The following elected officials were present: R. Carlucci; M. Cheberenchick; P. Coffey; N. Kovach; J. O'Malley; M. Warhold; R. Zezulewicz; D. Baumgarten; S. Torris. The following appointed officials were present: T. Hartswick, Manager; D. Biondo, Solicitor; H. Lane, Police Chief: J. DeFrancesco, Jr. Council Person.
The minutes of the January 24, 2005 council meetings were presented. Mr. Cheberenchick motioned to approve the January 24, 2005 minutes; Ms. O'Malley seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Mr. Zezulewicz opened the public comments section of the meeting.
Mr. Chris Reilly, 1454 Blossom Hill Road - stated that members of Boy Scout Troop #350 were attending to fulfill a requirement for a communications merit badge. The following members attended: Dan Reilly, Scott Fronvest, Adam Conroy, Andrew Barnhart.
George Orr, 791 Killarney Drive - gave an update on the water drainage flooding onto his property from neighboring properties. The DEP and Allegheny Conservation Department has been contacted. DEP corresponded stating that the power and responsibility to plan for land use belongs to the local government and discussed the planning code. Mr. Zezulewicz stated the borough cannot assist Mr. Orr since the situation is between two private property owners. Mr. Orr was advised to file a suit in small claims court. Mr. Orr requested a copy of the planning code, and Mr. Ross will supply a copy to Mr. Orr.
George Ogg, 5510 Earlsdale - had concerns regarding maintenance of a creek bed and storm sewer pipe that runs through his property. Mr. Ogg stated that Whitehall has stopped the scheduled maintenance to keep the pipe cleared of debris. The pipe opening will be located and municipal responsibility determined. Mr. Ogg added that the local contractor's building could cause the pipe to clog with dirt and the homes to have flood damage. Mr. Zezulewicz stated the contractor has a responsibility regarding any movement of earth.
Mr. Zezulewicz officially closed the public portion of the meeting.
Bid Openings: Nothing to report.
Public Hearings: Mr. Zezulewicz officially opened the advertised public hearing on Ordinance 842, an ordinance amending the zoning map bounded by Broadway Avenue, May Street and Whitehall Borough from R-1 and R-3.
Joseph Lawlor, 2996 May Street Extention - requested council update the residents on any information regarding the proposed townhouse development. Mr. Ross investigated Greicon Construction & Development's other local projects and officials in Crafton, Collier and Penn Hills, and reported that the company is honest, builds according to approved plans, complies with requests for improvements and adheres to all codes and ordinances.
Mr. Zezulewicz discussed the flooding of sanitary sewers at Broadway and Sixth Street. The sewer line for the project will not flow towards this area. The sewer will flow from May Street Extension to Sixth Street or will run from the project to Belleville and towards Route 88. Mr. Hartswick discussed the Allegheny County Sanitary Sewer Consent Order that dictates the sewer flow cannot go to Whitehall and must be connected with the ALCOSAN interceptor on Route 88. Mr. Zezulewicz is convinced that there will be no storm water runoff issue on May Street Extension due to the project. The other townhouse projects in the community have not caused additional water problems.
Mr. Zezulewicz stated the issue is tax revenue versus neighborhood traffic and atmosphere. Mr. Lawlor asked if the street would be widened. Mr. Zezulewicz answered no. Mr. Coffey stated that May Street Extension is 16.5 feet wide and McRoberts Road is 19 feet wide. Mr. Zezulewicz agreed, however McRoberts Road has heavy traffic and buses.
Mr. Zezulewicz added that the neighbors would have no objection to fourteen single family homes being built on the property, however that building option has never been proposed and is economically unfeasible for a contractor and developer. The Greicon project is for twenty townhouses, which is only six additional family units. The borough has correspondence from Greicon confirming that only twenty townhouses will be built on the site. Mr. Zezulewicz thanked Albert Jalso for his well-written letter to council. Townhouses will sell for $135,000 to $160,000. This will not depreciate the value of the homes in the neighborhood. Increased traffic flow was discussed.
Mr. Zezulewicz discussed the borough's difficulty to maintain basic services and upgrade sanitary sewers without raising taxes.
