Coffee shop owner in hot water over cleaning lot

POINT BREEZE - September 19, 2012

Ori Feibush owns the OCF Coffee Shop at 20th and Federal streets in Point Breeze.

An overgrown, unused lot owned by the city had sat next to his café and he claims his repeated attempts to have the city clean it up or sell it to him went nowhere.

So he took the initiative to spruce up the blighted property on his own. Feibush says he spent close to $30,000 replacing sidewalks, removing trash, and adding mulch and benches.

But the city's Office of Housing and Community Development had asked Feibush to stop the work, saying he didn't follow proper protocol and that if someone gets hurt there now, taxpayers will pay the bill in a lawsuit.

Feibush is incredulous.

"I got rid of debris, I cleaned up the lot and they're telling me that I'm the one causing the liability? Not the city of Philadelphia that sat on 14,000 vacant lots for the last 30 to 40 years and done nothing with them?" Feibush said.

A spokesperson also told Action News the city did clean up the lot on August 10th.

He also said the property is publicly owned and the city had several offers to buy and Feibush had no rights to redevelop it without approval.

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