Save Irving Street
from private ownership!
Our legal battle to "Save Irving Street"
ownership has failed, however as private property owners with easement rights,
we hope to keep Irving Street as it is today.
Articles in yellow
2014: The Commonwealth Court of Appeals upheld the
lower court's decision which was to grant us our private easement rights,
but also to allow the adjacent property owners to claim Irving Street as
their private property. According to the decision, Irving Street may
not be blocked or in any way inhibited from use by easement holders.
At least that is good news for us. Unfortunately, the public can be denied access.(read decision here)
Feb 4, 2013: After much thought, we have decided to file a post-trial
motion with the Court asking for reconsideration of the court order that,
among other issues, granted the Bigas-Valedons and Navarros title to the
east end of Irving Street (1100 block). We will provide more details
later, but thought that Irving Street's supporters would appreciate
knowing that we have not given up the cause in court and intend to
vigorously pursue justice for Irving Street. Lynn and Cliff Landes
Jan 25, 2013: COURT DECISION -- For the past
year lots of filings have gone back and forth, but the end result of the
trial is that the Court gave the Bigas-Valedons and Navarros private title
to Irving Street. While the Court recognized that we have some easement
rights, those rights were not as "free and common" as we believe our deed
entitles us to. The decision also gave to the Navarros the current
garden, a former sidewalk, thereby shrinking our easement by 30% and
making it difficult for us and other easement holders to exit vehicles on
that side of Irving Street. We agree with the Court's decision to prohibit
parking. The Court also gave no indication that any repairs needed to be
done to the street, sidewalks, or curbs, nor a timeline to do them, which
was the foundation for our lawsuit against the property owners and City.
As a result, we are considering an appeal.
- Oct 25, 2012:
Our trial was postponed until next month, November 15th. It will be
consolidated with our lawsuit against the city and the Plaintiffs, so the
City will be a party to the litigation, which is necessary as we are
contending that Irving Street is already a city street!
Lynn and Cliff Landes
- May 10, 2012: The court ruled in our favor to intervene in Plaintiffs'
Quiet Title Action. In addition, we are suing Plaintiffs for blocking
access to our easement and have added the City of Philadelphia to the
Complaint, as the responsible party to repair the flat surface of the
eb 9, 2012: Court hearing regarding our Petition to Intervene - We are
cautiously optimistic that we will be granted the right to
intervene. Judge Fox began the hearing by stating that she was inclined to
allow us to intervene, but she will render her opinion in writing.
- Feb 6, 2012:
Landes vs Bigas-Valedon and Navarro (separate lawsuit regarding easement
- Feb 3, 2012:
Bigas-Valedon Supplemental Memo of Law
Dec 29, 2011:
Plaintiffs' Response to our Petition (The plaintiffs' response is
defamatory toward us and Irving Street. Included is an alleged 1965 photo
of white picket fence which has been disputed by an adjacent property
owner at the time, who has stated that no such fence existed. Here is a
1958 photo of 223 S. Jessup Street from Historical Commission files, note
brick sidewalk and no white picket fence -
images/223SouthJessupSt.1958c.PDF. A former owner of 223 S. Jessup
Street strongly denies Bonnie Schorske's claim (Exhibit G) that he said
that there was "no brick sidewalk on the north side of the house", and
that he "indicated verbally that the property between 221 and 223 S.
Jessup could be claimed since it was not on the city map.")
Oct 27, 2011: Adjacent property owners have
filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County to gain title to
the east end of Irving Street. See
Quiet Title Pleading &
Exh G to I.pdf.
No. 00316) We are in contact
with our attorneys and will be responding to the filing.
May 24, 2011! Please
attend a very important public hearing regarding historic Irving Street,
on Tuesday, May 24, 7 pm, in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, Thomas
Jefferson University (11th & 1001 Locust Streets), Room 224. Read
May 3, 2011: PlanPhilly,
"Little Street," some big questions.
Not a great article from our point of view,
but reveals the thinking of the city, which we will work to reshape. Plan
Philly is "an independent news gathering entity affiliated with
PennPraxis, the clinical arm of the School of Design of the University of
Apr 8, 2011: Update -- Things are happening on the Irving Street
situation. We received the support of the
a preservation organization. And Mary Ann Womelsdorf of Councilman DiCicco's
office will be meeting with the Streets Department to review the Irving
Street situation. Yesterday morning, Cliff and I were invited to give a
brief presentation about Irving Street to the Design Advocacy Group (DAG)
It was a big group, with about 50 members attending. They really seemed to
appreciate the information we shared with them. Most people don't realize
that there are these undedicated streets that are not on the City Plan, plus
how easy it is for adjacent properties to annex them. What a deal. But,
definitely not in the public interest.
Mar 30, 2011:
Our letter to the editor of the
Weekly Press! Page 2
Mar 20, 2011, 2:00 PM: First meeting of The Philadelphia Society of
Small Streets, at our house, 217 S. Jessup Street, please join at
Mar 16, 2011:
Weekly Press: South Jessup Street: The other side of the story (wow,
definitely not accurate. 1) The caving curbs complained of in the article by
Bonnie Schorske are the responsibility of the adjacent home owners, whom she
is supporting, 2) The street is not in private hands, but has been
continuously used by the public for 200 years, which under case law puts it
squarely down as a public street. 3) Contrary to Hillary Wittich's claim
that renters are hanging flyers in their windows, in fact, all property
owners who have flyers in their windows are explicitly supporting putting
Irving Street on the City Plan.
Mar 11, 2011: Grid Magazine,
Private or Public?
Good article, but one correction, the Preservation Alliance of Greater
Philadelphia has not taken a position on this issue.
Mar 9, 2011: Weekly Press
article, Page 2:
East End of a Historic Street in Jeopardy Due to Possible Error In
Philadelphia’s City Plan Comment/Correction:
It's a good article as far as explaining the issue, however it identifies
the adjacent property owners as solely Dr. and Mrs. Victor Navarro of 223 S.
Jessup Street, whereas Mr.
and Mrs. Modesto Bigas-Valedon of 221 S. Jessup Street are on
the other adjacent property to the east end of Irving St.