Property Owner Not Willing to Give Up Land

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KULPMONT -- This pile of rubble on Chestnut Street in Kulpmont used to be a house, but fire destroyed it in January. It has remained untouched ever since, which upsets people who live by it.

"It's horrible. Something should be done. It's going to attract God knows what," Bernie Varano said.

The property is owned by David Dubbs, who is staying with his sister in Shamokin. Dubbs says he could not afford to clean up after the fire, so his property stayed like that. Kulpmont officials started fining him in July. Those fines now total more than $85,000.

"I couldn't even pay 1% of that. They claim their main interest is the cleanup. If that was the case, why couldn't they clean it up and bill me," Dubbs asked.

Kulpmont officials say they could get a grant from Northumberland County to clean up the property, but in order to do that they would have to own the property. Officials say Dubbs is not willing to give it up.

"Until the deed is in the borough's hands, we're stuck. So the borough can't even step on the property? Technically we're trespassing," Code Enforcement Officer Russ Moroz said.

Moroz says Kulpmont officials offered to cancel Dubbs' fines in exchange for the property, but he said no.

"That's all I have left in my life and I have a shed on the property I can use for the rest of my life," Dubbs said.

"He's not working on cleaning it up. Every time we go to the magistrate the same thing happens. He gets found guilty," Moroz said.

David Dubbs is scheduled to appear in court in Northumberland County next week.