“All housing related codes complaints are going to be directed not to the local magisterial justices but to this court.”
So said Mayor Eric Papenfuse in his announcement of the creation of a Harrisburg Housing Court.
In response to the call for stricter attention to the city’s code violation issues, Dauphin County has assigned two magisterial district judges – Judge Rebecca Margerum and Judge David Judy, to hear all cases involving non-traffic code citations issued in the city (Nick Malawskey, PennLive).
As it was, Harrisburg Codes Enforcement officers were handicapped by the normal magisterial district judge process. Too often, they are required to spend hours in DJ’s offices waiting their turn amongst traffic violations and other normal DJ issues in order to fight appeals to code violation citations. In the past, Deputy Director of Codes David Patton had stated he and his force have spent whole working days in the district judges offices, which takes them away from enforcement.
Mayor Papenfuse said this new system will , “relieve codes officials of long waits in DJs offices.”
The idea is this new system will be a deterrent.
The judges hearing these cases are not City of Harrisburg district judges; therefore, the hope is they will be able to initiate “dispassionate justice,” as the Harrisburg mayor said.
The new Housing Court takes effect May 5, 2014 and Judge Margerum will hear code violation cases involving properties on the eastern side of Cameron Street and Route 22/322; and Judge Judy will hear cases involving properties located on the western side of Cameron and Route 22/322.
As Mayor Papenfuse said, the idea is “This is not a place you want to be.”