Philly man practices reverse Eminent Domain on city and they are PISSED!

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posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:26 AM
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This is the story of a small Philly businessman who had a run down lot behind his business. He tried to find out how to buy the lot to clean it up himself but got the runaround from the city trying to find out who owned it.

Finally, he found city agency in charge and made several requests to have the property cleaned, even offering to take care of the clean-up himself but got nowhere. The city never came out to clean the lot and even sent him a letter demanding that he not take action to clean it himself.

Finally he got fed up with the City's inaction and took matters into his own hands, spending $20,000 of his own money to have the trash removed and the land referbished. He took a piece of urban blight and turned it into a place people would be happy to spend time in.

The city is now considering legal action against him for his good deed of course.


Was spruce-up of Point Breeze lot a trespass?



THE CITY-OWNED lot, neighbors say, was in deplorable shape, thick with weeds and trash. So when a business owner cleaned it up last month, spending more than $20,000 and removing, by his count, more than 40 tons of debris, Point Breeze residents went out of their way to pass 20th and Annin streets to see the changes.

"This was a lot of garbage," Elaine McGrath said as she took in the carefully tended plantings and wooden benches. "Now it's gorgeous. I'm excited."

But not everyone is happy with the alterations - namely, the lot's owner, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Paul D. Chrystie, director of communications at the Office of Housing and Community Development, said it's a simple matter of trespassing.

Philly.com

To make matters worse, the city is demanding that he tear down all his improvements and "restore the land to its previous condition". I wonder if that includes bringing back the 40 tons of trash as well.


Another article goes on to detail how this man attempted to purchase the land in question, only to get the run-around from the city, even though the Community Development Authority claims he never made an offer for the land.


He said around the time he purchased the property for the coffee shop in 2008, he had tried to buy the vacant lot next door, but he said he was passed from one city office to another. More than once, he was told by officials that the city did not own the lot.

On four occasions, because some paperwork showed there were "Jersey" barriers surrounding the lot, he was absurdly told he had to contact authorities in New Jersey.

He said it took him years to get approved to purchase the lot across the street from the coffee shop, where he intends to build single-family homes.

Feibush said if the city allowed it, he would purchase the adjacent lot "at fair market value tomorrow."

ABC Philly

Another news source (which I can't find now) even went on to tell of how this business owner had been cited by the city 3 times for not removing snow on the vacant lot he didn't own and was even cited once for the trash on the lot he just cleaned up.

What I find most maddening about this story is the fact that he has received complaints and resistance from the community for his efforts to clean things up because they fear his "gentrification" may drive them out of the neighborhood.


"Finally out of frustration, I said, 'I'm going to clean it,' and that's when I rustled every possible feather there," said Feibush, who previously angered some longtime neighborhood residents who fear that gentrification will push them out.


Seriously, who really doesn't want their own community to be improved, to become a nice place to live and raise a family? Probably drug dealers and criminals, if you ask me. If his "gentrification" results in their being pushed out of the neighborhood, the city should give him a medal instead of threatening him with legal action.

What is a man supposed to do when the government refuses to do its job and keep its properties clean and allows them to become a blight upon the community? Is he supposed to sit back and just allow the blight to spread and hurt his business, or should he take action and fix the problem for himself after it becomes clear that the government is unwilling or unable to take the actions necessary?

In my opinion, Feibush took the proper course of action; he claimed ownership of the property and fixed it up at his own expense. If the government can condemn properties and use eminent domain to seize those properties, the people should be able to do the same when the government fails to live up to its responsibility to take care of those properties.




posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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As the saying goes.. No good deed goes unpunished! ( sickening! )



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 



Playing Devil's advocate here but:

Legally he was trespassing and he made a personal judgement call on the "appropriateness" of property that wasn't his...

Would you like it if I went onto your property and revamped it to my opinion of beautiful? I don't think anyone would...

