Bott Building condemned 2 days early
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS The Bott Building at 5 E. Ludlow St., Summit Hill, was condemned by borough officials yesterday. Occupants had to vacate the premises by 7 p.m. yesterday. They have until Monday to remove possessions.
The Bott Building at 5 E. Ludlow St., Summit Hill, was condemned two days sooner than anticipated.
Occupants, including a business, who thought they had until Friday to vacate the premises, were instead ordered to be out by 7 p.m. yesterday.
They have until Monday to remove belongings but can enter the building only if accompanied by someone from the borough, such as a police officer.
Borough officials said the condemnation occurred earlier at the request of the building owner, Charles Bott.
It was first revealed at Monday's meeting of Summit Hill Borough Council that the building would be condemned. One resident said he hadn't known about this until he read about it in the newspaper.
Donna Breslin, owner of Breslin's Hilltop News, which has been located in the building for decades, said she was initially told she would have until Friday to move. Breslin's sells lottery tickets, so the owner made arrangements to have the lottery machines moved on Thursday.
Then yesterday, borough officials told her no customers would be permitted on the premises after 7 p.m.
She said she would probably offer curbside lottery service this morning until the ticket machines are moved by the Lottery Commission employees.
Breslin said she was fortunate in finding a new location for her business.
She was offered space at Slice Pizza at Chestnut and Ludlow Street where she will continue to sell lottery tickets, newspapers, and accept utility bill payments.
Borough council President Mike Kokinda visited Breslin to see if she needed assistance.
Council members said the condemnation occurred because Bott failed to bring his building to compliance with the borough's zoning regulations. They said they have been asking Bott to make improvements for a couple of years without results.
One resident of the building said Bott planted flowers in a front porch flower box on Tuesday, the day before the condemnation.
Councilman Jesse Walck said he has been trying to find housing for the occupants of the building.
"I have been on the phone most of the day looking for emergency housing for those that didn't take the proceedings seriously, but unfortunately there are no programs in the county that those affected would qualify for," he said.
Walck added that the borough will follow through with safety procedures, including having the building fumigated. At the council meeting, it was stated some apartments were infested with bedbugs.
There are reportedly eight to 10 apartments in the large building, but only a few remained occupied.
Walck added that if Bott declines to repair the building or tear it down, the borough would proceed with eventual demolition.
He said, "We certainly have the funds to take care of the infestation and if it got to the point where the owner, be it a bank or the current owner, let the structure deteriorate to a condition where it was unsafe to the general public, then we would tear it down. The effect that tearing that building down would have on our budget would not be new borrowing. Instead it would slow down equipment improvements and early payoff of debt."