Neighbors Want Something Done to Nuisance Property

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DREHER TOWNSHIP -- For more than two decades, neighbors in part of Wayne County have been trying to get a property cleaned up.

Finally, they contacted Newswatch 16.

Many communities have a set of rules called zoning to hold property owners responsible for what's on their land.

For years now, folks in part of Dreher Township near Newfoundland said the township has done little if anything about a nuisance property that has violated those zoning laws time and time again.

Take a ride up Saint Moritz Drive near Newfoundland and you can't miss the towering fence on the left decorated with all sorts of stuff.

There's enough to bother neighbors who use this road every day but it is what's behind the fence that's bothered them for a very long time.

"It's what's behind the fence, there's old cars, buses. Windows doors, old decking," said Jim Pinto.

Pinto has been after Dreher Township leaders to do something about the property across from his home saying it's a health and safety issue, let alone violations of the township's zoning regulations.

"We need to get it cleaned up, the house on the property since the Sandy storm have two trees on them. There's no water running to the house," said Pinto.

We called the number on this shed and Richard Kearns, the man who lives there and who has accumulated all the debris and said he had several vehicles removed last year, then burst into profanity before hanging up.

In 2011, the township's former zoning officer sent a letter to the owner, Kearns' daughter Fawn, telling her the property was in violation and needed to be cleaned up.

Pennsylvania Outdoor Life featured Fawn Kearns in a story at Frances Slocum State Park back in May. We could not reach her for comment.

"As far as I can see nothing's been done to improve our situation," said Bob Lederer.

Lederer is another neighbor who has complaints about the property.

There are newspaper articles about the property dispute dating back to 1991.

In fact, humane officers have visited the property trying to take as many as a dozen cats on the property without any luck.

We visited township supervisors and the new zoning officer.

They would not go on camera but released a statement from the township's attorney:

"Once we have a formal complaint and we research township ordinances with zoning and sewage regulations, then if the owner is in non-compliance the property owners will be notified and the appropriate legal process will be taken," said Anthony Magnotta.

Pinto plans to file that complaint as soon as possible.

"It seems like me asking and asking and asking it seems like nothing's been done. Maybe you guys can get the ball rolling for me and see what happens. It needs to be cleaned up, it's a serious problem," said Pinto.

Township leaders said the previous zoning officer did not follow through on previous complaints leaving the property in the condition it's in now.

Richard Kearns says he's in Philadelphia taking care of his ill father.


  • skay anthemaybees

    hay ch 16.i am having problems with my neighbors.ya think we could get a film crew up here and do some snooping around.don’t mind the fence,will just rip the door open and have a look c.and while were at it lets drag one of there kids into it,….about 15 years ago ch 16 falsely reported a story on me and tho i was cleared of any wrong doings, the damage was done.i lost my job and was kicked out of the room i was renting.i had to live on the streets of scranton for a while.looks like ur trying to ruin some more lives.doesn’t scranton have needed stories to report on?you had to come all the way out to bum efed egypt to get a stupid story?.one that was obtained by tromping on the rights of someone that wasn’t even there to defend himself?what a bunch of cowards.

  • Dr. M. M. Logan

    To WNEP Journalists: I believe you should be ashamed of running this story about Mr. Kearns and his neighbors. And I find it astonishing that you cannot come up with journalistic work that helps citizens in NE Penna. be more informed and responsible, which is what citizens want; not this kind of sensationalism. Why don’t you do stories about how out-of-state companies are ruining the groundwater in the Poconos, or about the crises at state universities like ESU or MU–or some substantial information that citizens need to ensure a truly democratic society? The above story is a disgrace, and I believe you owe the Kearns family an apology. Do what you can to rectify this situation immediately, and stop antagonizing good people like Mr. Kearns and his family. If there is a real issue to be dealt with at or near the Kearns property–for which I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever–then let that happen through the appropriate channels without enabling Mr. Kearns’s neighbors to cause needless concern for him and his children. In this instance, your journalism does no good for anyone and, in my opinion, does serious damage to your credibility.

