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Court Fight Continues Over Eminent Domain Issue In Nanticoke

February 18, 2019 GMT

NANTICOKE — An eminent domain dispute in Nanticoke is still working through county court.

The General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke filed a declaration of taking for properties along the 100 block of East Main Street on Aug. 28, 2018.

On Jan. 28, attorneys for the municipal authority filed the latest motion in the ongoing dispute.

The purpose of the project is to provide affordable senior housing and public transportation, as well as to improve the infrastructure, streetscape, pedestrian safety and economic development in the city, and those are valid purposes for using eminent domain, attorneys argued. The fact that private interests may also benefit is immaterial.

The taking should not be considered excessive, attorneys argue, because it fulfills a need in the city.

In its declaration of taking, 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.

But Nilved Apartments, LLC, owned by Debbie Massaker, and Clifford and Mary Lou Pomicter objected to the project.

Among the complaints raised by the Pomicters and Nilved Apartments are beliefs that the project will include additional commercial space and that some of the apartments will not be used for senior citizens. There is already enough affordable housing for senior citizens in the city, their motions contend.

The motions also say they believe an older adult center could be replaced by a YMCA and that plans for an intermodal center are not finalized, and that the possibility of those changes means the project does not have a definitive plan. The basis for that belief is a news article published in The Citizens’ Voice in 2018 about the project, which quotes state and local officials.

The municipal authority denies those contentions, saying the project does not include additional retail or commercial space. The authority also denies that any housing won’t be for senior citizens in Nanticoke and says there are not adequate vacancies at three other senior housing facilities in the city, Oplinger Towers, Nanticoke Towers and Park Towers.

Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2051, @CVBillW