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Effort continues to crack down on blight in Sharpsburg

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sharpsburg officials will continue to do their best in an effort to track down owners of abandoned properties, and the borough might try to buy one such structure.

Council President Karen Pastor said the borough has been getting complaints from neighbors of abandoned properties asking if the borough can perform some maintenance on the structures.

Borough secretary Jan Barbus said there are no regulations requiring the borough to perform maintenance.

“There is no written directive within the state, the federal government or Allegheny County that states the borough of Sharpsburg has to take care of the properties,” Barbus said.

While owners of some properties are difficult to find, the borough can continue to fine owners who refuse to clean up their properties.

“If you have somebody who is an owner, you can fine them, take them to the magistrate under the property management code,” borough solicitor Mike Witherel said.

Barbus said another option is that the borough could develop an ordinance that would charge property owners a fee if the borough was forced to clean up their properties.

A property on 13th Street could be taken care of by the borough.

Officials will consider buying a building near 13th and Middle streets. Officials said the building has become a problem for the town and neighbors.

“It's definitely a health hazard,” Councilman Greg Domian said.

If a deal can be worked out with the current owner, the building could be demolished and a parking lot built on the site.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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