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Owner of former 230 Diner in Londonderry Township appeals case to county court

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/25/19

Online court records indicate that the owner of the former 230 Diner in Londonderry Township has appealed his case to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.

In May, the township issued five …

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Owner of former 230 Diner in Londonderry Township appeals case to county court

Posted

Online court records indicate that the owner of the former 230 Diner in Londonderry Township has appealed his case to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.

In May, the township issued five code violations against owner Essam Haggag, of Cleona:

• Having unsanitary conditions — exterior property and premises not maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

• A vacant structure and land not maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition.

• Overhangs not properly anchored and incapable of supporting loads.

• Roof and roofing components having defects that admit rain, and roof surfaces that have inadequate drainage.

• Unsafe conditions with siding and masonry joints between the building envelope and windows and doors not maintained weather resistant or watertight.

On Aug. 7, District Judge David H. Judy found Haggag guilty of all the citations and fined him a total of $5,252.25.

Now, Haggag on Sept. 3 appealed the decision to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas where, according to the court docket, it is awaiting the original papers and the summary appeal trial.

Haggag declined to comment to the Press & Journal on why he decided to appeal his case.

During his summary trial in August, township codes officer Ed Kazlauskas testified to what he observed on the property including that a side door to the building wasn’t secure or protected people from getting in, mortar was coming out of the building, there were holes in the roof and issues with the gutter line that was causing icicles to hang down in the winter, and the overhang wasn’t properly anchored and parts of the building were breaking away.

Behind, he said he saw items like mattresses and furniture that he described as trash.

“It’s a junkyard. It’s a collection of trash and debris,” Kazlauskas said.

Haggag testified that he’s tried to reopen the diner several times, but when he submitted applications to open it, they were denied.

In a text message to the Press & Journal, Haggag said he had considered selling the property, but he was denied too many permits in order to fix it to get a fair market price.

Records filed with the Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds indicate that the deed was transferred to Haggag for $70,000 in 2004 from Snodo Inc., which acquired the deed in 1999 from PNC Bank. In a letter to the editor, his wife, Helen Haggag, said that after a fire gutted the diner in 2003, it was renovated and re-opened three times.

This was not the first time that Haggag has been cited. He was cited in 2014, but the charges were withdrawn. He was found guilty of unlawful activity in 2015 after the Dauphin County Department of Solid Waste Management and Recycling cited him as part of the county’s crackdown on illegal dumping.

He had appealed that decision to the Court of Common Pleas, and Judge Richard Lewis also found him guilty.