Peters council amends chicken ordinance; hears FirstEnergy complaints

  • By David Singer
    Staff writer
August 12, 2014
Randall Stonemark, of 140 Maple Lane, is the latest to complain of FirstEnergy’s policy to clear cut trees on private property. He described an incident last Aug. 6 in which a company representative was less than professional with his wife and told him to get off his property. - David Singer / The Almanac

McMURRAY – 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 in which they’re required to stay.

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

Township council voted 5-1 at Monday’s meeting to approve changes to the township zoning ordinance after manager Michael Silvestri said he examined similarities to limitations on cats in local ordinances 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 plans to clear cut trees below or near power lines.

Don Rizer, of 114 Windermere Court, asked the board if it would sell township land adjacent to his in an effort to stymie FirstEnergy. Council president James Berquist said it would be extremely difficult sell township property.

“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.

“We have to do something quick because they are coming in to cut our trees down soon,” saod Gina Ciminel, of 115 Windermere Court. She also asked for a copy of the letter the board wrote to FirstEnergy.

The board also voted 6-0 to preliminarily invalidate its zoning ordinance in respect to gas drilling. Prior to the the state Supreme Court ruling regarding local zoning provisions of Act 13, 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 the board to investigate what kind of zoning changes it wants to make to specific areas or across the township.

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 message boards across the township and what they can advertise and where. That hearing is Sept. 22.



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