SANATOGA PA – The years-old discussion about cleaning up, removing the structure, or rebuilding the crumbling former Citgo gasoline station property at 1258 N. Charlotte St., in Lower Pottsgrove’s north end, arose again last Monday (May 5, 2014) with about the same result as in the past: a promise from the township solicitor to further investigate the problem.
Board of Commissioners’ President Bruce Foltz charged during its meeting that a sign on the property was in disrepair and could injure a passer-by; he wanted it removed or fixed. Foltz then noted the township is still awaiting some form of legal solution to make the northeast corner of Mervine and North Charlotte streets, where the station is located, more visually appealing.
“It’s an eyesore,” Foltz repeated, and asked Solicitor Robert Brant if he knew of any way to compel action on the property.
Commissioners, relying on the township’s ability to enforce property codes, have had limited success since 2008 in forcing property owners and overseers to repair or remove fallen and potentially hazardous lighting poles and other items. During 2011 the township won a concession to have long-standing gasoline pumps there taken out and the concrete islands supporting them leveled.
Board members during 2010 had authorized former Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway to research the question of whether the township could and should consider eminent domain proceedings to forcibly purchase the property. Holloway cautioned against it.
On Monday, so did Brant.
The attorney suggested commissioners “tread very lightly” in thoughts of eminent domain, because its take-over of the property could burden them with an unwanted and expensive responsibility for petroleum pollution issues that have been documented by state and federal regulators. “You don’t want to have to pay for that,” Brant advised the board.
He said he would review Holloway’s earlier research and then report to the board. To get the more immediate sign problem solved, township Manager Ed Wagner said, he would call real estate representatives marketing the property.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ May 5 meeting):