Laurelmountainboro's Weblog

November 2, 2007

COUNCIL REPORT: PUBLIC COMMENT June 20, 2007

Filed under: COUNCIL MINUTES/REPORTS — laurelmountainboro @ 12:22 am
The Laurel Mountain Borough council has a brief public comment time both before and after each meeting. Below is the public comment part of the June 20, 2007 meeting. A report on the council meeting proper will be posted tomorrow.NOTE: Two residents in Ligonier Borough Council don’t want their name used in the online Newsletter. The will be referred to as Adam and Amanda. Other residents who attended the meeting are referred to using their first names only.

Council members present: Joe Griffith, Daneen Kinsey, Monte Holland, John Miller. Also present were Mayor Jack Goughnour, secretary Taryn and solicitor Jeff Miller. Eight borough residents attended.

Two issues were raised during the initial public input part of the meeting: cell towers and road openings.

When Adam explored the possibilities of leasing part of the Laurel Mountain Park property to a cellular company he discovered they won’t even talk to borough residents unless they are assured that there will be no roadblocks in constructing a tower. The cell phone company’s first questions were zoning issues and building code issues.

“I can’t imagine they put in towers anywhere where there aren’t problems,” Vic said. “It doesn’t sound like a professional tower company to me.”

Adam asked the council members if any zoning regulation exists that would prevent a tower from being placed on Park property. A potential location would be behind the Park garden (formerly tennis courts).

One advantage of having a cell tower installed is that the monthly rental income (from the cell tower company rent for the property) would help with Laurel Mountain Park’s cash flow problem. A second advantage is to improve cell phone service for residents. (NOTE: Daneen said prepaid, cheap cell phones work in the Borough. John confirmed this.) In other situations it is most difficult, if not impossible, for cell phone use in the borough.)

Adam asked if the code prohibits the construction of a cell tower, and noted he knows it would need a variation on height. He doesn’t want to put in the high level of work if there is no possibility of success in constructing a tower.

Joe asked Adam if he’d investigated other phone companies to see if they are interested in the project. He suggested that the council might be amenable for a variance assuming things aren’t outlandish and there is a reasonable height and construction site.

Solicitor Jeff said the standard for a variance isn’t reasonableness, but reasonable use for the property owner due to special circumstances. He said there are things the council should consider: the order of evidence, the possibility that residents could intervene.

“I think it would be premature to suggest a disposition” of the issue.

He advised the council not to provide an answer. He suggested Adam get a copy of the zoning ordinance from Taryn, examine it and then decide if he wants to pursue the issue.

The second issue was raised by Bob. He was concerned about the possibility of the opening of Red Oak Rd., which he said would dead end on his property and have no access to Rt. 30.

“Red Oak isn’t needed…If that road goes through there will be a turnaround in my yard for those (people) who don’t know it doesn’t go (through) to Rt. 30. It would destroy the property value of the whole frontage lots. To put a road 20-foot wide through my yard doesn’t make sense to me…I get excited when people who want to do it and it doesn’t improve property value.”

Joe said that at this point the council doesn’t have any desire to open the roads, and won’t, unless the property owners come and say they will do it or we are forced to do so due to the sewer access project… “But recognize people own lots and don’t have access to them without that road. Once sewers go in and property values go up, they might want to pay for it.”

Bob said his neighbor, Dennis, also opposes opening Red Oak Rd.

Dennis said he has two lots on Dogwood and there is a little piece of property that would allow access to the lots. He said he doesn’t need a road constructed, but would like to explore ways of access to the property off Dogwood Rd.

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