Tag: L&I

Morning Headlines: Controller’s Office Calls L&I “Evasive”

Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections delivered a three-page document and a reference to a 3,000-page report to the Controller’s Office in response to a request that the Controller be allowed to monitor demolition procedures.

Controller Alan Butkovitz has accused L&I of “stonewalling,” and based on comments by the Butkovitz’s deputy Harvey Rice, the document seems to have made things worse: ”Basically, what they did is evasive, which raises even more questions about their inspections and the work of L&I on demolitions and other matters,” Rice told the Inquirer.

Read more here.

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Dispatch: Could This Code Enforcement Strategy Work in Philadelphia?

Credit: Tim Kiser via Wikimedia Commons

Next City is hosting a live blog of the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, now ongoing in Philadelphia. This is one of Property’s contributions to that blog.

Every city wants to know the secret to effective, budget-friendly code enforcement. But if there’s a magic bullet, no one who attended “Creative Partnerships for New Municipal Approaches to Code Enforcement and Nuisance Abatement” on Tuesday at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference has yet discovered it.

The meeting room’s round banquet tables at the Pennsylvania Convention Center were crowded with people from Georgia, California, Mississippi — so many states and municipalities, all struggling to find a way to penalize absentee landlords and rid neighborhoods of vacant properties.

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Morning Headlines: Another House Collapse Challenges Suspension of Disbelief

screen shot building collapse

Fox 29's own screen shot

It’s as if a virus has overtaken the city, or maybe it’s more like when someone tells you they just got a red Fiat and all of a sudden you can’t stop noticing red Fiats everywhere. Unfortunately, a red Fiat is benign (provided you like Italian automotive engineering) and building collapses are not. Yesterday afternoon [...]

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Headlines: Is L&I Mismanaged? Plus, ANOTHER Collapse

screen shot of north philly house

A screen shot from NBC 10 of the partially collapsed house in North Philly. Complaint calls had been made to L&I for years, according to residents.

As we reported, City Council hearings on the building collapse at 22nd and Market continued yesterday with a raft of testimony from former L&I personnel, including onetime commissioners Fran Burns and Bennett Levin. While Burns was asked questions about the way demolition practices were implemented during her tenure, which lasted through last summer, Levin read [...]

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Building Collapse: L&I Inspector Dead From Gunshot Wound to Chest [UPDATED]

Fifty-two-year-old Ronald Wagenhoffer, who worked for the Department of Licenses and Inspections for 16 years, was found dead last night in his car in Roxborough. The cause of death is being labeled a suicide, though only the medical examiner can make the final determination. Looks pretty definite, though, given a text he sent his wife.

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Eighth Street Wall Collapse: God to Be Arrested Any Minute?

eighth street wall collapse

A 2009 Google Streetview of the vacant lot where the construction site now is.

A dividing wall at 606 S. Eighth collapsed this morning, leaving eight people displaced though none injured or dead, which marks a significant improvement over last week. The heavy rain–not laced with marijuana, to our knowledge–seems to be to blame.

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin, who lives nearby, wrote that neighbors were nervous something like this might happen:

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Building Collapse News: Demo Contractors Are Licensed Without Training or Exams

Griffin-Campbell Construction, the contractor for 2140 Market Street, was listed on the demolition permit that was granted to the project’s expeditor, L&I spokesperson Maura Kennedy told us today. That was echoed by L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams, who told the press that the proper permits were pulled and that Griffin-Campbell–hired by STB Investments, aka Richard Basciano, who owned the building–was licensed as a contractor.

Griffin-Campbell is indeed listed on L&I’s website under Licensed Contractors, but what does that mean? Kennedy says it means they’ve gone through the necessary steps for licensure, including obtaining appropriate insurance. But unlike some of the other specialized licenses, contractors don’t need to take an exam or have specialized training–to put it lightly. In fact, pretty much anyone you’re sitting next to, looking at, thinking about or hating on right now could be a demolition contractor.

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