Midday Headlines: City Takes Scientology to Blight Court

PMCThe Daily News’ Jason Nark reports today that L&I is taking the Church of Scientology to Blight Court for allowing the building it purchased at 1314 Chestnut to sit vacant for more than six years without the installation of so much as even one E-meter.

Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the Church of Scientology has obtained no permits for construction on the property and has been in violation of the city’s “doors-and-windows” ordinance since January for having “multiple boarded windows.”

As a result of the outstanding violation, Swanson said, the city is sending Scientology to Blight Court, a municipal-court hearing that could result in fines of up to $300 per day for each boarded opening.

Naturally, Scientology says the boarded-up window is par for the restoration course and claims it will address the issue soon. No news on when, you know, actual construction might start.

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Photos: This South Philly House Looks Like It’s About To Collapse

While driving through South Philadelphia on Monday — the same day that contractor Griffin Campbell was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the tragic 22nd and Market building collapse — I passed this house at 1402 Ellsworth Street. About 15 minutes later, I turned around and drove back to take these photos, because this seems downright dangerous. Read more »

Sympathy for L&I

Philadelphia Building Collapse

On October 30th, Mayor Nutter announced the creation of a blue-ribbon commission to examine the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) in a never-ending reaction to the June 5th building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets.

The panel is the latest in a sequence of investigation and rage after the disaster, which includes voluminous op-eds in the dailies and a formal investigation by the City Controller’s office. This chorus can lead one to believe the catastrophe was singular. In scope, it was; the collapse killed six people and was one of the largest structural disasters in recent municipal memory.

But Market Street was the Sandy Hook of building collapses. Buildings were falling before, and they have they fallen since.

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Morning Headlines: L&I Has Heard Rumors of Vacant Properties

center city philadelphia

Image by Duncan Pearson via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Sometimes it’s endearing when very smart people have gaps in basic knowledge. Let’s say, for instance, that a MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient still has a VHS player and doesn’t know how to program it to tape a show, let alone how to replace it with a DVD player. That’s eccentric. It’s even kind of cute.

In Philadelphia, this kind of knowledge gap is de rigueur for smart people in city government. Putting aside the number of middling intellects who work in City Hall, there are plenty of folks who are really bright. Yet sometimes they say things that indicate a lack of familiarity with the city that suggests they still have “Save Billy Penn” buttons pinned to their canvas tote bags.

To wit:

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Building Collapses in West Philly

West Philly Building Collapse

A home in the Cedar Park section of West Philadelphia collapsed Monday night. A neighbor, who said he’d  called 911 about the property, explained that the home had been in the process of a controlled demolition that was being conducted by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

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UPDATE: Boot & Saddle Hits a Snag


A Stop Work Order was slapped on the outside of Boot & Saddle a week ago. The order cites violations of building and plumbing codes. No word on how long this will delay Boot & Saddle’s refurb which had just begun.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Four Corners Management relays to us that this has nothing to do with Boot & Saddle, but rather that the landlord is performing emergency repair of a broken sewer pipe for the offices and residents above. The Landlord told the Boot & Saddle team he has applied for an expedited permit.

Cease and Desist at Corner/Foodery Spot on Sansom

This morning when we were heading over to Federal Donuts, we snapped the above photo through a scratch in the window at the forthcoming Corner/Foodery build-out at 1710 Sansom Street.

As we took the photo a big burly guy bellowed at us, asking what we were doing. When we responded we were checking out the progress he told us that he was protesting the construction.

When we returned to Federal Donuts a couple of hours later, a couple of Cease and Desist placards were taped to the doors.

Cease and Desist Poster »

News For People Who Like Bad News: Small Kitchen Nightmares

The Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia released a report this week that told us something we’ve long suspected: in Philly, it’s tougher to open a business in the food-service industry than in any other. The report, which studied the requirements for launching and operating a small business in the city, was commissioned to issue recommendations to ease the process.

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