Resident threatens lawsuit against Honesdale

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 11/25/20

HONESDALE, PA — A familiar voice from the public spoke up at Honesdale Borough Council’s November 16 virtual meeting. His issue with the borough is also a well-known one to any regular …

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Resident threatens lawsuit against Honesdale

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HONESDALE, PA — A familiar voice from the public spoke up at Honesdale Borough Council’s November 16 virtual meeting. His issue with the borough is also a well-known one to any regular attendee.

Freethy Pond Road resident Bill Musgrove has been imploring the borough for help with a neighborly dispute for the past 11 years. The River Reporter first covered his complaints in 2016 when Musgrove told then-councilors that “since 2013, the house next door [on Tracy Street] has been vacant, and that the rapidly deteriorating property has become a public health hazard.”

The owners of the home next to Musgrove live in New York City, and according to him, the grass on the property is often several feet high and home to “critters.” Musgrove has also complained that garbage and debris accumulate in the yard until he disposes of it himself.

Musgrove has been to several meetings throughout 2020, always complaining that the local government has been giving him the “runaround” and that he’s tired of waiting for the borough to take action. His message at the most recent meeting was no different. Borough solicitor Richard Henry said that he’s working on it.

“We are in the process of taking a default judgment against the defendants in that case,” Henry said. “I’m also trying to calculate what the cost would be to raze the building because what I would like to do is… give [the property owners] a certain period of time to either raze the building or repair the building, and if they default on that… then we would have the necessary funds to raze the building ourselves.”

Musgrove wasn’t satisfied with this answer, however, saying that he’s been hearing that the property owners are being given “a period of time” to address the issue for over a decade. He also said that there are trees growing on the neighbor’s property that a local tree service has deemed unhealthy and a safety hazard to his home.

“I’m sick of hearing she has more time,” he said. “Why does she have more time to do something and we have done nothing?”

President Mike Augello told him that the borough “has to act legally,” to which Musgrove responded that he’s been told that for 11 years, remarking, “What a joke you’re making of the borough.”

After several minutes of back and forth, Augello told him that they had to cut him off and asked borough secretary/manager Judy Poltanis to mute Musgrove’s microphone. Musgrove got the last word in, promising a lawsuit against Honesdale, saying he had “so much evidence it’s ridiculous.”

Later in the meeting, councilor Jim Jennings commented on the conversation.

“I know that it can get frustrating with the government and citizens as we deal with these ever-present issues; I just would hope that we continue to deal with the public with empathy for their situation,” Jennings said. “It just has been eating at me how that conversation ended… realize that people are hurting right now, and they’re frustrated and they deserve to be heard.”

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