West Penn Township Code Enforcement. Lehigh Engineering, “Condemns” Trailer .. The End?

This neighboring property has finally been condemned by West Penn Township Zoning officer, Ralph Hummel Jr. of Lehigh Engineering.   However, this does not affect my neighbor since he lives in the car anyway and it does not mean that the property will be cleaned up any time in the near future.  (It does mean that the rodents must be pleased to be able to breed peacefully now in their ‘nesting trailer’.   I doubt that this “officer” even dared to enter the trailer to inspect inside.  Selective Enforcement? OR is the Lehigh Engineering official Incompetent???? 

Dan paid $50,000 cash in 2016 for this trailer next door (it did NOT look like this then!) but instead of improving the illegal sewer system and water supply, he started destroying it – he removed sewer and water access, blew up the electrical panel, and tore off siding and insulation (which he is burying). Eventually, he could no longer live inside because of the mold and rodent infestation.

He has no water, sewer, or electricity and no bills to pay. He lives in a junk car at the property entrance and his ‘toilet’ is the ground.  Apparently, West Penn Township condones the dropping of pants and urinating, wherever you are at the time.  As an ‘outsider’ in this rural village, I was required to install a legal sewer system, but why is he exempt? Why is he permitted to live illegally and use  junk cars as “structures” for living purposes?  Selective Enforcement?

Since he has a history of schizophrenia, alcoholism, and drug abuse, this guy receives Social Security Disability Benefits (for the purchase of alcohol, drugs, and electronics – he has no normal living expenses.) YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK? His SSDI income is given without any requirements and they do not check on his welfare, but some people are denied Disability checks even when they need it for food, shelter, or medical expenses. Some recipients of this income for a mental disability are given a representative to control the funds to ensure that the money is used for living expenses instead of for drugs and alcohol.

West Penn Township Zoning officer, Ralph Hummel Jr. of Lehigh Engineering in Pottsville, PA was reluctant to enforce any of the zoning ordinances that Dan is violating. I was told that Mr. Hummel had to first ask permission from the chief of police, Brian Johnson, to address any ordinance violations.  (WTF?  Unfortunately, it appears that the bias in this rural village protects some like Dan’s neighbor friend, so should assume that he is now also ‘above the law’?  Dan told me that he does not buy our neighbors’ Meth, just the Weed at $100/bag)  Selective Enforcement?  Corruption?

Mr. Hummel did finally condemn the trailer 6Nov19 – on paper, but he either can’t or won’t enforce the zoning and property maintenance ordinances. When I heard complaints about how it costs them money every time Lehigh Engineering has to go to an inspection, I offered to pay them extra to do their job – no reply, so I must assume the reason for non-enforcement is due to bias.  (UPDATE:  February 2020: According to the township invoices, after MR Ralph Hummel posted the pretty notices in November of 2019, he simply called him in December to give AN EXTENSION OF TIME – and it only cost West Penn Twp $19.50 for the phone call!)

According to West Penn Township Ordinances, the zoning officer should have given Dan a deadline to complete the compliance, but he did not. Our “Code Enforcement” officer only ‘asked’ Dan what his ‘plan’ was. So all Dan had to say was that ‘someday’ Les will come back from FL to help .. meanwhile, all he has to do is move a shovel from one place to another every few months to show “progress”?  Selective Enforcement?  OR does this “official” just lack the guts to enforce the codes???

I have always had respect for all law enforcement, and believed that I could trust them all to protect and serve all residents equally – but since a few of our local officials believe that they are ‘above the law’ and put their personal relationships above impartial law enforcement, they have lost my trust and respect. I have witnessed too much selective enforcement and bias in this township. How can there be fair and just law enforcement in a rural town where it appears that almost everyone is ‘connected’ in some way?

West Penn Township CODE 810.B.2.d
If it appears that a violation of any zoning provisions has occurred, the zoning officer shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending an enforcement notice as provided below:
2. An enforcement notice shall state at least the following:
d. The date before which the steps for compliance must be commenced and the date before which the steps must be completed

According to the township response on the complaint, it appears that Dan’s neighbor will take charge when he comes back from wintering in FL.

Should I assume by this Official Township Response to the complaint below that this matter is on ‘hold’ until the neighbor friend comes back from FL in the spring?

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