Owner protests with purple house

July 9, 2008 4:37:30 AM PDT
A property owner in Bucks County is using paint to protest a decision by the Perkasie council.

The ironic part of the neon pink and dark purple paint job is that the owner says it's actually an improvement over what this particular house looked like before.

"The plumbing was rough.To flush the toilet, they dumped a bucket of water down it. It was just deplorable," current owner John Herzstein said.

Herzstein bought the beat-up property hoping to tear it down and either build two single homes or a twin.

The problem is that the plot is only zoned for one single home.

Herzstein says the zoning ordinances for a single home and a twin are very similar and that the property is big enough to easily accommodate two families.

It's an argument that's been in the courts for four years now.

So Herzstein and his partners broke out the colorful paints to show the local council what they think of having to pay nearly $30,000 in legal fees. But the borough says Herzstein bought the house on speculation and lost.

"The zoning called for a single, that's what it called for; that's why he applied for the variance to get a twin. If it was approved in the beginning, he wouldn't have had to apply for a variance," Perkasie councilman Harry McGonigal said.

Meantime, some neighbors here are cheering Herzstein as the underdog fighting City Hall.

"I think it looks better that it did before. At least now it has color. Before, you would drive by it and it would look like it was about to be torn down," neighbor Christal Gerhart said.

Others tell Action News that if you want to play, you have to play by the rules.

"I can understand their concerns about not being able to do what they want to do, but you have to follow what the guidelines are for zoning plan and what borough council wants," Perkasie citizen Joe Lippencott said.

Herzstein says he is going to pull the case out of the courts by renovating the home as a single with two apartments and then renting them out. As far as the paint job goes, he says it's staying... with one exception: When he's finished, he's going to add giant yellow polka dots.

Herzstein also says he's not kidding.