, wooden structure, but only a few are occupied.

Summit Hill Borough Council said last night the borough's zoning officer will meet Wednesday with occupants of the building and discuss the situation with them.

Council members revealed they anticipate condemnation to occur and that the occupants, including the news agency, would have to vacate the premises by Friday.

The building is reportedly owned by Charles Bott. The council said the borough has corresponded with Bott for several years about the deteriorating condition of the building and that he hasn't complied with improvement requests.

Council members said electrical wiring which doesn't comply with borough standards and an infestation of bedbugs in some of the apartments are reasons the borough is taking action against Bott.

Attending the meeting was Hugh Sharpe, who resides in one of the apartments. Sharpe asked the council how long he has to vacate the premises if condemnation occurs.

"I hear different stories from everybody," he said. "Nothing is in writing."

Borough council President Michael Kokinda said Bott has been informed numerous times about the problems with the building. Kokinda said the borough's obligation is only to notify the landlord regarding such matters, not the tenants.

"I want to know what I have to do," Sharpe expressed to the council.

Sharpe said he already has begun making plans to move from the building.

"All of a sudden I find out I'm getting a couple days notice?"

He added, "I want to know when this is going to happen."

Kokinda said the condemnation is up to the code enforcement officer.

"I don't know exactly what's going to happen," Kokinda said.

"As of right now, there are no plans," he added. "As of Wednesday, that could change."

Councilman Jesse Walck remarked to Sharpe, "I wouldn't expect to be there at the end of the workweek."

Susan Gibiser, the borough secretary, said Sharpe could fill out a "right to know" form and obtain copies of the paperwork between the borough and Bott.

Walck was also critical of state Rep. Doyle Heffley for getting involved in the matter involving borough zoning violations.

In another matter, a notice of violation was sent to attorney Robert Schuster, Bethlehem, regarding the Mary Stone Estate at 55 Holland St.

The council said the following violations are occurring at this property:

• Side entry to side porch area is missing the door.

• Loose and/or broken window glass exterior of the building.

• Gable roof section wood decay. Loose and detached rain gutter.

• Front porch is in disrepair. Structural supports supporting the roof of the front porch are in disrepair.

• Flaking and blistering paint on wood exterior.

• Rodents have infested the unattended property.

• The neighbors are trimming the grass to reduce contaminant of their properties.

• Miscellaneous trash and debris were present on the front porch of the property.

• The building electrical service supply cables on the exterior of the building are deteriorated to the point where water is entering the cables and the service is still energized.

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