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.