Peters council amends chicken ordinance; sets public hearings

Published Aug 12, 2014 at 8:57 am (Updated Aug 12, 2014 at 10:00 am)

Raising chickens won’t get anyone in Peters Township in trouble unless there are more than six, one of them is a rooster or if any of them fly the coop they’re required to stay in.

Those violations could get the fowl raiser a fine up to $300.

Council voted 5-1 at their Aug. 11 meeting to approve changes to the township zoning ordinance after manager Michael Silvestri said he examined similarities to cats when it came to a limited number and suggested the changes. Councilman Frank Arcuri was absent.

During public comment, Randall Stonemark, of 140 Maple Lane, told the board he is upset with FirstEnergy like residents of Windermere Court, who are preparing to mount a legal challenge over the company’s policy to clear cut trees below or near power lines.

Don Rizer, of 114 Windermere Court, asked the board if they would sell township land adjacent to his in an effort to stymie FirstEnergy.

Council president James Berquist said it could be something they put on the agenda, but it would be extremely difficult to proceed with.

“We have very little control over this issue. Unfortunately, FirstEnergy have a pretty strict and straightforward process they stick to. We’ve had state legislators hear this issue, and there’s not much we can do,” Berquist said.

“We have to prove that there’s no use for it, and there’s a retention pond there ... historically we haven’t sold property because we’re extremely limited by restricted land sale ordinances,” Silvestri added.

Gina Ciminel, of 115 Windermere Court, asked the board if they would be willing to defend (not selling) the land.

“We have to do something quick because they are coming in to cut our trees down soon,” she said. She also asked for a copy of the letter the board wrote and sent to FirstEnergy.

The board also voted 6-0 to preliminarily invalidate its zoning ordinance in respect to gas drilling allowances. Prior to the Act 13 State Supreme Court ruling, 15 designated zones were set up as viable drilling areas, councilman David Ball said. Those were found in part to be unconstitutional. The vote allows an investigation from the board on what kind of zoning changes they want to make to specific areas, or, across the township.

In other business, the board voted 6-0 to appoint John Vukela to the parks and recreation board to fill the vacancy left by Dorothy Schwerha.

Also with parks and recreation, the board voted 6-0 to allow cancellations of reservations for facilities to extend from two days up to 14 days and still allow refunds.

The board set Sept. 8 as a public hearing date prior to the regular meeting to gather input on the proposed demolition of a house at 824 Old Washington Road.

“This is a nuisance property and right now we can’t do anything with it,” planning director Ed Zuk said.

“The owners have died and the family, the heirs, they have no interest in it. We need to proceed to demolish it and then lien the property ... none of the heirs are even considering selling it,” he said.

Also set for a public hearing is the issue of electronic variable message boards across the township and what they can advertise and where. That hearing is Sept. 22. The board voted unanimously to approve final plans by P.V.E. Sheffler to build the 26-lot Fieldstone residential subdivision along Bebout Road adjacent to the Lake Jo Ann development.

Coming Aug. 22 at 3909 Washington Road will be a “Marty Party” radio remote broadcast, hosted by Marty Griffin of KDKA-AM, after the board unanimously approved a special permit for the event requested by Donaldson’s Crossroads Associates.

The board awarded the lowest of three bids for renovations of stormwater retention ponds to Dom Folino Construction at a cost of $23,200.

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