    Very truly yours,

    Dr. Michael M. Logan
    Greentown, PA

  • Rob Sparks


  • brittany

    ok, big rick is family to me and i hope u no what all of u just caused for yourselfs wnep. u had no rights lifting that fence. so be prepared for a law suit for that and not to mention a law suit for showing his number and adress. good job wnep. Rick is not a “horter” hes just a very creative person. and his animals?? there his life. he takes very good care of them in fact most of those cats have been there for about 15 years. rick is a great person he doesnt bother his neighbors if you dont like it look the other way.! thanks have a nice day.

  • paintgirl36

    I recently purchased property on this road. I am a college educated person working a normal 40 hour a week job. I wanted a piece of land where i can do what I want. Like roast marshmallows on a fire in my back yard. I admit…at first…the fence freaked me out a little. Then I stopped to ask “Big Rick” a question one day. My impression of him…hes a nice intelligent man. I like the fence. I was up and down that road every day last summer and not once did I smell anything bad. As for the cats…why dont you do a story on who has been poisoning them. As for the deer. Yes…deer not dear….this is the country. People hang deer and butcher them, get over it. When my guy gets a deer, you can be sure its getting hung in our shed.Would I ever have my property this full of stuff? No.Do I want something done about it. No. Live and let live.
    Bad move on lifting his fence. Not too smart (lawsuit). And nice timing on this story since you know hes been out of town taking care of his dying father. I know…
    Why cant we all just get along?

  • chris

    Greetings from gargoyle garage thanx two u all who support the….?rights…? Of gargoyle garage thanx brandi be rite back with much more info from the ?vortext?

    • chris

      Greetings from gargoyle garage aboard t h e mothershipp in the chrisprof conference room big rick wot a lovely comment emily thank u for a first hand encounter with g,g, uan ur family r always welcome now first message to pinto u effed up big time draggin fawn into this u now have to deal wit a. .?crazy vibrationaltsunami.? Directed to u thru mwe u will feel it in ur dreams …. Itz all out war. . To late for s.o.s. Watch ur p,s an q,s ur tax returns, hospital bills ur weekly wages from under table jobs….theres a freight train known as a inspecter general ss hiemlick manuver fraud an also a private fraud investigater roaring in on u….g.g. Will be rite back…….

  • Country Living...get over it

    Man you people who have issues with junk would NEVER last in Sullivan or Bradford Counties. Living in the country for 14 years now I have come to love places with “creative junk”. You don’t live in the city, you don’t have to look at that man’s house. You choose to be offended by it. That is your own issue. Try to have some self control over your emotions and see that this man is simply being a country man. Unreal. WNEP, how about you stop wasting your money on stories like this and get some REAL news going on.

  • Jane VanWhy

    Good luck with the zoning people…if they response like Stroud Township does here in the Stroudsburg area it’s like talking to a wall! Have the same health hazard’s & junk gathering over years. Always complaints from the neighbors, but nobody does nothing. The man always gets a fine and a slap on the wrist…..where is our rights as tax payers? Do we have to wait until somebody gets hurt? We want justice done enough passing the buck!

    • Jjones

      Let’s see how you respond when one day your freedom to live how you want to is taken away. If you want to live in a perfect, white picket fence neighborhood then move into a community, pay fees so a board member can tell you what color to paint your house.

  • babs z

    Well have read both sides of the story and some. It sounds like he has a hoarding problem which might be from numerous reasons.i am not hearing anything about a wife or children except the one that probably doesn’t want to be bothered with his for the animals, well when they start to die and or start causing damage to other peoples property, that will be another complaint. So in the mean time let’s just keep ignoring and breaking laws and complaining and feeling sorry.
    This makes good entertainment it also lets people vent and it brings out the truth of all of us. Just Bummer that there isn’t a middle to all this

    • paintgirl36

      Stop trying to analyze and diagnose people you dont know. He is WITH HIS FAMILY RIGHT NOW. Maybe his daughter doesnt want to deal with the press. Or maybe she is dealing with her dying grandfather.You dont know why she didnt respond so dont make assumptions.

  • Not in my backyard

    Wow! Can’t begin to think about how some of your opinions would change if that mess was next door to your property …

    • Heater

      My grandfather & father live next door to Rick. Well Across the street & it hasnt ever bothered them. Or me when I lived with him years back. Rick doesnt bother anyone & when you bought that house it looked the same as it does now. Heck it looks like that since I was a kid. I went to school with Ricks kids & they are some really awesome people. I think its pretty lame that someone called newthe caller is the one that looks bad

  • jpg

    Hmmm pot calling the kettle black? This is a small town and your no saint Mr pinto why don’t you just leave big Rick alone.