Hold on a sec...gotta sift through my tabs and find that annoying add that's playing without my permission...

ok back...

Anyway having said that, Laws rarely EVER make sense...in this incident the man obviously made less intrusive attempts to fix the "problem" before he took matters into his own hands...he is willing to purchase the property and has handled the...

hold on...another advert playing without permission....

ok back...

what was I saying?....

oh, handled the situation about as appropriate as one would expect...the property was obviously neglected by the owner so obviously the concern over the condition is a bunk claim...by the owner or the city...

The city is just being...

sorry, hold on, another rogue advert alert...

ok back...

The city is just being greedy and controlling...because well, they can, they have the power to be aholes...



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:53 AM
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Awesome tale of those with power seizing the opportunity from those who steal power from other people.

The lawsuit from the city will be political poison and he is very likely to come away from this with an improved relationship with both his community and the "would-be" overlord bureaucrats who were "offended" by this man's initiative.

Some might want to ponder why the city was so purposefully and adamantly operating to create an environment that only served to lower the value of the property (and thus those around it.) I would hope the b/s manufacturers who appear to fear "gentrification" realize that real estate development and the city council all orbit the local Chamber of Commerce... where the disposition of "real living conditions" of the area are the subject of "political expedience" rather than the needs and desires of the citizens - whose property that truly is.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:55 AM
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Were it me, I'd have been complaining to code enforcement every day, twice a day, until something got done.
If code enforcement refused to do anything, I'd have contacted the press, and maybe spent that 20 grand on lawyers to sue the city.

That's just me, though...


+7 more 
posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:58 AM
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What he should do is send them the bill.

The cities around here will notify you that if you don't do such and such they'll do it for you and charge you for it. So i see no difference if it's the city or a person. I'm sure there's at least one city code it was in violation of and use that in his defense.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:58 AM
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Originally posted by Sly1one
reply to post by FortAnthem
 



Playing Devil's advocate here but:

Legally he was trespassing and he made a personal judgement call on the "appropriateness" of property that wasn't his...

Would you like it if I went onto your property and revamped it to my opinion of beautiful? I don't think anyone would...

Hold on a sec...gotta sift through my tabs and find that annoying add that's playing without my permission...

ok back...

Anyway having said that, Laws rarely EVER make sense...in this incident the man obviously made less intrusive attempts to fix the "problem" before he took matters into his own hands...he is willing to purchase the property and has handled the...

hold on...another advert playing without permission....

ok back...

what was I saying?....

oh, handled the situation about as appropriate as one would expect...the property was obviously neglected by the owner so obviously the concern over the condition is a bunk claim...by the owner or the city...

The city is just being...

sorry, hold on, another rogue advert alert...

ok back...

The city is just being greedy and controlling...because well, they can, they have the power to be aholes...



Damn ads..thx, this had me laughin' out loud as they would say!!

* there is software out there that fixes the problem however read the T&C's before doing anything
edit on 20-9-2012 by Ericthenewbie because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 11:58 AM
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They'll prolly sue him then tear it up on some sort of BS about it not meeting city safety codes/ordinance, if it does meet them then instead of acknowledging his hard work they'll create some sort of bogus ordinance and still tear it apart.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:03 PM
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well if i had not known that this was a story from america i would have thought it was from an english news paper .
we have these jobs worths here in the uk also .

health and safety morons state that you can't clean , mow the grass or tidy up areas unless you have been trained , whats next ? will they ban us from vacuuming our carpets unless we have a certificate to prove we have been trained to do so



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:05 PM
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Typical bureaurats He should send the city a bill for cleaning up a biohazard and offer to settle it in exchange for the lot.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:06 PM
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reply to post by tom.farnhill
 


Don't give them any ideas.

Government never met a tax it didn't like.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:18 PM
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I can't think of how many times I've seen some feel-good fluff piece on the news about some community group sending kids in to clean up some vacant lot to make it into open space, or a baseball field or a park or something and everybody is in love with the idea.

