Bridgeville Borough one step closer to settlement

Published Jul 9, 2013 at 8:50 am (Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 8:50 am)

Bridgeville Council has taken a step toward settling a lawsuit filed against the borough by attorneys for Bedner Farms Estates.

Earlier this summer, lawyers for Bedner Farms Estates filed an emergency motion for special injunction and proposed order of court against Bridgeville.

According to the document, Bedner Farms owns property located on Cook School Road, which consists of approximately 112 acres of land in the township of Upper St. Clair that directly abuts Bridgeville.

Preliminary land development approval was obtained by USC in April 2012 with final land development approval for phase one happening April 1, 2013.

According to the document, the borough of Bridgeville “issued the denial despite the fact that Main Street is a public roadway that was laid out, improved, maintained and utilized for a period in excess of 65 years, and that Plaintiff’s property directly abuts Main Street.”

The suit states that public records, including the Bridgemont Plan, the Green Acres Plan and the street map confirm that Main Street is a public street, which has been maintained by Bridgeville to the Plaintiff’s property line.

After a 45-minute executive session and another hour of public comment, borough council on July 8 voted 6-1 in favor of authorizing borough manager Lori Collins to finalize settlement terms regarding a settlement agreement with Bedner Farms Estates and the Township of Upper St. Clair. Upper St. Clair has intervened in the suit. Council member William Colussy voted against the motion. Collins said during the meeting that all she is doing is clarifying the language in the agreement and that the lawyers are preparing it.

Philip Sbrolla, an attorney retained by the borough’s insurance carrier, was on hand at the meeting to explain the proposed settlement. He gave a brief summary of the proposed settlement, which includes a sum of $70,000 to be paid to the Borough of Bridgeville “in various installments.”

He added that the proposed settlement would allow 33 homes in the new Bender development to tap into Bridgeville’s sewer lines, although sewer service fees would be paid to Upper St. Clair. Sbrolla said the $70,000 would be used for sewer line upgrades.

As for the open street issue, Bridgeville’s solicitor Richard Ferris said at the meeting it was recently discovered that an ordinance was passed by Bridgeville’s borough council in 1949 to 1951 that said Main Street was open all the way to the Upper St. Clair boundary. Ferris said there is currently a large oak tree in the middle of the portion that is open, but that the 1949 ordinance is still in effect. Ferris added, “In my view, I feel there will be a settlement.” He said the fact that there was never asphalt on the area doesn’t matter and it is legally open.

Prior to the vote finalizing settlement terms, several residents of Bridgeville spoke out in anger over more traffic and sewage that could come into their neighborhoods from the development.

Neil Lyons, who lives on the corner of Pesavento Drive near where the development will be located, got so emotional describing the fact that workers are on his property putting pegs in the ground that he had to be escorted out by police chief Chad King. “We just stat here for 45 minutes while you talked behind closed doors,” he yelled at council. “We don’t know what’s going on.”

Lyons, who said he is running for borough council, was later let back into the meeting. He also voiced concern over high grass at the former Bedner Farm and said it was cut on the Upper St. Clair side and not the Bridgeville side. He said the grass near his property was only cut after he asked the man cutting the other portion to cut near his house because “I’m sick of picking ticks off of me and my dog.”

“I’m sure you know why I’m here,” said resident Cee Cee McNulty at the start of her comments.

She said if more water and sewer issues arise, “It’s going to cause problems for me and my neighbors.” She added that the sewer lines Main Street are 51 years old and they were lined a few years ago because of seepage and they have become narrower. She said there’s also the issue of more traffic on Main Street and speeding drivers.

“My street gets to be screwed and we get Upper St. Clair’s excrement,” McNulty said.

A hearing on the matter will be held July 16 in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

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