Glassport will raze ravaged dwelling
By Eric Slagle
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 3:46 a.m.
Glassport will use eminent domain to demolish a home damaged by storm-related erosion in July.
Council unanimously approved an ordinance clearing the way for the legal action at a meeting on Tuesday.
The property located along the 500 block of Cypress Way, belongs to Jerry and Joanne Wirbicki, who are opposed to the plan.
“I don't want to go,” said Jerry Wirbicki outside the meeting. “This is where I've been forever.”
The foundation of the Wirbickis' home was damaged by runoff from a broken sewer line during a week of heavy storms in July. The borough filled a large hole in the street within a week of the first round of storms, but the repair was washed away by storms a week later.
Jerry Wirbicki said the borough should have done more to repair the line. He said he believes the borough is moving too quickly to tear down the house, which has been in his family for generations.
“I want to know why it has been deemed unfixable,” he said.
Borough officials said their engineer and legal counsel have recommended the house be torn down.
Solicitor Gary Matta said it is an unfortunate situation but there is no way the problematic sewer line can be repaired with the house where it is.
“It was built on top of a sewer line,” Matta said.
He said the Wirbickis will receive “fair and just compensation” and he is working with their attorney, Scott Lautner, to reach a settlement.
Matta said the borough already has obtained an appraisal. He would not disclose the value of the home but said it is more than $15,000. Joanne Wirbicki said that was the amount the borough offered.
“It will be more than that,” Matta said.
He said Lautner will be able to submit a value to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, which will have the ultimate say.
Matta said the Wirbickis will be able to make a claim for additional losses and expenses incurred as a result of the ordeal.
Jerry Wirbicki said his insurance company has not yet reimbursed him for his losses.
Matta said the eminent domain claim will be filed in court by the end of the week.
Mayor Michael Evanovich said repair work on the sewer line will begin as soon as the house is leveled.
“We have to redo that system,” the mayor said. “We need to get in there.”
Councilman Thomas Bradley said the borough's sewer lines, which handle sanitary and storm water runoff, have been cleared of debris from last month. He said the borough used sewer cleaning equipment borrowed from Clairton on seven occasions in the past several weeks to inspect and clear lines.
Bradley said he will attend a rain garden and management seminar in Etna on Sept. 7 in the hope it will provide new information about dealing with storm water issues that can be put to use in Glassport.
It is sponsored by 3 Rivers Wet Weather.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1957, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- AIU forum bashes governor’s education budget
- License transfer paves way for new restaurant in McKeesport
- Watch is on for landslides
- Wilmerding Y surviving Ice Plant shutdown
- New McKeesport committee to focus on community issues
- Father-son funeral directors lead community
- Clairton Meals on Wheels puts new van in immediate service
- Army band Volunteers to rock Palisades stage
- McKeesport mayor answers critics of emergency timing
- West Elizabeth mayor tenders resignation