Morning Headlines: Advisory Commission Sums Up What’s Wrong with L&I

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Months after the botched demolition that left six people killed in the neighboring Salvation Army store, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order that created the Special Independent Advisory Commission. The group was tasked with studying the ins and outs of the Department of Licenses and Inspections and presenting recommendations for its improvement. Those findings were finally published last week.

SIAC chairman Glenn Corbett and executive director Peter Vaira spoke with Marty Moss-Cane of WHYY’s Radio Times about the commission’s data yesterday in an interview, which you can listen to here. Below, some snippets:

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Panel Recommends L&I Be Split in Two

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

The Inquirer reports this morning that a “blue-ribbon panel” is recommending that the Department of Licenses & Inspections be split into two agencies — one focused on construction, the other on the remaining licenses offered by the existing department.

The report comes a year after demolition on a neighboring building caused the deadly collapse of the Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market streets.
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For Pete’s Sake Closed by Roof Collapse

for-petes-sake-raise-the-roofFor Pete’s Sake had been in the midst of an expansion recently. The bar at Front and Christian had been working to expand to a second floor. On Tuesday afternoon, the Queen Village bar suffered a partial collapse. Luckily no one was injured, but that doesn’t mean lives weren’t impacted.

This Saturday, August 22nd at 6 p.m., Old Swede’s Church is hosting a fundraiser that will help offset any employee and staff hardship during For Pete’s Sake’s closure. Admission is just a donation and there will be food and drink plus music from Sweetbrier Rose, North Lawrence Midnight Singers and Paul Fejko. 

Roof Collapses at For Pete’s Sake Pub Building [Property]
For Pete’s Sake [Official]

Morning Headlines: Roof Collapses At For Pete’s Sake Pub Building

Photo credit: Google Street View

Photo credit: Google Street View

Nobody was hurt, but that was a close one! The building that houses For Pete’s Sake Pub in Queen Village partially collapsed yesterday around 3:30pm. According to Philly.com, L&I is looking into what could have caused the roof of the three-story property (with apartments on the top two floors) to fall through.

Thus far, L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams said “a zoning permit for interior renovations of the second and third floors” was granted to Peterbuilt Construction back in June. That permit was changed a few weeks ago to include floors and stairs, and an L&I inspector paid a visit to the site just last week to go over “building and fire safety with the contractor.”

No violations have been found at the site.

L&I probes partial building collapse in Queen Village [Philly.com]

In other news…

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City Finally Dismantles Boarded Up Frankford Home

frankford home fire 2013

4712 Worth Street (center)
Photo credit: Google Street View.

It’s not even city-owned blight, which begs the question…if it had it been, how much longer would it have taken? After almost a year of neighborhood meeting complaints and 311 calls to the city, the boarded up charred remains of this Frankford home are finally being removed. And at a heavier penny than usual, too.

John Loftus of the Northeast Times reports that after 4712 Worth Street burned down last July, the city stamped it with the ever ubiquitous “imminently dangerous” label and barred its entry. (Although a neighbor says possums and raccoons still managed to settle in.)

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Midday Headlines: Why City-Owned Blight Is So Hard to Get Rid Of

blight

The city still festers with zombie properties, many of which have the label “imminently dangerous.” But we already know this, know the age-old adage of the sneaky slumlord skipping town to avoid fines or worse. But what of city-owned blight that endangers surrounding buildings and people? Doesn’t the government get around to fixing/demolishing its own first? Short answer, not exactly. Read more »

Former L&I Official Dominic Verdi Charged With Extortion By Feds

The writing has been on the wall for a long, long time for former L&I Deputy Commissioner Dominic Verdi, who resigned way back in February 2011 amid an FBI investigation into his activities. That multi-year investigation has now resulted in charges, with United States Attorney Zane David Memeger announcing on Tuesday that Verdi has been charged with extortion. Read more »

PHOTOS: Shirt Corner Collapse Part of a Controlled Demolition

shirt-corner-collapse-02-940x540

[This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect new information from a 4 p.m. L&I press conference]

The aftermath of the collapse at the Shirt Corner at Third and Market Streets this afternoon was ugly, but, according to the demolition team, it went mostly according to plan.

“It was a demolition job and the side wall spilled out onto the street, ” said Mark Christof, a superintendent with Constructure Management Inc. “The building is so close to the street that even the bricks flying out there could’ve hurt somebody. But they positioned people all the way around the whole perimeter to make sure everybody was out of the way before it happened.”

The collapse occurred as the demolition crew attempted to remove the top two floors of 257 Market Street. As a piece of machinery pulled on the building, a portion of the structure buckled and fell onto 259 Market Street, which crumbled from the weight of the debris.

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