ShareThis Page
Fighting blight: Recourse for neighbors |

Fighting blight: Recourse for neighbors

| Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:15 a.m
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette is reduced to a pile of rubble in March 2016. (Trib photo)

Financing a proposed program to demolish blighted properties in Westmoreland County by increasing home buyers’ and sellers’ filing fees by $15 addresses a need: namely, the estimated 900 blighted properties in 22 municipalities that participate in the county’s land bank.

Abandoned properties — some owned by out-of-state residents — bring down property values if not entire neighborhoods. A process for how this demolition funding (estimated at $330,0000 in 2018) would be spent still needs to be determined. Meanwhile, the proposal before county commissioners addresses an issue that has dogged public officials for years.

As we’ve opined, it’s despicable when property owners’ irresponsibility gets dumped on the public to clean up. Indeed, it’s mind-boggling that a property on the scale of the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette would be abandoned and deteriorate over the years to the point where it posed a public safety risk along Route 30. Ultimately its $1 million demolition was financed through a series of state and federal grants. Today the vacant lot is the site for a planned commercial development.

Clearly owners who abandon their properties should be pursued by all legal means possible and forced to pay for their disregard. Pennsylvania’s laws should be reviewed and, where necessary, strengthened to expedite cases against property dumpers.

In the meantime, neighbors shouldn’t have to contend, oftentimes for years, with the rats’ nests of miscreants’ negligence.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.