A handful of homeowners from Coldspring Road descended upon the township board of supervisors meeting Tuesday evening to ask for help with a problem that has been plaguing their quiet street in the Burgundy Hills neighborhood.
Resident Kim Boyle took the podium as the spokesperson for the group. She spent nearly 20 minutes detailing the many issues surrounding the abandoned house that sits next door to her home.
According to Boyle, the home on the 300 block of Coldspring Road has been vacant for more than three years. She said when the previous owners left they took the heating and air conditioning units, leaving the pipes to burst during the cold of winter and the house to fill with water.
Boyle said that while the water is now gone, it has been replaced by something far worse: black mold. She said there is such an abundance of mold in the house that it can be seen from the outside, growing up the windows.
“Last summer a family of foxes was living in the waist-high grass in the yard,” she said. “And now a large raccoon with a litter of babies has taken up residence inside.”
Boyle said the raccoon stakes its claim to the property almost nightly by standing on the roof, arching its back and puffing out its fur while hissing and spitting.
“It scares my children,” she said.
Boyle said beyond the fact that the house is an eyesore it is a public health hazard.
Cindy Rodgers, who lives in the home adjacent to the other side of the property, also addressed the board and reiterated Boyle’s claims.
Rodgers told the supervisors she is “proud to live in that neighborhood, but [she] is ashamed that house is allowed to sit on [her] street.”
Rodgers’ 19-year-old daughter, Jennifer, spoke to the board saying the mold is so bad she can’t even open her windows anymore.
“I never had allergies or anything before,” she said. “But now every time the windows are opened my sinuses get clogged. I just know the mold is coming in.”
Code Enforcement Official Ken Kline, who was in attendance at the meeting, said he was very familiar with the property as his office first received a complaint about it in 2010.
Kline said despite several attempts he has been having a difficult time establishing contact with anyone connected to the house.
“Unfortunately, it is in the hands of the bank,” he said. “Short of a court order, we are not allowed to enter the property.”
Kline said he reached out to the board of health a few months ago, but they, too, are largely constrained by the same rules and cannot enter the property.
A motion was made and supervisors unanimously voted to start the process to obtain a court order granting access to the property.
Board Chairman Steven Wallin told the audience that while this motion would get the ball rolling, that neighbors should not expect to see results overnight.
Wallin also said this would not incur any expense for taxpayers, as the costs associated with the process of remedying the situation would be recouped through a municipal lien against the property.