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Borough requests site clean up, attorney's fees from Wrangell Ave. homeowners


Though a ruling was made Jan.16 in the case of Fred Triem and Karen Ellingstad versus the Borough, the matter is still not settled. After having the case under advisement for several months, Superior Court Judge Philip M. Pallenberg affirmed the Borough’s determination that Triem and Ellingstad’s property on Wrangell Ave. was a “dangerous building” according to municipal code.

Though this brought some sense of closure to the matter, which has been ongoing since summer 2013 when the Borough first sent notice to the homeowners to repair or demolish the home due to its foundation failing, the Borough followed up the ruling with a letter to the homeowners asking them to clean up the site.

“At this point the borough has sent a letter to Mr. Triem and Ms. Ellingstad asking them to get the remaining building supplies and the deck of the house removed, basically giving them just over 30 days to do so,” Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht said in an interview. “We’re hoping they comply.”

Giesbrecht added that some materials on the site pose a danger, especially to children.

In an interview, Triem said that the building was never dangerous nor are the materials that remain on the site, which he intends to reuse in a future building project.

“The things that remain on the lot are useful and can be recycled and that’s why they’re still there,” he said. “It’s not a danger to anyone. It’s not a hazard.”

Triem said he and Ellingstad do not plan to return to Wrangell Ave. but they have tentative plans to build a duplex on the lot.

“My hope is that the city will look at this as another building in progress and it will be patient, not waste more public funds on litigation,” Triem said.

The litigation of this case has cost the Borough $28,566 in attorney’s fees. Giesbrecht said that Borough attorney Jim Brennan is in the process of filing for reimbursement of about half that amount, the maximum amount allowable by the court to reclaim.


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