Easton Inspection Program Hits South Side
The city's block-by-block inspection program looks at the alleyways of South Side Easton.
Walking down Cooper Street on Easton's South Side Monday afternoon, city codes administrator Cindy Cawley saw something she doesn't normally see during property inspections.
It wasn't staffed by EMTs, or on its way to the hospital. It was just sitting behind a home on W. Wilkes-Barre Street.
The ambulance was just one of the things code enforcement officers encountered Monday during the city's second block-by-block inspection.
The first of these inspections, conducted last month in the West Ward, hit over 200 propreties around the 600 block of Northampton Street.
Monday's inspection was on a much smaller scale, looking at 42 properties in the 1000 blocks of W. Wilkes-Barre and W. Nesquehoning streets, but focusing on the alley behind those homes.
"The streetscape might be beautiful, but the backyard might be really unkempt," said Mayor Sal Panto.
Or there might be, to use an example found by Monday's inspection, someone possibly running an illegal auto repair business.
City officials also came upon numerous vehicles that appeared to be unlicensed, as well as small issues like debris and weeds.
Cawley said the codes department wasn't there to simply cite people for violations. That only happens in dangerous situations. Most of the time, it's just a matter of writing a letter to property owners to let them know what they need to do.
Sal Panto -- who joined in on Monday's inspection -- said the South Side "still has pockets of blight," but pointed to improvements in the neighborhood, such as the arrival of Neston Heights and upgrades at Heil Park.
During June's inspection, the city found violations at 133 properties, Planning Director Becky Bradley said. Most of them have been corrected, or are in the process of being fixed, she said.
They ranged from things like weeds "to larger issues like abandonment," she said.
Panto said the state needs to give cities the power to impose larger fines on owners who refuse to bring their properties up to code.
"It needs to be more than what it costs to fix it," he said.