    • Jim Pinto

      You people have it wrong. It’s not about rick .. It’s the township and there double standards that has me … When the neighbor put a trailer in next to mine the township was up here telling him where it had to be… Setbacks from road , side property lines and so on..where my fence had to be!!! But he can just do what he wants, with no permits or anything.. It’s about my property values being low because if this. Maybe I don’t want my well ruined because of gas, oil antifreeze leaking in ground.. Do I need to keep going..

    • Heather

      It seems as if Mr. Pinto has personal issues with Rick other then the way he lives. I know quite a few people on that road & you are the only one that seems to have an issue. I read your comment stating your upset that he said he was going for your throat. What did you expect??? It really isnt as bad as they made it seem….you bought your house & it was like that already so I dont know what hes complaining about.He should have bought a different house I guess. & Newswatch 16…Why the heck would you bring Ricks daughter into that story. Tat was lame on your part. Trying to drag an innocent girl who doesnt even live there into your story. You made it out to be way worse than it is as well. Nice job building a story.I understand that it is your job but Mr.Pinto is just ridiculous bring his personal problems to the news. Its personal & he is obviously trying to get revenge on Rick or get under his skin for some reason. Good Job Guy. Karma is a real true thing & some day Karma will get you

  • Viewer

    Why in the world would you announce to your thousands of viewers that he is not home right now. Basically INVITING robbers and theives to steal from his hoard. Great job! Not only is he being bullied for his choice of lifestyle, he will now likely be robbed by druggies looking for scrap to turn into cash.

    • sam

      We have a guy being happy with what he has…… That’s All ! Yeah this is the problem > people wonder why people snap and fight, punch some in the mouth, shoot because someone pushed them over the edge. You can think what you want the truth is the truth. Just Mind you own business people. Some need to stay out of other peoples life if there looking to make it harder for them GOD. This is it just like all grown up BULLIES… You should feel bad 16 if you show support here… Good Luck Sanford and son… Man and sorry you have to deal with people like this……………………….

  • Jim Pinto

    Well john I don’t even know where to start. 1st I only opened a door on a fence that blows over into road to show the was not his house door. 2nd if the township would of done something about this years ago it would not of come to this.. If he wanted to live like he does maybe he should of bought a lot of land and had his own road on his property and do what he wants.. There’s laws we all don’t like in this life but we still have to obey. How about him living in his dad’s van in the road when he’s here. How about him never giving a dime to fix the roads or even to help plow them. No he waits for the road to be plowed and then goes and shovels it back into road .or how about when he stole my truck out of my driveway. Or head butted my wife in front yard as my kids watched.. Or how about 22 cats he let go up here to run wild. Well if ya were trying to get my Blood pressure up ya did a great job.. Do I like this man, no.. Then he tells reporter he is going for my that cool or what John!!!

    • Mike

      You know Jim. I lived next to a guy that was a hoarder. He had cats and dogs in his house for a long time until he died. We just plain ignored it. He tried feeding his cats in our barn. We stopped him with a jolt off our fencer hooked up to the door. He took wood and fire from our neighbor. Was his house an eye sore? Yes it was. now somebody bought it and fixed it up. Relax maybe you have a chance to buy the property and fix it up your way.

  • normal rob

    when people run out of things to complain about they always pick something, its just a eyesore from what the video states, but its a health hazard to others also? I see nothing wrong a lot of NEPA has junk in the middle of no where and on peoples property. but I don’t know, I don’t let things like this bother me but who know when I get old and restless maybe it will.

  • something needs to be done

    All I have to say is that no one has seen the pile of stuff grow over at ricks!!!!! Jim has dealt with this for many years, no one else has to live next door to it and look at it every day year after year as the pile of stuff gets bigger its a little ridiculous. Just clean the place up get rid of all the junk that has no use n some of it is a hazard!!!!! You people live next to him when he hangs a dear carcass up outside for all to see. Smells real nice when u go outside n its 90 degrees out. You people don’t have to deal with it. I’ve known rick all my life very nice guy, but enough is enough and something needs to be done!!!!!!