Then along comes this guy, he does essentially the same thing but, the city now wants to go after him. I wonder if it has something to do with him being a rich capatilist? Maybe they don't approve of him spending his own money, giving paying jobs to the guys who did the clean up work and re-did that lot to make it into a nice little park.

Maybe they think he's using his wealth only to try to improve his own business. I just have to wonder, if it wasn't some businessman who got fed up and took matters into his own hands and was some community group with unpaid kids doing all the dirty work, would the city's reaction have been the same?



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 



Even if his initial motive was for self gain, the spin off effect is still a benefit to the community in a variety of ways aside from the obvious visual benefit...as his business grows so does his revenues/taxes and his requirement for employees...i.e. win win scenario for man and community



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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I agree with Maxmars' assesment.

One has to wonder why the local government is so bent on keeping that area slum-like.

Good find, op.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:51 PM
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Set up Port o Pottys on the land and let the community defecate there.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:12 PM
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This is NOT reverse Eminent Domain. Even with Eminent Domain, the government entity (or whoever) pays a nominal price for the property being taken. Usually not market value, or what the property owner would like to get, but some money changes hands. What this guy did is ignore property rights of the city (no the city was NOT right to violate it's own codes -but that isn't what we're debating is it?). If he felt that strongly about it, he should have bought the property - thus giving him the RIGHT to do whatever he wants with it. But he didn't.


+8 more 
posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:30 PM
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The city officials were probably in the pocket of someone who wanted to buy the property when it was basically worthless. That is why they refused to sell it to this guy and refused to clean it up. This happens all the time. They purposely devalue the property, let the tax accessed value drop to next to nothing, then the city officials allows one of their cronies to purchase the property. Next they get a new appraisal and bingo, the value of the property magically doubles or triples.
Only then would the new owner be willing to sell it to the businessman who wanted to purchase it in the first place.
I lived in Chicago and saw this happen all the time.


edit on 9/20/2012 by Sparky63 because: spelling



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by therealdemoboy
This is NOT reverse Eminent Domain. Even with Eminent Domain, the government entity (or whoever) pays a nominal price for the property being taken. Usually not market value, or what the property owner would like to get, but some money changes hands. What this guy did is ignore property rights of the city (no the city was NOT right to violate it's own codes -but that isn't what we're debating is it?). If he felt that strongly about it, he should have bought the property - thus giving him the RIGHT to do whatever he wants with it. But he didn't.


Don't you just love it when people don't read the whole article and then respond in ignorance? He offered to buy or lease the property several times and got the run around. Offered to clean it up at his own expense and was told no don't do anything. They even cited him in the past for not clearing snow in front of it and trash on it when it was not even his property... The guy did everything humanly possible so now he cleans it up beautifies it at his own expense and now they want to take legal action when they originally cited him for trash on it... They could have sold it to hims made some money or leased it to him and had an on going income from it but no they exercised their superior stupidity and now want to sue him for doing the right thing... Sigh!
edit on 20-9-2012 by hawkiye because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:48 PM
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Not his property and he did not have permission to do anything with it so its pretty cut and dry. You can like what he did all you want but, this would be no different than somebody not liking your yard, then trying to buy your house, then just coming on to your property and doing with it as they wish. Was the city screwing up? Yes. Still you can just do as you wish with property that is not yours.



posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by MrSpad
Not his property and he did not have permission to do anything with it so its pretty cut and dry. You can like what he did all you want but, this would be no different than somebody not liking your yard, then trying to buy your house, then just coming on to your property and doing with it as they wish. Was the city screwing up? Yes. Still you can just do as you wish with property that is not yours.


Wow the stupidity here never ceases to amaze me... Geeze It's not like he built apartments on it or something. He cleaned up a bio-hazard and direct threat to the community and himself. I bet with some research I could find a half dozen laws at least that give him authority to do so and charge the city for his trouble.





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