Mr. Lawlor asked what recourse the neighbors have if council approves the rezoning. Mr. Biondo advised that a resident has the right to appeal to the court of common pleas. Mr. Lawlor stressed that all the neighboring property owners have voiced their disagreement to the rezoning and council, as elected officials of the people, should consider that.
William Brown, 3020 May Street Extension - firmly declared that the neighbors do not want the townhouse project. Ms. DeFrancesco asked the audience why the neighborhood would object to townhouses, but not single family houses.
June Hollingsworth, 2901 Broadway - answered Ms. DeFrancesco stating that if the property remained zoned R-1, the area would not be developed and the property would remain as green space for the neighborhood.
Kelly Walton, 3005 May Street Extension - stated the plan allow for one single family dwelling along with the twenty townhouses, and asked the contractor who the single family home was for.
Matthew Greiner, Greicon Construction & Development - answered that borough council would not agree to building twenty-five townhouses, therefore Greicon compromised and agreed to build twenty townhouses with the possibility of one single family home in place of the additional five townhouses. Ms. Walton stated that it is rumored that Ice Castle owes back taxes, and perhaps the borough should concentrate on collecting that tax revenue. Mr. Zezulewicz responded the borough is working through legal channels to collect the revenue.
Fred Surmick, 3001 Broadway - questioned if a road would be opened to Broadway. Mr. Zezulewicz answered no. Mr. Surmick questioned if the contractor would also be the builders. Mr. Zezulewicz responded stating that Ryan Homes would be the builders.
Albert Jalso, 3026 May Street Extension - stated that common sense dictates that 1) water problems currently exist, 2) land area is small, and 3) the neighbors do not want the project.
Sam Walton, 3005 May Street Extension - questioned what problems exist that prevents single family homes from being built. Mr. Zezulewicz answered that most developers cannot profit from developing the land for single family homes.
Mr. Jalso requested the results of residential dye testing for illegal drainage of storm water into the sewer system. Mr. Hartswick reported that forty-one area homes were dye tested, and one home failed. Mr. Zezulewicz discussed the borough's costly project this summer to investigate the sewer system in the area.
Mr. Zezulewicz officially closed the advertised public hearing on Ordinance 842.
Mr. Zezulewicz requested comments from borough council. Mr. Coffey questioned who owned the property originally and if the property had been for sale for single family development. Mr. Lawlor answered the property used to be a greenhouse and was sold to supposedly build three homes. Current owner is Dominic DiCello. Mr. Coffey commented that he has voted for townhouse developments in the past, however those projects had their own entrance and exists. Mr. Coffey believes the increased traffic, narrow width of street, and neighbors' inconvenience creates a problem. No other council member commented.
Mr. Hartswick presented and read Ordinance 842. Mr. Carlucci motioned to adopt Ordinance 842 at its first reading; Mr. Warhold seconded. Mr. Zezulewicz called for a roll call vote. The vote was as follows: Mr. Carlucci - yes, Mr. Cheberenchick - no, Mr. Coffey - no, Ms. Kovach - yes, Ms. O'Malley - yes, Mr. Warhold - yes, Mr. Zezulewicz - yes. Motion passed five to two.
Civil Service Commission: The agenda contained minutes of the special meeting of February 1, 2005.
Real Estate Tax Collectors Report: Ms. Torris reported January collections of $9,545.91 leaving a balance of $126,768.40 to be collected for 2004. Ms. Torris also reported that the borough tax revenue for 2005 is $2,248,767. Act 77 taxes to be deducted are $59,419, leaving a balance of $2,189,348. To date three deposits totaling $187,967 have been collected, which is $10,000 over the total collected at this time last year. A short discussion continued on the assessed valuation for the borough for 2004 and 2005.
Council Committee Reports:
Building and Grounds: Mr. Warhold stated that FEMA has investigated the landslide at Riehl Park and no financial aid is available.
Mr. Hartswick reported that the municipal center roof was patched. Public Works will address sealing of old windows above drop ceiling.
Mr. Zezulewicz asked Mr. Hartswick to schedule a meeting with the Castle Shannon Youth Association.
Finance: Mr. Cheberenchick motioned to ratify the treasurer's report; Mr. Carlucci seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Library: Ms. O'Malley reported that Jan Toci was appointed as member of the Library Board. Four residents applied and applications will be held on file for future openings.
