SEVEN FIELDS (KDKA) — It is an eyesore in the middle of an upscale local community, a burned-out house that has sat empty for the past four years.
Officials in Seven Fields in Butler County say a giant bank and mortgage lender is to blame.
The burned out shell has a troubled past – set on fire during a bitter divorce – the wife went to jail for arson and the husband ended up in foreclosure. The community has been saddled forever since with the aftermath.
“It’s an eyesore. On top of that how does this impact their property values,” said Tom Smith, the borough manager. “As you’re driving through Seven Fields you’ll never see anything like this anywhere else.”
The borough has turned to the mortgage lender, banking giant Wells Fargo for help, but since the foreclosure two years ago, Smith says all they’ve done is board up the doors and the window.
“I mean all we’re asking by an ordinance standard is to fix the property up, there’s exposed insulation, no broken windows and it’s presentable to the neighborhood,” added Smith.
The Borough of Seven Fields has issued numerous citations against Wells Fargo for poor property maintenance and rodent infestation. Just last month, District Judge David Kovach fined the mortgage lender $18,000.
Wells Fargo is appealing the fine in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
The people at the Mars office of Wells Fargo said they would have no comment. But later a corporate spokesperson in Iowa issued a statement.
“This is clearly a difficult situation for everyone involved, and we are as anxious to reach a resolution as the community. The criminal nature of the fire and the numerous subsequent legal actions have caused the foreclosure timeline to be extended. During this time, we have taken steps to secure and maintain the property. Ultimately the investor on the loan – not wells fargo – will need to determine whether to restore the property or demolish it.”
Councilwoman Jennifer Sikora says she and her neighbors are fatigued.
“We’d just like to have new neighbors on the street instead of this eyesore,” she said.
But for now, the legal entanglement and this stalemate drag on, and the burned shell of a house continues to stand as a monument to inaction.