Shaler accident brings nuisance tree law to forefront
Shaler Manager Tim Rogers discussed issues regarding overgrown trees during an April 10 commissioners meeting.
The topic follows an April 4 incident involving a tree and wires falling on an ABC Transit school bus traveling north on Mt. Royal Boulevard. No one was injured. The same tree's limb also struck a vehicle traveling south on Mt. Royal Boulevard. The driver sustained a head injury and was transported to a hospital. Two young children, in child safety seats in the vehicle's rear seat, avoided injuries.
Rogers praised emergency personnel for their timely response.
“One of the things Commissioner (James) Boyle mentioned to me that is very impressive is that everyone there walked every kid there on that bus to another bus. … I'm very impressed. I'm very proud of my staff.”
“We've had a lot of mature tree issues. We've lost power for days on Mt. Royal Boulevard — one problem that took out a heck of a lot of power lines,” Rogers said, noting that Duquesne Light Co. employees have started cutting residents' trees if they think the trees might fall onto power lines.
He informed attendees that the township has a dangerous tree ordinance, restricting “dead, dying and dangerous trees,” causing the “potential menace to public travel.” The township building inspector will notify real estate owners if they have nuisance trees; property owners must remove the trees within 10 days, or the township will have the trees removed and bill the owner. Violators are subject to up to $1,000 in fines and up to 90 days in jail.
“People don't think about their choices with their property, and I think that we have had an incident that might remind us that we need to say to people, ‘Think about it,' ” said resident Dorothy Petrancosta, who reported having three trees removed on her property last year.
Also at the meeting:
• The commissioners awarded a $938,752 bid to Oakmont-based A. Folino Construction Inc. for the township's 2018 paving project.
Township engineer Matt Sebastian said the township received a “healthy number” of bids for the summer work.
“Those bids all came in at or below what we were expecting, so we were pretty happy with the numbers that we saw.”
• PennDOT is planning repairs to the Wetzel Road Bridge over Little Pine Creek. Rogers said that PennDOT was interested in purchasing a right of way from the township.
“We feel that it's not necessary to sell something to taxpayers that the taxpayers already own, so we authorize PennDOT to take the property free of charge,” Rogers said, explaining a resolution passed during the meeting. In return, PennDOT will install a pedestrian access ramp to Kiwanis Park, he said.
• The Shaler Township Police Department, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency, is participating in a national drug take back day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at Shaler North Hills Library.
People may submit over-the-counter, controlled substance or prescription drugs. Tablets, capsules, ointments, creams and liquids will be accepted in its packaging. One does not need to separate pills or medication or take medication out of the original container. Due to safety reasons, the department is unable to accept sharps and syringes.
• Sebastian said that the township is continuing to partner with the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority on its regionalization efforts. On a more long-term basis, Shaler is focusing on monitoring and reducing flow at the trunk line connection points it shares with neighboring municipalities.
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.