Ms. O'Malley requested the Public Works department paint the library interior this summer. Ray DeLallo will contact Anne New. Ms. O'Malley discussed past renovations. An exterior door needs replaced. Pricing will be obtained.
February 22nd at the borough's library, representatives from the South Hills' libraries will be meeting with the Allegheny County Library Association for future state and county supplemental funding. The borough's library is currently rated at two under ACLA, which is a good rating.
Ms. O'Malley informed council that any assistance from the borough is supplemented by the state.
Planning and Codes: Ms. Kovach noted that two new businesses are starting in the Lebanon Shops. Mr. Ross added that one store is an E-Bay consignment shop.
Ms. Kovach commented on the condition of the codes car. Mr. Ross discussed the mechanical problems. A short discussion continued on the budget and cost of possible repairs.
Mr. Ross attended a multi-state codes council. Major code changes will begin in 2006.
Public Safety: Chief Lane recommended that an article be placed in the spring newsletter regarding Officer Brian McKeown's Amen Corner award.
Mr. Carlucci reported that some residents on Cooke Drive are placing recycling bins and trash cans curbside days before pickup. Mr. Ross will investigate and send correspondence.
Public Works: Mr. Coffey reported that Mr. DeLallo will be having surgery and be off work for six weeks.
A meeting with MRM regarding public works' safety has been scheduled for February 15.
Editorial Board: Mr. Zezulewicz stated a deadline will be scheduled for articles.
MRTSA: Mayor Baumgarten announced that the borough has incurred no problems regarding MRTSA being dispatched from the county as of February 8th for borough calls.
Allegheny County Boroughs Association: Nothing to report.
Allegheny League of Municipalities: Nothing to report.
South Hills Area Council of Governments: Ms. O'Malley reported the by-laws will be reviewed. Castle Shannon Borough will host the March Meeting for SHACOG.
Police Pension Review Committee: Mr. Carlucci and Mr. Warhold reported on an informative meeting with Trollinger. A meeting is scheduled with Legg Mason on February 21st.
Earned Income Tax Collector's Report: January Distribution Analysis: EIT - $34,572.58; OPT - $5.00.
Engineer's Report: Nothing to report.
Manager's Report: Mr. Hartswick stated a presentation with Mr. Stanton and Mr. Miller (PNC) will be scheduled for February 24th.
Mr. Hartswick presented and read Resolution 496, empowering the Berkheimer to impose and retain costs of collection on delinquent taxes. Ms. O'Malley motioned to adopt Resolution 496; Mr. Carlucci seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Mayor's Report: Mr. Baumgarten has received several complaints regarding the garbage collection company: 1) garbage can lids are being tossed away from the cans, and 2) when collectors empty a can, garbage is being left on the street. Greenridge Waste will be contacted.
Mayor Baumgarten stated that police and MRTSA dispatching by the county has caused no problems.
Mr. Zezulewicz asked Mayor Baumgarten to comment on the May Street Extension rezoning. While Mayor Baumgarten understands the neighboring resident's concerns, the borough needs to increase its tax base with the limited undeveloped area. Mr. Zezulewicz requested Ms. DeFrancesco's comments on the rezoning. Ms. DeFrancesco replied that she would have voted for the rezoning for the future of the community. Younger people are moving to Castle Shannon and townhouses are appealing, and single family homes could not be built on the property.
Planning Commission Report: Nothing to report.
Solicitor's Report: Nothing to report.
Keystone Oaks: Nothing to report.
Zoning Hearing Board: Mr. Hartswick requested that council re-appoint Mr. Al Dunn to the Zoning Hearing Board from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007. Mr. Coffey motioned to reappoint Mr. Dunn; Ms. Kovach seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Other Business: Ms. O'Malley commented that Raven trailers are unsightly and leave a poor impression of Castle Shannon. Mr. Ross responded the trailers are a zoning violation and will request the trailers be moved.
Mr. Carlucci discussed the weeds and area across from the St. Anne's School that needs maintained. Mr. Ross will contact the property owner.
Mr. Cheberenchick suggested the borough review the possibility of recycling newspaper as the current rate is $30.00 per ton. Mr. Hartswick will review the current refuse collection contract.