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Man's blighted Germantown mansion to stay

One man is likely not the most popular among his neighbors in Germantown. The man owns a vacant 11-room mansion on a block there. The residential real estate has become a burden to his neighbors due to its old, worn-down appearance.

While many might assume the city would step in and force the man to repair or even demolish it, the man has proven invincible to such attempts.

The Department of Licenses & Inspections has made attempts to remedy the situation, in addition to the Law Department and the Blight Courts. Usually, the Department of Licenses & Inspections forces negligent homeowners like this to repair their blighted properties. However, the man has endured over 12 violation hearings in Blight Court, yet, nothing has come of it. This has gone on for years. A judge recently closed the case.

At one time, a municipal judge was able to get the man to repair some of the broken windows on the home and also fix a stone porch wall that had fallen over. Otherwise, the man has been ordered to make additional repairs on threat of hefty fines, but he did not comply.

Many still consider the home to be an eyesore, with a pile of rocks and debris out at the entryway. Both the front door and the windows of the mansion are also boarded up. The paint on the home is peeling and the roof shows signs of rot.

One of the home's neighbors offered defeated comments to a local media source. She has attended the violation hearings and was disheartened to learn that the case was closed.

Just because you own a home, does not mean that you can do (or not do) whatever you would like to it. You still have to answer to various city administrators. Not all cases like this will produce a similar outcome.

Source: Philly.com, "His mansion's crumbling -- but city can't seem to take him down," Dan Geringer, March 12, 2013

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