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Delmont officials consider revising zoning rules

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A plan to build a gas station along Route 66 has prompted Delmont officials to consider overhauling borough zoning ordinances.

Officials earlier this month said they plan to review ordinances early next year in response to worries about a proposed Speedway gas station.

“We need to update these ordinances,” Council President Jim Bortz said. “We didn't make them; we inherited them. They are what they are.”

Borough residents have been crowding council meetings the past two months and speaking out against the proposed development along Route 66, near West Pittsburgh Street.

Residents have complained about lighting, noise and safety worries. Many of the issues aren't regulated in the borough's zoning ordinances.

“We need things in the ordinance or else we can't enforce them,” engineer Kevin Brett said. “The ordinance is filled with things from 30 years ago that don't apply anymore.”

Borough Solicitor Dan Hewitt — who called the regulations a “piecemeal” approach — said the most recent ordinances were adopted in the early 1990s.

Officials said the borough's storm-water management regulations are the most up to date, but others don't necessarily reflect what officials or residents want in new developments.

For instance, borough regulations don't dictate landscaping requirements for a development, Brett said.

Speedway officials have agreed to include 100 trees, despite the ordinance requiring nothing. There are no lighting requirements.

“We haven't had a lot of development in Delmont — a few housing plans, but nothing major,” Brett said. “We're fighting the good fight here. We understand. The story, moving forward, is that whether (Speedway) goes or doesn't, you want certain things in the ordinance.”

Resident Rebecca Killian said she was angry the borough's regulations are out of date.

“So anybody can come in this town and steamroll any of our communities because we have these ordinances?” Killian asked. “Why do we have to live with this? (Council) needs to think about the impact on the borough the people who live on its streets.”

Brett said he has a list of worries that officials and residents have about the borough's zoning ordinance — in particular, complaints residents have about certain aspects of the proposed Speedway.

Any alterations to the borough's regulations would apply to residents and developers from outside the community.

“Everyone is under the same rules,” Brett said. “Council doesn't have a way to waive a magic wand and make something go away because someone has lived here 50 years.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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