Blighted properties and neighbors’ options

Local News

Every once in a while, we air a story that gets a lot of viewer response.  That was the case of the story about a homeowner on East 26th Street who is fed up with the property next door.  So, we wondered… what legal recourse does a property owner have if the neighbor is violating city codes?  and, has the city done anything yet?

Tina Quinn, a homeowner on East 26th Street, is fed up with the property next door.  That property surrounded by trash and several ‘No Trespassing’ signs posted by the city painted over, admittedly, by the homeowner.

Quinn tells us, “no, I haven’t seen any change… the only thing that changed is that he’s starting to build a door and stuff around all of the trash.  Other than that, nothing has changed.”

We asked what legal recourse a homeowner has in this situation.  Property owners can hire a legal counsel and go to court, but that’s an expense most cannot afford.  Or, they can do what Tina is trying to do and file complaints with the city.

Eric Purchase of Purchase, George & Murphey Law Firm, tells us, “She also has the option of going to the city because the city has ordinances that prohibit a lot of the conduct that you see on that video.  Rubbish in the yard, failure to maintain the structure, that sort of thing… but these ordinances don’t enforce themselves.”

While it’s up to the city to enforce the code violations, Tina says if the city had done that and enforced those violations in the first place, it wouldn’t have gotten this bad.  “He thinks he can do what he wants and they’re allowing him to do it.  Anytime, you can pay a $430 a month fine and paint over the signs; they’re allowing you to do that.”

This is a situation Quinn has been dealing with since July of 2013, and her frustration is growing, along with the piles of trash next door, as seen from her attic window.  Her situation, Quinn says, would be different if she had a different address.  “If this was in a different neighborhood, up in Glenwood Hills, upper Millcreek, they’d [have] been [bulldozing] this down… over National Fuel, too… nobody does anything because it’s an urban area.”

We reached out to the City of Erie Zoning Office about this property and did not hear back.

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