Skip to main content

CURWENSVILLE — The owner of a duplex and a property under condemnation by the borough of Curwensville has asked council if he can apply for a building permit to make repairs to the structure.

Matt Rowles, owner of the duplex at 315-317 Bloomington Ave., Curwensville, told council on Monday he was asking for a permit to be issued. He also said he plans to pay overdue property taxes in hopes of renting or selling the Bloomington Avenue property.

Rowles also reported that there were people who wanted to buy or rent the former Branding Iron and Spinelli garage on State Street which he also owns – and he had plans drawn up for those buildings so he could obtain occupancy permits to allow new owners to renovate and use them.

Councilman Keith Simcox, who is also a member of the borough’s vacant property review committee, told Rowles the three properties were submitted to borough attorney Heather Bozovich last year to begin the property condemnation process. Bozovich plans to file the documents Tuesday to begin the process.

“The borough is moving forward with plans to condemn properties. You were told to forward the information to your attorney who would submit it to the borough attorney,” Simcox said.

Borough Secretary Terri Bracken, who is also a member of the Vacant Property Review Committee, told Rowles he could sell properties included in the sentencing process. Additionally, the person buying them should be told that they are being sentenced and that the new owners must meet deadlines set by the borough attorney through the court process.

“You have to provide the lawyer with the bill of sale and proof of payment and they will have the same time frame, maybe up to 90 days, to fix it. We will have to get it in writing,” Bracken said. .

Simcox told Rowles that the Vacant Property Review Board had been asking him for more than a year to submit rehabilitation plans for his properties and none had ever been received.

Rowles also inquired about the status of 628 Center St. — another property recommended by the Vacant Properties Review Board for condemnation. Code Enforcement Officer Tom Carfley said the property had a number of borough code violations and was the subject of a hearing in the district trial court. He told Rowles that the deadlines set in the hearing by the judge had not been met.

Carfley reported that a second hearing is scheduled for later this month on the same charges because Rowles pleaded not guilty.

Carfley reported that the Vacant Property Review Committee took action at its February meeting to have an independent contractor or engineer review all vacant properties that are in breach of code so that the council and owner can have a independent review.

“The engineer will draw up a list of repairs to bring the property back into compliance and the list will be given to the owner,” Carfley said.

In August and November, council approved the submission of several properties to the Borough Solicitor to begin the sentencing process after the Vacant Property Review Committee recommended it due to the condition of the structures. and that no remediation plan has been provided by the owners of the property.

Council approved a resolution Monday for the statement of take for part 315-317 Bloomington Ave. of the sentencing process.