BETHLEHEM Residents of one South Bethlehem neighborhood are hoping an approaching court date could close the book on years of complaints over an abandoned and dilapidated house on Willowbrook Avenue.
Residents said the home was abandoned years ago and has fallen into disrepair. Local kids often used the home as a hangout spot, but last August when the creek behind the property overflowed after Hurricane Irene, the surge of water caused the back of the home to collapse.
“It’s a terrible eyesore,” said Jim Goss, who has lived at the corner of Willowbrook Avenue and Orchard Street for nearly 30 years. “The house is disgraceful and it’s bringing down the values of our homes.”
Town Building Inspector Gil Bouchard said he has been contacting the owner of the home, James Albertine, since he took over the job in 2008. He has no record of how long the home has been abandoned, but said he knows his predecessors had contacted the owner when it started to get run down.
“I think I called him 30-plus times since then, and I finally decided to take him to court,” he said.
According to Bouchard, most of the home’s doors had been left unlocked and many of the windows were open so people could easily get inside. He also said furniture and clothes had been left throughout the house. There is an empty in-ground pool at the back of the property. There is no water in the pool, so Bouchard said it isn’t a drowning hazard, but it would still be an issue if someone were to fall in.
“You could pretty much walk right into the pool,” he said. “If somebody falls into that they can sue him, you you’d think the owner would want to get it taken care of. The whole property is a hazard.”