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Road to stay open, Leechburg Council says

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 1:02 a.m.

Responding to residents' objections, Leechburg Council has reversed its decision to abandon a borough road.

Council in October approved vacating Byron Avenue between Maridon and Pitt streets and Third Street between Summit and Campbell avenues.

After a public hearing Monday, council voted 6-0 to not vacate Byron. The decision to vacate the portion of Third Street stands. Councilman Jim Spiering was absent.

Residents including William Gatto of Madison Avenue objected to the borough vacating Byron — which was also referred to as Bryan and Bryant.

If it was vacated, the borough would not own it and it would not be a public road. The land would be deeded to the adjacent property owners.

Borough officials had said that keeping Byron open would be unsafe because of its width — which ranges from 17 feet to 7.5 feet.

Gatto said during the hearing that Byron is open to traffic and that the borough has maintained it. Gatto said he and other residents use the road.

Gatto said emergency vehicles have used the road, and that was a factor in the borough deciding against vacating it in 1984.

Gatto said a sewer line serving Madison is under Byron Avenue, and another resident said using Byron was the only way for a contractor to access his sewer line to fix it.

Another resident said Byron is the only way his wheelchair-bound brother-in-law has to get to his home.

On another road matter, council scheduled a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at the borough building for residents of Kiski and Siberian avenues.

Council is considering making Kiski Avenue and the lower part of Siberian Avenue one-way streets.

Councilman Tom Foster said the borough wants to talk about it with residents before making the change and spending money on signs.

Taxes to remain the same

Property taxes are unchanged under the borough's roughly $1.05 million 2013 budget.

Spending is up about 1.6 percent from the borough's $1.04 million budget for this year.

The property tax rate remains 15.3214 mills.

The owner of a home assessed at $26,000 would get a real estate tax bill from the borough of $398.

Non-profit's signs to stay put

Council has reversed its decision that directed Councilman Foster to remove signs posted on the traffic island at Third and Market streets.

Members of the Leechburg Area Community Association objected to event signs they had placed there being rapidly removed, while they claim others had been permitted to stay.

Foster said he was removing the signs at the earlier direction of council.

Council chose to leave policing of signs on the island to PennDOT, which has jurisdiction over it.

Council also declared that the borough will no longer cut the grass there. Business owners said they would tend to it.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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