Nanticoke Property Owners Will Fight
NANTICOKE — Clifford and Mary Lou Pomicter and Debbie Massaker don’t want to lose their homes on East Main Street in Nanticoke.
They have filed responses to eminent domain declarations from the General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke that would seize their properties and others on the block for a development called the Nantego Development Project.
In its declaration of taking, filed Aug. 28, the authority said it plans to build a five-story mixed-use building on the site that will include affordable housing for senior citizens, a Geisinger center for the elderly, a parking garage and a bus station.
The General Municipal Authority filed for eminent domain against five properties. The Pomicters and Massaker have filed responses.
“These are all viable businesses. They are making money,” said Clifford Pomicter.
A Sept. 27 response from attorneys on behalf of the Pomicters and for Massaker argues that using eminent domain in this instance is improper because the Municipal Authorities Act doesn’t allow for eminent domain to be used for what the city authority proposes.
The response also said that the Nanticoke Housing Authority already provides adequate affordable housing for seniors.
That authority operates three facilities for seniors citizens, Park Towers, Oplinger Towers and Nanticoke Towers.
There are several nearby vacant lots that are suitable for the Nantego plan, and building there wouldn’t displace already established property owners and their tenants, the response said.
The response also points to news articles, including a Sept. 26 article in The Citizens’ Voice, that mention the possibility of commercial space in the development. An Aug. 17 press release from state Sen John Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp. about the Nantego project says it will include retail space below the senior housing, which the response said is another reason not to allow eminent domain.
The Pomicters have lived in their home at 135 E. Main St. for 18 years, and they own two rental apartments, which are occupied, and two storefronts, which are unoccupied. They estimate they’ve spent at least $100,000 on maintenance and renovations for their property. The buildings are hooked up to utilities and have a new furnace.
“That’s not blighted. They may not be modern, but they’re in very good shape,” Mary Lou Pomicter said.
After living in his home for years and pouring money into renovations, Clifford Pomicter is worried he will lose it as he’s getting ready to retire, leaving him and the tenants on the block with few options.
“They want to kick the elderly out to build new buildings to bring in the elderly. It makes no sense,” he said.
Massaker has lived in her property, Nilved Apartments at 143 E. Main St., for the last 20 years. She also owns 10 apartments and two storefronts on the block and has five tenants on her property, she said.
“When people say these buildings are blighted, it really makes the owners and the tenants mad, because people live here and people have their businesses here. (Nardozzo’s Pizzeria) next door is a three-generation business. People live in these buildings. They’re not vacant. They’re not blighted,” Massaker said.
Most of the storefronts on the block are unoccupied, with the exception of Nardozzo’s Pizzeria and Reams Chiropractic Center. Mary Lou Pomicter has had interest from prospective tenants, but no one has rented within the past year and a half. Massaker is talking to some prospective commercial tenants who she said are waiting until utility work on East Main Street is finished before possibly moving in.
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