Handing Out Tickets for Messy Properties in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE -- To clean up the city of Wilkes-Barre, health and code officials were handing out fines for unkempt properties near Coal Street.

Video shot by Newswatch 16 shows Michael Torres wondering why a ticket was posted on his front door.

“They cited you for what’s in your backyard,” Mayor Tony George explained.

“Cited?” Torres asked.

That was the kind of confusion some people woke up to in homes across the city.

Code and health inspectors handed out these fines under a new operation called Taking it to the Streets.

Torres was cited for an unregistered car and junked construction debris. He wished he was given a little warning.

“It's a surprise to me right now. Every day is something different,” Torres said sighing while looking at the fine.

People were ticketed anywhere from $50 to $500 for overgrown lawns, abandoned cars, even couches on the front porch. Most of the fines were in the $100 range.

Wilkes-Barre Director of Health Henry Radulski said every violation has a direct effect on people’s health or safety.

“You have accumulation of trash or refuse in a yard on a porch, that attracts vermin, rodents, things like that,” Radulski said.

A few doors down, Raymond Kupris said he has felt cheated.

Living in his home for 83 years, he saw the neighborhood deteriorate.

“I'm just about out of sympathy for what's been going on here. So no, I'm not sympathetic to them,” Kupris said.

He hopes this ordinance brings back the area’s former glory.

“You could go anywhere on the street. Talk to the people. By the time you walk to the corner it might take 15 minutes because you're talking to this person, that person, that's gone,” Kupris said.

Some people we spoke to were relieved the tickets were being given out because the value of their homes have been going down because of these issues.

“Nobody should live next to garbage. You buy a house. You take care of it. Everybody on the street should do the same thing,” Mayor George said.

However, for people like Torres, coming up with the money to pay these fines will be difficult.

“It's real hard, especially with the bills, winter coming up and all that. It's really hard. Every day is a struggle,” Torres said.

People can refuse to pay these ticket. A citation will be issued, and then they can fight it in court.

In total, the three teams of inspectors on Wednesday issued 66 Quality of Life Ordinance Violation Tickets.

The top three violations were:

  1. Accumulations of Rubbish/Garbage
  2. High Grass Weeds or Plant Growth
  3. Abandoned Vehicles

Code and health officials will be checking each neighborhood one day a week in Wilkes-Barre until every area is covered.

The first neighborhoods being looked over are those with a higher-than-average number of complaints.

20 comments

  • Robert

    All this caught on camera! How awesome that government officials are out doing something positive for the community! Is there an election going on or something? Stupid budget department will probably add the fines to the cities quarterly income and next years spending before the fine was received. Which of course it won’t be. I see another attempt to squeeze blood from a stone then blame the stone for not bleeding. The irony is these health code criminals will end up helping reelect the stone squeezing idiots that run the government. There other options that can help clean up your city while fostering positive interaction with residents of the community. Unfortunately that would take some time away from the governments morning coffee and doughnut routine, oh and a measure of concern that goes beyond reelection and lip service our politicians have mastered. Try me!

  • Frank Rizzo

    WBPD has been instructed by the Mayor and Chief to specifically not target dealers and gang members in order to keep crime stats down. Perhaps those are things they should focus on.

  • No excuses

    Sounds like the people who got fined came on here to complain about getting fined instead of cleaning!! Use this time to clean instead of whine people!!

    • The Clique

      After reading your reply to my comment- How could you not see that I was trying to help the working class evade undue harassment? You are a gem if you think these actions will not eventually happen to you. Whiners? How do you figure when I live nowhere near there but was offering free factual legal course when your mindset is “OBEY”? Are we whiners because we don’t grab our ankles every time like you? We got the message that if we stand up for ourselves or try to enlighten others to help provide for their families when strangers show up and demand money, give them what they ask for. Are you special?

      • No excuses

        This is not harassment at all. In life you have to maintain a clean atmosphere for your own health and safety. I am not saying that there are no other forms of citations that I do not agree with, but this is has to do with health and safety concerns. The food industry gets a fine if they don’t follow HEALTH guidelines do you consider that harassment? Having your garbage covered up with a tarp will not keep rats and other pests away. And I am sorry but if you have time to go out and buy a cover,you have time to remove it.

  • burtfan16

    Number one, waiting will just make it harder to clean because it’ll get worse. Number two, these guys have a position with the city. If they weren’t performing their jobs they wouldn’t decide to go and fight the drug problem instead. It’s not their responsibility.

  • concerned commuter

    I didn’t know code and health inspectors went after the crooks like the police do. They are out doing their job, inspecting properties. That’s what they get paid for. What’s the problem with keeping your property clean? Is it really that hard to do?

  • The Clique

    I know somebody that received similar fines for having a car on his property that was visually out of inspection but still registered and insured. He was working two jobs at the time and didn’t have time to take his winter vehicle to the garage. Turns out according to the law, they have to give you a written warning before they start writing fines and they cannot trespass on your property to remove a tarp. This is illegal. Litigate this situation and spend $30 on a 15’x19′ tarp, bungees and No Trespass signs until you can afford to “correct it”. These vultures don’t know what it is like to do an 18hr shift and are just putting on a show. Who called WNEP? Yep…

    • No excuses

      Yet you have time to whine about it on here? I am sorry if you have time to go out and buy a and tarp and what not, you have time to clean. I work 14 hr days six days a week and my property is spotless!! use the extra day to clean!! Stop being an eyesore for everyone else!!

      • The Clique

        Really? Did I describe my personal situation, or somebody that has probably only seen their home in the evening hours? Working two jobs usually means 7 days. The person in reference pays somebody to cut his grass due to his schedule. Maybe you should get off of your high horse and help your neighbors instead of assuming the world revolves around you and what you do? Too much of a coward to strike up a conversation with your neighbors? Move to the woods and get eaten by bears because the world usually has consequences.

      • No excuses

        Aww did I hit a nerve? You feel the need to address me twice? Little do you know Mr key board warrior I do and will help it neighbors with anything they need. Grass cutting etc… For the simple fact my children live and play in the area and I wouldn’t want them to be bitten by a rat coming from a couch on a porch!

      • The Clique

        I mean, we obviously want the same thing at this point. I just won’t call you a “poopy head” and act important. Best of luck being you.

  • Mike

    Haha oh you got a couch on your porch? Here’s your fine! I can understand actual garbage but a couch??? Is wilkes barre that broke?

    • concerned commuter

      Mice, chipmunks and other critters use the couch as their home. I don’t know a whole lot of people that like mice in their home. Plus they carry fleas that carry disease. Since they are warm blooded mammals they can also carry rabies.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Yet no tickets to the drug dealers on the corner….

    That city is in such a tailspin that it’s probably unable to pull out of it at this point.

Comments are closed.