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Tarentum billboards still OK with zoning change

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Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

Tarentum resident Ross Grimm can erect billboards on his property along Route 28 without affecting his neighbors.

Grimm wanted to erect the billboards on his property but could not because of the R-1 residential zoning. The borough added a special “overlay zoning district” to the R-1 district last year that allowed them.

But the overlay allowed numerous other non-residential uses in the R-1 residential area from north of Route 28 to the Fawn Township line.

The overlay designation permitted uses such as professional offices, banquet halls, indoor recreation and entertainment facilities, private schools, personal care homes, group homes, hospitals and planned commerce parks.

“The residents said they didn't want all that,” Solicitor David Strellec said.

So on Monday, council eliminated that overlay district.

But Grimm, whose family has owned Ross Welding Supplies in that area for years, will still be allowed to erect billboards.

That's because council approved creation of a Roadway Commercial District. Strellec said that district is much smaller than the previous, R-1 overlay district.

He said it's 750 feet deep, running along the north side of Route 28 from Bakerstown Road to Cedar Street for about a half-mile. It encompasses Ross' property along with property owned by the borough and one or two other landowners.

Council approved those changes to the zoning ordinance as well as a third one involving the location of adult businesses that would sell X-rated books and videos.

Strellec said the language in the original ordinance referred to “VCR (video cassette recorder) movie rental.” That phrase was eliminated to incorporate advances in technology and replaced with “X-rated video in any format.”

Nobody voiced any objections to the three changes during a public hearing that preceded council's meeting. All three, which Strellec said were recommended by the planning commission, were approved unanimously in the council meeting that followed.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or

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