Unable To Supplant Owner, L&I Maintains Historic Germantown Home


Photo: Neema Roshania, for NewsWorks

Photo: Neema Roshania, for NewsWorks

  • The historic house of the Cope merchant family at 5357 Knox Street has been cleaned and sealed for the eleventh time, says NewsWorks and Plan Philly. Besides the aesthetics, problems have abounded for years (neighbor Julie Baranauskas has dealt with water leakage and mold issues for a decade now) and attempts to purchase and flip the house have been rebuffed. With the structure judged as being “unsafe but not imminently dangerous” and all property taxes up to date, there’s little for L&I to do than stabilize, commiserate with the rightfully upset neighbors, and wait. “L&I does abatement work around public safety hazards,” says communications and policy officer Rebecca Corcoran Swanson, “but we’re not keeping the man’s property for him. We don’t fix up old houses.”
  • At a heavily attended hearing yesterday, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez‘s land bank bill has already been approved by the Committee on Public Property and Public Works, reports Plan Philly. Key provisions were amended to the bill by Council President Darrell Clarke, such as the need for any transfer of property to be approved by the Vacant Property Review Committee (“a group comprised of the heads of many city agencies”) in addition to City Council. In fact, Clarke would prefer for the VRPC having more control over the process, by requiring its approval to acquire any plot. “The Land Bank could become the assignee of tax liens, could request that a tax-delinquent property be put up for upset sale or judicial sale, and would get dibs on deciding whether to pursue a property being sent to sheriff sale. It would be instructed to ‘maintain a preference’ for keeping owner-occupants in their homes.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

Send a message!

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

March 20, 2018  |  News

As modern urban renewal continues to erase African-American history in North Philly, one group works against the odds to preserve a renowned Philadelphia artist's legacy. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

March 19, 2018  |  Vantage

University City District's beautification of the 40th Street Trolley Portal was high on concept, but appears to have fumbled on delivery. Contributor Ann de Forest has the full review > more

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor's Preservation Task Force Meeting

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor’s Preservation Task Force Meeting

March 15, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened today following the release of a draft of a summary of summaries on the state of preservation in Philadelphia. Logistical bickering and sticker activities ensued. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

Remembering Philly's 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

Remembering Philly’s 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

March 13, 2018  |  Vantage

On the eve of the national student walkout honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, Michael Bixler takes a look back at November 17, 1967 when teenage activists demonstrating for equal rights became the target of a violent police attack > more

Oscar's Tavern Still Parties Like It's 1972

Oscar’s Tavern Still Parties Like It’s 1972

March 12, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow saddles up to the bar at Oscar's Tavern where the spirit of "Old Philadelphia" is as effervescent as their lagers > more

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

March 9, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a whirlwind exploration of Philadelphia's notorious garbage problem, starting with the long-gone East Central Incinerator at Penn's Landing and then sailing around the globe before returning to today's trashy situation > more