PHILADELPHIA – Today the City of Philadelphia and the owner of the junkyard located at 2200 E. Somerset Street, the site of a four-alarm fire earlier this year, reached a settlement of the City’s court action against the owner for multiple long-term violations of the Philadelphia Fire and Property Maintenance Codes. A court order approving the settlement was issued this afternoon by Judge Paula Patrick of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
“The City is pleased that the settlement provides real solutions to the neighborhood by ensuring that the junkyard can no longer be operated in a manner that hurts the community,” said Kristin Bray, Chief Deputy Solicitor of the Philadelphia Law Department’s Code Enforcement unit. “It holds the owner accountable because he faces substantial financial penalties and the shut-down of the business if he fails to follow through on his commitments.”
Violations at the property have been corrected, and under the settlement, the owner faces an immediate cease operations order and a series of escalating fines if the junkyard falls out of compliance with safety standards for pile height, access lanes, and labeling of storage drums.
Also as part of the settlement, the owner will keep the junkyard fence in good repair, ensure that junk piles are not visible to pedestrians on sidewalks adjacent to the fence, clean adjacent streets twice a week, keep trucks and trailers away from a nearby playground, and take other measures to maintain the surrounding property in clean, secure, and accessible condition.
The settlement requires the owner to pay the City a fine of $125,000. Significant failure to comply with the settlement subjects the owner to the possibility of a $2.7 million fine.
“We ask for high fines not to make money for the City, but to deter unlawful and dangerous practices by those business owners who only understand one thing – a hit to the wallet. If you’re one of these owners, L&I and the Law Department are putting you on notice,” said David Perri, Commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections. “If you reject the City’s efforts to bring you into voluntary compliance with the law, we will take enforcement action against you and we will be aggressive.”