Changes planned for code enforcement fees in Scott

Published Jan 16, 2014 at 11:07 am (Updated Jan 16, 2014 at 11:07 am)

Scott commissioners are one step closer to changing their code enforcement fees in 2014. In a report at the Jan. 14 agenda meeting from Scott’s building inspector/code enforcement officer, Bob Fischer, the fees listed in the advertised ordinance were the same as the fees proposed at the board’s Dec. 10 agenda meeting, with the exception of subdivision/land development plan review. Under the proposed ordinance, the fee for plan review would require that $5,000 would be held in an escrow account that would be replenished at the request of the township.

If the proposed ordinance is adopted, fees for building permits for projects under $150,000 would be three percent of the cost of construction, plus a $15 administrative fee. For projects over $150,000, the fee would be $4,500 plus two percent of the cost of construction, plus a $15 administrative fee.

The commercial demolition permit increases to $500 plus $.50 per square foot, and sets the demolition permit fee for residential property over 1,000 square feet at $600 and for residential property under 1,000 square feet at $250.

Grading permits for a single family home would be a flat fee of $250 and a commercial grading permit would be $450 for the first 1,000 cubic yards and $45 for each additional 1,000 cubic yards. Residential certificate of occupancy would remain at $50, but commercial certificate of occupancy would increase to $100.

Residential zoning hearings and conditional use hearings would be set at $300, and commercial zoning hearings and conditional use hearings would increase to $500. Sign permits vary based on size, with the fee for a sign one square foot to 12 square feet set at $50, from 12 to 25 square feet set at $150, and signs 25 feet to maximum set at $200. The board is expected to vote to adopt the ordinance at its Jan. 28 regular meeting. The board is also expected to vote to adopt the provisions of the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code and the 2009 International Fire Code.

The board also discussed options for property at 600 Carothers Avenue. Township solicitor Robert McTiernan said the township had three options – direct sale, condemnation or sheriff sale.

According to the Allegheny County Real Estate website, the land value for the 2,919 square foot lot is $25,800. The site also shows a building value of $221,000 for an apartment building that has been demolished. Township officials estimate back taxes at $43,000. Commissioner Craig Stephens said the township should contact the county to remove the building information from the record.

Commissioner Bill Wells questioned why the township was considering buying the property. Township manager Denise Fitzgerald said the plans were to create a three-space parking lot if the property was acquired. She said creating the parking lot was looked at as part of the Carothers Avenue revitalization plan, but was dropped because the process to acquire the property was lengthy.

Commissioner Tom Castello said the area is not attractive to businesses because of the lack of parking in the area. But Commissioner David Calabria disagreed, saying, “It’s not up to the township to provide parking for businesses.”

Calabria said that many business owners buy old buildings near them and tear them down to make parking lots. He added that when a municipality provides parking, they install meters to generate income.

Wells said the board should have figures on how much the proposed parking lot would cost before asking the taxpayers to pay for three parking spaces.

Board president David Jason tabled the discussion until the board’s February meeting when financial data regarding the cost of a parking lot would be available to the board.

In other business, township engineer Larry Lennon asked for a list of township roads needing repair in 2014. Lennon said he is working on design and bid specs for the road work for roads under the township’s latest bond issue, which include Kane Boulevard, Swallow Hill Road, Rockfield Road and Finely Avenue. He requested the information by the end of February.

Public Works director Randy Lubin said he already had a list of roads needing repair, but he would take a ride through the township to make updates and send the list to the board. He said he should be able to have a list ready to meet Lennon’s deadline.

The board discussed creating bid specs for a synthetic ice rink at Scott Park. Commissioner Wells had questions regarding maintenance, staffing and insurance. Commissioner Eileen Meyers said the maintenance for the rink was minimal, and included sweeping off the surface and occasional power washing. Comparing it to basketball courts, she said there were no plans to have an employee monitor the rink. When Wells asked how they would keep people from using figure skates on the rink, Meyers said there would be signs indicating that figure skates were not permitted.

Fitzgerald said she had contacted the township’s insurance carrier and indicated the rink would be treated like any other park facility. Jason asked Fitzgerald to get paperwork documenting the insurance carrier’s requirements regarding the rink. He also asked her to contact Collier Township officials and ask how they monitor their synthetic ice rink.

Commissioner Pat Caruso informed the board about a speeding condition on a portion of Raven Drive. She said the area in question was around a curve, and residents were concerned about children or pets being hit. Caruso said she planned to place signs with an advisory speed limit of 15 mph on that portion of the road.

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