Ligonier Township zoning board approves plans to convert farmhouse
By Jewels Phraner
Published: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Officials at the Loyalhanna Watershed Association have gained the first in three approvals needed from government boards to renovate an 1880s-era farmhouse into offices for the organization.
The Ligonier Township Zoning Hearing board unanimously approved an application for mixed use on the 123-acre property, formerly known as the McConnaughey Farm, following a presentation Sept. 25 by Executive Director Susan Huba of the association.
Because more than one use one is not allowed under the zoning ordinance, the board had to grant a special exception, according to zoning officer Cindy Turley.
Two floors of the farmhouse will be used for office space and a conference room, plans show.
The barn will be used for seminars and workshops and will be available for use by other environmental groups, Huba said.
The association is now housed in the former township municipal building on Andi Lane, just west of Ligonier Borough.
“With the barn, farmhouse and our current offices in need of extensive repair work and with limited funding available, our directors decided to focus our efforts on the watershed farm project, which we feel had kind of been let go over the years,” Huba said.
“Having an 1800s-era barn myself, I know it's a lot better to use it than let it sit there and fall down,” board Chairwoman Rose Stepnick said.
The $1.5 million project will include “green initiatives” including minimally altering its footprint, reusing existing structures, using natural and recycled construction materials and making energy-efficient improvements to the structures, Huba said.
“There was really no reason not to approve this application,” board member Linda McDowell said. “It's an improvement to the property, the buildings are being renovated but their footprints will not change, and it brings to life a historic site. It's good for the (Ligonier) Valley.”
Including the former McConnaughey Farm parcel, the association owns a total of 140 acres of farmland, wetland and woodland behind its Andi Road building.
It is turning a large portion of the property into rotational farmland. Other areas will be returned to natural wetland habitat.
“It's our goal to keep that property undeveloped,” Huba said.
The former municipal building will be torn down, Huba said.
The project will need a recommendation from the township planning commission and approval from township supervisors before an occupancy permit is issued.
After that, Huba said, the association will begin a capital campaign to generate the $1.5 million.
Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rector man reappointed to land trust
- Foxley Farm owners appeal zoning decision
- Ligonier 5th-grade students participate in career day
- Deliveries with heart fund Ligonier program
- Wright resigns from Ligonier Valley YMCA post
- Valley School commemorates valiant student
- Ligonier Valley Library’s 2nd ‘Novel Art’ fundraiser showcases local talent