North Huntingdon barn owner seeks zoning help from commissioners
A North Huntingdon man whose backyard barn unexpectedly became an in-demand spot for social events stood before commissioners seeking a fifth extension to meet zoning criteria to stay open and operating.
Commissioners approved the extension last week.
The site plan for the barn was set to be denied, based on eight criteria owner Steven Guffey failed to complete.
“In the last two months, I've gotten nothing further to address the (criteria), but he assured me that if an extension was granted that something would be forthcoming,” Andy Blenko, township planning director and engineer, said.
“I'm not trying to put anybody out of business, but this plan has been under review for many, many months.”
The barn, on the rear of a single-family lot in North Huntingdon, has been used for banquets, receptions and weddings.
It has not been inspected or approved for public assembly, according to township zoning minutes.
“You built the barn — I guess the original intent was for agriculture purposes — and then you took it upon yourself to make it a commercial venture on a residential property,” Blenko has previously said. “Now we are trying to make it legal for what you have already done.”
A resolution outlines eight criteria, including parking calculations and landscaping, that have not been completed for the property on Lincoln Way.
Once Guffey learned of the pending denial, he asked commissioners for the fifth extension.
“We've always had a good time at the barn,” Guffey said. “My oldest daughter got married there, and that's kind of what started all this. It caught me by surprise. A friend wanted to use it. So now I am trying to make it fit the township's criteria so that it is a safe place and people can continue to use it.”
The barn was built in either 2002 or 2003, according to meeting minutes. It can be accessed through either Guffey's driveway or a private road that leads up to Guffey's other business, a Johnston the Florist branch.
In January, Guffey went before the township's planning commission to go over his parking-lot plan.
Although the township generally calls for paved parking areas, officials agreed to allow Turfstone Pavers to conform to the “rustic atmosphere of the barn,” according to meeting minutes.
He was back in February to modify a rezoning plan. At that time, officials discovered the barn was built on a different property in the complex, which contains three single-family homes.
The barn actually was built in the corner of an adjoining lot, owned by Guffey's mother, according to meeting minutes.
Guffey told commissioners last week that he will present a new site plan with extensive changes.
“Whatever I can do to make it work, I'm willing to do that,” he said. “I'm not looking to do anything out of the ordinary. I want to make it work.”
The extension, which is for an additional two months, was granted by six commissioners. Commissioner Donald Austin was absent.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.
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.
- North Huntingdon residents voice concern about possible removal of stop signs
- Norwin School District considers feasibility of science and technology building
- North Irwin could tax fire department’s amusements
- Crescent Beer returns as part of Irwin’s anniversary celebration
- Military experience helps North Huntingdon native in Red Cross role
- North Huntingdon hopes to brand itself to attract more development