    • What came First

      What came first the chicken or the egg??? In other words what came first Rick or Jim . I could be wrong but when Rick moved up there no one else lived up there. Also when Rick moved in there were no ordinances about junk cars. This means a township nor any person has the right to tell him to get them of his property. Ricks a good guy ,,,too bad Charlie died it be nice for him to appoint Rick deputy again and see how things would play out .

  • Just Remember

    JUST REMEMBER, the last time a township was involved with a person and his property, they tormented him so much that he went to a board meeting and opened fire. Many innocent people were killed. His name was Rocky Newell of Monroe County. Lets make sure nothing like that happens ever again.

  • J. Pudish

    His property what he has and what he wants there is no ones business even if it is an eye sore. Which personally I like properties like this. There interesting and full of treasures. If my property was like that id tell everyone to f off. Personally people really need to worry about themselves and not everyone elses things. Leave emm be. No one pays his property taxes or his bills for him so what makes them think they have say over his place. Maybe he likes what he has and the way it looks. Wouldn’t be much different then him telling someone complaining abut his property that he didn’t like his shirt and he don’t want them walking in front of his house wearing it. Really no difference. Maybe that shirt is an eye sore to him. Leave him be. His property, his life, his things. Leave him alone. Doesnt look like that is in town. Back road? who cares. Leave emm be!!!!!!!

  • Katherine Lee

    You know, I understand this man’s house and yard is a disaster zone, but no offense, that’s his business. Everyone says be yourself and don’t care what others think of you *BUT be just like your neighbors or they’ll try to take everything from you, what little in life you DO have, because they really could care less about you and your problems, or anyone else.
    There’s too many people caring what your neighbors make YOU look like and if it bothers your eyes to look at someone else’s life and house, then don’t look and mind your own business. We don’t tell you what color to paint your house or what to plant in your gardens or how often to mow your lawns or what car to buy or furniture to own so stop caring about what they’re doing and let them live their lives, whether or not you believe it is the “proper” way. I always thought this was a “free” country but it seems that’s just the hypocrisy in America talking. Everyone’s supposed to be perfect and behave like we are all told, like “good citizens”. Yeah, if you want to be a bunch of extremist robots lined up to stick their nose in your life and make everyone the same as them. Don’t good citizens look out for each other, not nag, harass, threaten and publicly ridicule them? So what, the guy’s yard is a mess. Get over it and get on with your lives. Actual dump sites exist all over the country but that’s OK, because we hide those and pretend that land fills don’t exist and aren’t overflowing, so since we don’t see that, that’s not our problem but what some guy’s house down the street looks like is. What’s the difference if it rots in his yard or with the other trash that came out of your houses that the garbage man took this week? When you bought your home, did you buy his house and the other houses on your block so that you owned the street? No, then it’s not yours. Worry about your own house.

    I see things that I find “offensive” frequently, but that’s called freedom of speech. And I get over it, I have my own opinion, they have theirs. And making someone else’s life a public horror story is also wrong, even if it has some truth, it’s not alright to condemn the man because his yard “scares” people. It’s all fun and games until it’s your house they’re criticizing and your life they’re calling worthless. There’s also this thing called defamation of character, and this thing called “Do unto others as you want done unto you”. I don’t see any health-related hazards shown in the news video, and as far as the debri goes it could only hurt anyone if they’re trespassing in his yard where they don’t belong. Plus if this guy’s taking care of his ill father in Philadelphia he probably doesn’t have the time or money to clean any of it up. It takes a lot of money to move massive things like cars and buses, and unless one of his neighbors wants to pay him to help remove them they should leave him alone. Poor guy.

  • Brandon

    This man should be protected by armed patriots. There is more liberty being taken away by local officials rather than any so called “Islamic Terrorist” . We need to Protect this persons right to live free and anyone else is falling victim to pieces of tyrannical trash.

  • Brandon

    Leave him alone. What you do on your own property is your business. Shame on all of you authoritarians. Live and let live. When you think you have the right to regulate someone else’s life just because you disagree with theirs, then you do not even deserve to live. That one idiot claimed it is a safety issue. It is a safety issue when you bring a camera crew and walk down a snowy road.

