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Borough solicitor moves forward with Ligonier bamboo ordinance

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Ligonier Council authorized borough solicitor George Welty to advertise a proposed ordinance regulating the planting and growing of bamboo.

During council's Sept.12 meeting, Welty presented a draft of the ordinance that states when the law takes effect, bamboo would be restricted in the borough. Anyone who plants or grows the invasive plant would be subject to penalties, such as a summary conviction before any district judge, a fine not exceeding $1,000 per violation and costs of prosecution, or, in default of payment of the fine and costs, possible imprisonment.

The proposed ordinance states any bamboo planted prior to the effective date may remain on the property subject to compliance with the law. Bamboo cannot grow within 40 feet of the pavement or traveled portion of any public road. If it does, the owner must remove and abate the growth within that measurement. Bamboo planted prior to the ordinance cannot encroach upon any adjoining or neighboring properties, including public property and rights of way, and the owner must take measures to prevent encroachment.

If the plants do creep onto other properties, the borough would notify the owner via certified mail. If the bamboo is not removed by the owner within 30 days of the notice, the borough may arrange removal of the plants from its property, and the owner would be held liable for the cost.

Replanting bamboo is prohibited.

Council could vote on the proposed ordinance at its next meeting.

Council held an executive session with attorney Daniel Hewitt to review legal issues surrounding Ligonier Valley YMCA's application for two proposed ordinances. After the meeting went back into order, Hewitt stated no decisions were made during the session and that it was simply a review of legal issues.

• Council approved a request from the YMCA for a land-use development plan extension to put off the date council renders a written decision on the plan to Oct. 15.

In other business:

• Council gave approval to Danny McMaster to move forward with a construction plan to build a condominium development along West Main Street. It will consist of four residential units on the upper level and four commercial units on the lower level. McMaster said he hopes to start construction as soon as possible and estimates it will be completed in about 10 months.

• Council approved St. Michael's of the Valley Church's request to use Mellon Park Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. for a “blessing of the pets.”

• Council approved a request from Ligonier Valley Library for a $1,000 allocation.

• Council approved a request from a Penn State student to “can” for Penn State's THON at the stoplight by Fort Ligonier and at the intersection by the Ligonier Valley YMCA on Sept. 27.

• Council approved a request from the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce to display pink lights, ribbons and bows in and around the Diamond during October as part of Westmoreland Walks' effort to decorate all of Westmoreland County pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

• Council approved paying $750 to the Westmoreland Transit Authority for its services for 2013-2014.

• Council approved vendors and festival areas previously approved by Fort Ligonier Inc. and granted permission to Fort Ligonier Inc. to post banners as it did last year.

The next council meeting will be held Oct. 7, instead of Oct. 10, because of Fort Ligonier Days.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or