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'Sky toilet' demolition controversy continues

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Demolition of the “sky toilet” building at 105-107 W. Crawford Ave. will continue, leaving just the first story of the two connected buildings.

Tom Currey, Connellsville's code and zoning officer, said there are no problems with a partial demolition of the structures as long as the amended plans are approved and the demolition of everything except the first floors is completed by Aug. 7.

There is one small wrinkle, the height of the structure(s) when the project is completed. According to Connellsville's zoning ordinance for commercial buildings along Crawford Avenue, buildings must be at least two stories high or be at least 24 feet high. A single-story structure with a facade reaching that height would be allowed, if approved.

Plans must be submitted to the city Planning Commission for approval.

The next planning commission meeting will be held on Aug. 6, just a day before the county demolition permit expires. Previously, Currey said Rodney Allen, owner of the building, would be cited if the demolition was not complete by Aug. 7.

“There would be no problem (if the plans are approved and the demolition portion of the project is completed,)” Currey said.

If the plans are approved by the city, the county must then approve the construction plans under the Uniform Construction Code.

Currey and Paul Pato, UCC administrator for Fayette County, said the county is under contract to provide the UCC inspections and approvals for the city.

Joshua DeWitt, who is acting for his uncle, Rodney Allen, owner of the property, said on Thursday the plans would be submitted to the city by Friday (today). Allen is in the hospital following a traffic accident in June.

Both DeWitt and Allen are awaiting trial. Allen is free on $10,000 unsecured bail, following “chop shop” charges and related offenses. DeWitt is free on $20,000 unsecured bail on the same charges. DeWitt has denied involvement in the crime.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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