  • James

    Leave the guy alone. Some of us moved out here to live our lives the way we want and to get away from people like you all. Don’t create another Rockne, they did the same to him. I don’t know what I would do if someone did that to me. I remember the “service” they had for those victims and all they talked about was love. Made me sick no one thought of love when Rockne’s problems started they just hated him because he was different. This is the same thing starting again. Go back to NJ and NY some of us came out here to get away from you. I am realizing I didn’t go far enough. It was nice 30 years ago now we are getting too many neighbors that look for trouble.

  • Respect Others

    See what I think happened is that one guy tried to buy something from him and was told no… so he’s trying the whole zoning thing to get what he wanted… Pretty selfish considering the property is on a less traveled road. And way to go WNEP posting his number how about showing some privacy and not showing it. That poor guy now has to deal with prank calls. Hopefully he sues you for showing his number.

  • Dave

    Leave that man alone. You don’t know him. You don’t know his life. Look away if you don’t like what you see. He isn’t hurting anyone. And who the hell do you think you are to tell him what he should do with his stuff !

    • bobby

      Mind your own business. Cast your nosey stones on yourself. You are all a bunch of crybabies! Now you know why some people go ballistic and start shooting rampages. If people would just keep their noses out of other people’s business this country would be a lot better place to live in.

  • jim brony

    Looks like it’s on a remote road with no close neighbors. Just leave the poor old man alone. It would be one thing if he was cooking meth or abusing animals, it appears that he is just ‘odd’ and doesn’t have much money. Keep pushing him though and you might have another Ross township on your hands. Let time run its course and when he passes, do your cleanup then.

  • Debby Harris

    Learn from past experiences…

    “Police said Rockne Newell, a disabled junk dealer, was upset over losing his debris-strewn property in the wake of a court battle with the township over complaints that he lived in a storage shed, built an illegal culvert and used a bucket outside as a toilet. Newell packed a rental car with guns and ammunition before opening fire at the Ross Township municipal building Aug. 5, killing 62-year-old township zoning officer David Fleetwood and two Saylorsburg residents, Gerard Kozic, 53, and James LaGuardia, 64.

    He has said he regrets that “innocent people got hurt,” but claimed township officials persecuted him for more than two decades. He allegedly told police he had gone to the meeting in hopes of finding the township officials in one place.

    At his arraignment on homicide charges the day after the shootings, a judge asked Newell if he owned any real estate.

    “They stole it from me. That’s what started all this,” he replied.”

  • Emily Jackson

    I used to live up the road from this property and I know this man and he is a decent guy. He lives his life and he doesn’t bother anyone. I used to walk past his place on the way home from school and was amazed at his property. I thought it was BEAUTIFUL and I still do. Barely anyone lives up there and nobody even talks to anyone else or at least they didn’t talk to us and I was friends with their children and grandchildren. The man who filed this complaint has given my family problems over the years and he is not completely without blame. I would get scared walking by his property because he had a nasty dog that they would either put in a large cage outside or chain up to the tree in their front yard and it would bark viciously at me when I’d pass and if it was on the chain it would jump at me and nearly choke itself on the chain. I love all animals even that specific breed of dog but it just scared me and my entire family. Then after that dog passed away they got a puppy and I saw it again chained to the tree. I still worry that that cute animal will end up like their last dog. I never had a problem with the man who lived in that “nuisance property”. He was always nice to me and my siblings and even helped us when our dog would get away so it wouldn’t get hurt by Pinto’s dog. Yes he may have things on his property that normal people don’t but that’s the way he likes it and I think it’s beautiful. He built that place himself and it’s not like he forces other people to live there. They come inside if they want to and if not then he doesn’t mind. There is no reason why he should clean up something that can’t be seen from the outside. He cleaned up a lot of the property last year when I was still living there and I was sad to see it go. The place looked so dull and boring after that and it just wasn’t as fun to walk by anymore. I hope he keeps it EXACTLY the way it is. I’m proud of him for showing his individuality and I wouldn’t want his place to look any other way.

    • Heather

      My dad & Grandpa own the trailer / home on the corner there & Ricks Stuff isnt a health hazard & it doesn’t bother them. I lived there too for a few years & you are so right Emily! Rick is a nice guy & is very creative. The guy that called is pretty ridiculous if you ask me

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