Tips for reporting a nuisance property

There’s a lot that goes into reporting a nuisance property in the City of Philadelphia, and a lot of things that can come from it. Assistant District Attorney Andrew Carobus reviewed the process at last night’s Holmesburg Civic Association meeting.

Carobus is part of the office’s Public Nuisance Task Force, with handles the acquisition and auction of problem properties.

“We can’t promise you something will be done overnight,” he explained to the more than 30 people at the meeting. But, he said, the more detailed a report on a property is, and the more often neighbors call, the better the memo the DA’s office can create to help address the problem.

When filing a complaint, Carobus encouraged residents to be as detailed as possible about the issue, listing things like who lives in the house, who goes in and out, what time activity occurs and exactly what the activity is.

The task force can file a petition for forfeiture against the house, and if the owner does not contest or rectify the identified problem, can eventually hand the property over to the city for auction.

Police Report

15th District PSA3 Lt. Mulroney attended the HCA meeting with crime statistics from the area. PSA3 stretches between Magee Avenue and Rhawn Street.

Robberies with gun: down 24% and make up 17% of those in the district.

Other robberies: down 26% and make up 21% of those in the district.

Residential burglaries: up 4% and make up 24% of those in the district.

Commercial burglaries: up 28 % and make up 32% of those in the district.

*Stats reflect data between July 1 to Dec. 11, 2010 and compare with last year.

Carobus noted that anyone can attend the city’s twice-annual house auction (meaning out-of-state landlords), but the three highest bidders on a property are screened for things such as drugs and weapons charges and a connection to the previous owner.

But, Carobus warned, no process is fool-proof, and he’s said in his three years working in the Northeast he’s seen a “steady growth” in landlord-tenant properties in the area, many with out-of-town or out-of-state owners.

The next house auction will be in late April. You can reach the Public Nuisance Task Force’s 24-hour hotline at (215) 686-5858.


Holmesburg residents were invited to ask questions about expansion proposals for Holmesburg Family Medical at 8015-8027 Frankford Ave. Dr. Joseph Czarnecki , who owns the building, will appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment Jan. 4 His initial proposal for a two-story addition and reconfigured parking lot was rejected because of six parking regulation violations, most of which have already been addressed.

Civic president Fred Moore and other HCA members expressed concern about whether the parking lot is pedestrian-friendly. Moore also emphasized the building should “look like Holmesburg,” with a pleasing facade and green buffer.

Czarnecki , who was present with his architect and lawyer, agreed to work with residents to keep the building up to Holmesburg’s standards.


The Friends of the Holmesburg Library is seeking help keeping its programs alive during rolling brownouts. Now that the library has been forced give up its night and weekend hours, the usual Saturday fundraisers have become impossible to do. If you have an idea for a fundraising opportunity, email citykids4kids AT

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