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Lower Burrell seeks code answers

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Lower Burrell officials are hoping a postponement of a Uniform Construction Code hearing can give the city time to work out code enforcement issues with the owner of the former Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney buildings.

Widewaters Group of DeWitt, N.Y., recently was sent a notice of enforcement from Lower Burrell that contained a list of violations at the location.

The Central Westmoreland Council of Governments Uniform Construction Code Appeals Board had scheduled a Monday hearing in Jeannette addressing the alleged violations.

Instead, that hearing has been postponed until September.

Mayor Donald Kinosz is hoping to meet with Widewaters officials in the interim to try and get the building brought back to code.

“We'll be trying to work things out with Widewaters,” Kinosz said. “We need to balance trying to get a tenant in there, and, at the same time, make them follow all the codes for public safety.”

The former Montgomery Ward building has been vacant since 2001 when that department store chain was shut down.J.C. Penney left its Lower Burrell location in 2005 when it moved the operation to the Pittsburgh Mills mall.

The violations cited involve plumbing, electrical and security issues and hazardous materials such as asbestos.

The UCC appeals board has not announced an specific hearing date for September.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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