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Perkasie Council hears definition of 'public nuisance' from resident

By Lou Gombocz, Jr., WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 05 2014 12:00:18 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 05 2014 06:20:40 AM CDT
Perkasie Borough Council meeting
PERKASIE, Pa. -

Perkasie Borough Council Monday heard a prepared statement from a downtown resident who quoted from the PA Legislator's Municipal Handbook as to what exactly defines a "public nuisance" and what can be done about eliminating one.

According to Jared Brinsmade, who lives at 811 W. Chestnut Street, the "public nuisance" he referred to is a 10-unit apartment building located on the corner of Eighth and Chestnut streets that neighbors say is an outlet for various criminal activities.

In his statement, Brinsmade said this is the second time he is bringing the matter before council in writing and wants borough officials to take the neighborhood's complaints seriously and act to make sure multiple building code violations are corrected.

He initially contacted borough council, the manager, and the police chief in writing at council's July 7, 2014 meeting and received no response.

Brismade said after the July meeting, he was told by Perkasie Police Chief Steven Hillias there was nothing officials could do about the alleged activities of some of the residents occupying 42 S. Eighth Street owned by Thomas and Elaine May Wismer of Perkasie.

Brismade said in literature from Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams' public nuisance task force, violators of the law are identified as well as how to initiate legal actions including abatements and suits for damages.

He continued, "The criteria for all forms of public and private nuisances can vary, but are clearly defined for initiating legal action by either groups or individuals."

According to the PA Legislator's Municipal Handbook, he explained, some of the criteria that determine whether a public nuisance is an unreasonable interference are "whether the conduct involves a significant interference with public health, peace, comfort, and convenience, or has had a significant effect on the public's rights."

Furthermore, said Brismade, a public nuisance does not have to be explicitly prohibited by statute and certain acts have been declared a public nuisance as a matter of common law.

In most cases, legal action begins with the affected local municipality; however, if the local officials refuse to act on nuisance matters they can be turned over to state or federal authorities for resolution.

Brismade also released a list of necessary repairs to the building and property which included---a new roof and porch, landscaping, code upgrades and finishes, paint, and background checks for tenants and a code of conduct contract.