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Distillery preparations, consolidation talks advancing in Homer City

| Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 4:03 p.m.

The handful of Homer City residents who attended a town hall meeting at the Homer City Volunteer Fire Department on Nov. 12 heard updates regarding a few matters of interest in the borough.

Council representatives Joe Iezzi, Chris Worcester and Jenn Jaworski hosted the town hall, along with borough manager Rob Nymick.

Nymick said the owners of Disobedient Spirits, LLC are working to prepare the former Runzo grocery store building at 30 S. Main Street for use as a small-scale distillery. Nymick said the majority of the work being done is occurring inside the building, and the owners recently learned they will need to install a dedicated water line for fire sprinklers.

“They're making improvements, but it's all inside right now,” Nymick said.

The proposed distillery generated controversy as the borough's planning commission and council deliberated and eventually passed an ordinance amending the zoning code book to include “craft distillery establishment” as a permissible use in commercial zones.

Nymick said the borough has hired a grant writer in an attempt to find funding for projects in town. He also said consolidation talks between the borough and adjacent Center Township have continued, but the municipalities are “miles apart as far as the taxes are concerned, the millage rates, based on what the borough's and what the township's are, but we've made a lot of progress in the talks.”

Worcester said the borough's planning commission is reviewing ordinances regarding property maintenance, stray animals, dangerous structures, snow removal and junk.

Iezzi noted recent changes to the borough police department, including the addition of new officers.

“Our police department has changed quite a bit,” Iezzi said. “We do have police officers on patrol from midnight to 8 a.m. and we've hired several new ones. The police department has really put a big effort into making our town better.”

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at (724) 459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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