North Huntingdon commissioners warn barn owner to stop hosting events
North Huntingdon commissioners are trying to make sure that a backyard barn that has been used for weddings and banquets does not hold more events until it meets the municipality's requirements for things such as safety, parking and handling storm water.
“I received a telephone call from a person who informed me that they had a wedding planned (at the barn) for July,” Commissioners Brian West said at a recent commissioners meeting. “My understanding is the owner is taking reservations for his property. I think we need to take steps further than we already have.”
Commissioners voted in December to deny a site plan for the Guffey Barn Venue, 14179 Lincoln Way. The municipality has granted the owner, Steven Guffey, multiple extensions to complete work needed before he can obtain an occupancy permit to hold public events at the facility.
Guffey submitted a revised site plan to the municipality on Jan. 13, but it was rejected because it was incomplete, said Andrew Blenko, the township's planning director.
Guffey did not return multiple telephone messages seeking comment.
A letter attached to the revised site plan that was rejected disputes the municipality's classification of the proposed venue as a bar/restaurant, which requires one off-street parking space for every 50 square feet, or a minimum of 93 spaces for the 4,647 square-foot building.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Norwin Star, argues that since the municipality's ordinances does not specify the amount of parking required for a banquet hall/reception facility, it should follow the standards for “undefined uses,” which would require a minimum of 47 parking spaces. The site plan includes off-street parking for 56 vehicles.
The other issues that must be addressed before the site plan can be approved cover the township's requirements for exterior lighting and the design of detention ponds to manage storm water.
Commission chairman Richard Gray said Guffey previously agreed not to host events at the barn until all the issues are resolved.
The letter sent to Guffey in December telling him that his latest site plan for the property had been denied also informed him that he cannot use it for events until the municipality's criteria have been met, Blenko said.
Municipal officials will inform Guffey by certified letter to reiterate their position on use of the property.
If he defies the order and hosts an event, he could face fines, said John Shepherd, municipal manager.
Bruce Dice, the township's solicitor, said municipal officials also can seek an injunction from a Common Pleas Court judge ordering Guffey to cease operating.
Dice said citing Guffey or seeking court intervention would be appropriate only after the barn is used for an event.
Gray said the latest effort to prevent Guffey from using the barn for public gatherings is being taken “to protect the people who are considering renting the facility.”
Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at email@example.com.
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.
- Military experience helps North Huntingdon native in Red Cross role
- Crescent Beer returns as part of Irwin’s anniversary celebration
- North Huntingdon residents voice concern about possible removal of stop signs
- North Huntingdon hopes to brand itself to attract more development
- North Irwin could tax fire department’s amusements
- Norwin School District considers feasibility of science and technology building
- Controlled substance charges dropped in North Huntingdon court