Catasauqua Press

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Owner attempts to save 2nd St. property

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by JAMES BUNTING Special to The Press in Local News

North Catty council accepts plan with conditions, calls off demolition

An 11th-hour plea from the owner of 1020 and 1022 Second St., North Catasauqua, has tentatively saved the blighted property from demolition.

Hyoungjoon Park attended the Feb. 19 North Catasauqua Borough Council meeting with his attorney, Alexander Ward, and a plan of action to repair the damaged homes.

Council members voted 6-1 to accept the negotiated course of action to preserve the structure, with Vice President John Yanek voting against it.

Litigation on the property began in April 2017. According to borough Solicitor Steve Goudsouzian, a court order was in place to allow the borough to “take the appropriate steps, if necessary,” on removing the property.

At its Feb. 5 meeting, council accepted the $37,500 bid from Walters Excavating to begin demolition within the next 30 days.

As part of its agreement with Walters Excavating, an asbestos-removal company was scheduled to begin work Feb. 20 before the late change of plans.

Park purchased the property via sheriff sale in October 2017 with the intention of making repairs and renting each half of the two-unit structure. Park said he did not receive a physical copy of the deed to the property until mid-December 2017, adding that the difficulty of scheduling construction during the winter delayed his intended repairs.

Engineers solicited by both Park and the borough have opposing views on the severity of a sinkhole growth on the property. Contracted by the borough, Lock Ridge Engineering recommended razing the property within 45 days.

Park’s engineer, however, disputed those claims.

“Although there are serious structural issues with the property, which he doesn’t deny and, in fact, he acknowledges, the property is not in imminent danger of collapse,” Ward said.

After nearly an hourlong executive session, both sides came to terms on an agreement. Park delivered a $5,000 deposit to the borough office Feb. 20 and is required to deposit another $5,000 by Feb. 23.

Prior to the next borough council meeting, scheduled for March 5, Park must present a detailed outline of what work is scheduled, who is scheduled to do the work and when it is estimated for completion.

At that same meeting, council will vote on Park’s project plan. As part of the agreement, all structural issues at the property must be addressed by March 22, the sinkhole must be filled by April 1, and the property must be brought up to code by Aug. 1.

Park is responsible for paying all fees incurred by the borough, such as the cancellation of the asbestos removal.

If, at any time, Park fails to comply with a requirement of the agreement, the borough will nullify the agreement and take appropriate action.