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Ligonier council challenges ordinance adoption

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Two Ligonier council members are challenging a recently adopted ordinance that dissolved the borough's planning commission.

A zoning appeal claims that council did not abide by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code in enacting the change.

Officials plan to replace the commission with a planning committee of three council members, which met for its first meeting Monday in Ligonier's Town Hall.

Council members Judy Hoffer and Jim McDonnell claim that the ordinance amended the borough zoning ordinance, but council did not follow the planning code's procedures for making the amendment, according to the zoning appeal.

Their appeal was filed on March 19 in Westmoreland County Commons Pleas Court by attorney Richard Flickinger, who served as solicitor for the defunct planning commission.

Flickinger claims that council did not submit the proposed change to the planning commission or the county planning agency for recommendations; nor did it advertise or hold a public hearing about the switch.

The state planning code specifies such steps as the procedure for amending zoning ordinances, Flickinger said in the appeal.

Attorney George Welty, solicitor for borough council, declined to comment.

Both Hoffer and McDonnell voted against the ordinance that abolished the commission and established the planning committee during a special council meeting on March 4. The ordinance passed 4-2.

Hoffer and McDonnell want a judge to reverse council's action and direct that the ordinance become void, according to the appeal.

A hearing before Judge Christopher A. Feliciani on the zoning appeal was not scheduled as of Monday.

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

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