Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Columbia commission formally affirms property as blighted

The Columbia Borough Planning Commission formally affirmed 208-210 Locust Street as blighted on Monday night, as part of the certification process laid out by the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (LCHRA). The property, owned by Sam and Cynthia Bigler, was condemned last year when it was deemed unsafe due to loose and falling bricks and cracks in the front wall. The rear of the building was condemned in 2012 due to a bulging wall and associated roof issues.

According to Columbia Borough Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Helm, LCHRA gave the Biglers two opportunities to meet specific directives. When they failed to do so, LCHRA entertained a first and then a second determination of blight.  At a recent Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) meeting, the Biglers made an impassioned plea for a 60-day extension. The request was denied, and the commission voted unanimously to certify the property as blighted. 

Columbia's decision moves the process forward to the next level, which gives the owner ample opportunity to again meet demands defined by the LCHRA. On Tuesday night, the borough's property committee moved to send the issue to full council for a vote at its June 13 meeting. Columbia Spy's previous article on the process is HERE.

Under 35 P.S. § 1712.1(c), a blighted property in Pennsylvania must meet 1 of the following 11 criteria:
  • Public nuisance
  • Attractive nuisance to children
  • Accumulation of trash and debris or haven for vermin
  • Unfit for human habitation
  • Fire hazard
  • Lack of water, gas, or other utilities
  • Tax delinquent for two years and vacant
  • Vacant and not code compliant within a year of receiving notice of violations
  • Abandoned property with municipal liens exceeding 150% of value
  • Defective or unusual condition of title
  • Environmentally hazardous conditions or contamination


  1. They had nearly a year to fix it up and it appears they did nothing. Why give them a 60 day extension? Enough is enough. The game they are playing should be over.

  2. If council wants to start improving properties they should go along with the recommendation of planning commission and the redevelopment authority.

  3. What condition is the carriage house located behind in?
    With access from 2nd Street I know a person who would be interesed.