North Huntingdon commissioners concerned about volume, but OK dealership expansion
The Kenny Ross group of automotive dealerships has the go-ahead to expand its operations along Route 30 in North Huntingdon so long as it meets one condition set by township officials — keep the noise down.
Township commissioners voted unanimously to allow the company to build a 7,500-square-foot building along Route 30 adjacent to its Chevrolet dealership. The company sells GMC vehicles alongside Buicks in a showroom at the intersection of Route 30 and Center Highway. Kenny Ross also has separate dealerships for the Subaru and Mazda brands.
“The company is interested in building on the site because the trend in the auto industry is for each brand to have its own dealership whenever possible,” said Andrew Blenko, the municipality's planning director.
While the commissioners will allow the company to deviate from standards for things such as the width of the driveway and where landscaping is located, officials took issue with a common feature used in vehicle dealerships — an outdoor public address system used to summon lot attendants and sales personnel to the showroom.
“I'm asking that you to allow two small speakers on front of the building,” said Anthony Ross, one of the company's owners who addressed the board at a recent meeting. “They are part of our business operation and we have them on every one of our facilities.”
Ross said the location of the speakers would be about 70 feet from Route 30.
“We would be very considerate to neighbors and want to keep it as quiet as possible,” Ross said. “We will turn it down so it won't be a bother to anybody.”
Ross said the PA system will not be used for music and would only be used 10 to 15 times during daylight hours on Mondays through Saturdays.
Ross said the closest homes would be about 350 feet away and down a 50- to 75-foot hill.
“We really don't see where there will be any sound that can be heard from our speakers at those homes,” Ross said.
Commissioner Chairman Rich Gray questioned why the speaker system could not be replaced with some other means of summoning employees.
“They (the speakers) are an important part of our business,” Ross said. “We've tried using pagers or telephones in the past, and it just doesn't work for a lot of different reasons. (The PA system) is kind of a traditional way we've run our business.”
Ross noted that the company has been quick to respond to any issues brought to its attention in the past.
“I'm just giving you my word that we will do so now, even if it's to the point where we turn them (the sound system) off,” Ross said.
Gray did not question Ross' sincerity, but he noted that once the system is permitted, the township would not be able to stop it from being used.
Before a vote was taken to approve the site plan, township Manager John Shepherd suggested that language be added giving the board the authority to vote to order that the system be shut off if complaints are received.
Commissioner Tom Krause added that the commissioners would not consider forcing a business to alter its longstanding practices “if there were only one or two complaints.”
“I don't think that's a legitimate reason to remove the speakers because you're always going to have somebody who isn't happy,” he said. “But if it's a continual number of complaints, we would look at that.”
Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.