Penndel residents not enthused over curbs

May 5, 2008 3:22:19 PM PDT
Sidewalks and curbs are at the center of a dispute between a Bucks County town and some of its residents.This story begins innocently enough.

Rumpf Avenue in Penndel is in disrepair and the borough is going to repave it.

The problem is that, under a local ordinance, when streets are paved or rebuilt in Penndel, the homeowners along those roads are responsible for installing and fixing the curbs and sidewalks.

In this case, the cost to each homeowner could be anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, according to Penndell resident Lou Aiello.

"My home particularly is around $10,500 in case the trees might need to come out," Aiello said.

Susan Evans, another resident, says what makes this even more alarming is that the letter she and her neighbors received from the borough states that if they don't pay the money, a lien will be placed on their homes and they face the possibility of jail time.

"There are pensioners along this road, there are single mothers. It's a lot to find. And what happens if you don't pay the money? Well, I guess I'll be wearing black and white stripes," Evans said.

There is a twist. The neighbors are also responsible to hire the contractors to do the work, pay for all the permits and have the sidewalks and curbs in place by July 1.

Local officials, however, say this is a fair deal because it's designed to keep other taxpayers from paying for work done on someone else's property.

"There's many, many people over the past 25 years that've been faced with that same situation and have accomplished it. I don't think that it's any different down there," Ward McMasters, Penndel Borough Council President, said.

The people of Rumpf Avenue plan to attend tonight's borough council meeting to demand some kind of relief or that the ordinance be changed.

Council President McMasters says as of right now, neither are likely to happen.