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Fayette jail foes want county to be stricken as intervenor in case

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Monday, July 28, 2014, 11:09 p.m.
 

An attorney in a land-use appeal seeking to stop construction of Fayette County's $32 million jail wants the county to be removed from the case as an intervenor.

Attorney Rich Bower of Connellsville on Monday filed the “motion to strike intervention” with the county prothonotary's office.

Bower represents North Union residents Evelyn Hovanec and John Cofchin, and husband and wife Ralph and Jerrie Mazza of Franklin Township.

The appeal is one of two such civil actions challenging a May decision by the zoning hearing board that granted variances allowing the county to build the new jail on a lot smaller than the required 150 acres, to plant 143 fewer trees than required and to permit a small section of barbed wire fencing to be visible to the public.

The zoning hearing board is named as the respondent in the appeal. The county is not named, but its solicitor, Sheryl Heid, filed a notice adding the county as an intervenor.

In the motion to strike, Bower argues the intervention is inappropriate because the county did not file the requests with the zoning hearing board seeking the special exception and variances. They were instead filed by a county commissioner, Al Ambrosini, Bower argues in the motion to strike.

As of Monday morning, the county had not filed a notice seeking to intervene in the other land-use appeal, which was filed by Greensburg attorneys Leslie J. Mlakar and Michael T. Korns on behalf of Terry and Diane Kriss of Dunbar Township, owners of the historic Meason House.

The jail, dubbed the Justice and Rehabilitation Center, is to be built in an industrial park off Route 119 and Mt. Braddock Road, near the Meason House and Laurel Mall in North Union and Dunbar townships.

Visiting Senior Judge William Ober of Westmoreland County will hear the appeals because Fayette's entire bench recused themselves “to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

A motion filed last week that seeks to consolidate the two appeals is pending.

The appeals allege various zoning requirements were not met before the board granted the variances and special exception. They want the board's decisions to be reversed.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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