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Apollo decides against using eminent domain to seize riverfront properties

| Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Apollo will not use eminent domain to acquire two riverfront properties near the Leonard C. Miller Memorial Bridge.

Council voted 3-2 Thursday, with one abstention, not to use the legal process to seize ownership of the parcels.

Council Vice President Cindee Virostek proposed the vote, going against council President David Heffernan, who wanted to use eminent domain, if necessary.

Virostek's proposal includes having the borough drop trying to renegotiate a lease with Roaring Run for a parking lot adjacent to the parcels.

Virostek, Mark Greenawalt and Dennis Gabrielli voted in favor; Heffernan and Councilman Darhl Goldinger voted against dropping the attempt to seize the property.

Councilman Pat Zelonka abstained, saying there were too many unanswered questions for him to vote. Councilwoman Amy Poydence was absent.

Heffernan said the borough wants the two parcels between the parking lot and the river for a few uses, including a canoe launch, gazebo and a permanent live Christmas tree.

The Roaring Run Trail could then be moved closer to the river, which would allow for the parking lot to be improved and metered, he said.

Council's decision came after several residents expressed opposition to the borough using eminent domain to acquire the land and to the borough placing parking meters in the lot.

Heffernan said adding meters is a matter of fairness, as other business areas in the borough have meters. He said the lot was leased to the trail organization by mistake and that it had once been metered.

Resident Cheryl Swank said the lot is the only place where those looking to use the Roaring Run Trail can park for free.

Scam warning

Borough officials are warning residents about scam letters being left at borough homes.

One of the letters claims to be from the “PA Dept. of Health — State Health Center.”

It states that a resident is required by law to submit to a home inspection because of an illness recently suffered.

The letter is locally specific, including a mention of the Alle-Kiski Medical Center.

A second apparent follow-up letter claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control says that a “specialist” had arrived to conduct a health inspection, but found no one home and will return after 20 days to try again.

Mayor Karen Kenzevich said the letters are fraudulent, and that they are being used to gain access to homes.

Residents who received the letters are asked to contact borough police, and to not let anyone in their home based upon them.

Handicapped parking regulations

Apollo Council is considering an ordinance that would regulate the procedures for granting residential handicapped parking spaces in the borough.

The regulations would cover what fees are charged, who approves requests and how often handicapped spaces are reviewed.

Council will discuss the regulations further when it meets at 6 p.m. July 9.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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