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Excela center plan gets Unity supervisors' approval

| Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Unity supervisors Thursday unanimously approved the site plan for Excela Health to construct an outpatient care center in the township.

The township planning commission recommended the proposal at its meeting earlier this month.

According to plans outlined earlier this year, Excela Health intends to build the three-story, 114,000-square-foot facility off Route 30 between the Wal-Mart and Kmart stores.

The planned Latrobe Ambulatory Care Center would place primary-care physicians, specialists, rehabilitation and diagnostic services in one site, similar to the Excela Square facility in North Huntingdon.

Excela purchased property for the site in 2012. It has expressed plans to complete the new facility by mid-2014.

Latrobe officials last month said they are in support of the health system's plans, after earlier expressing hope that the new center would be constructed in downtown Latrobe.

Excela said a suitable site could not be found within Latrobe's borders.

The supervisors agreed to suspend the township's newly adopted waste collection ordinance, pending a response to a recent lawsuit.

Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, a trade group representing private waste haulers and landfill operators, asked for a declaratory judgment against the township ordinance in a lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

An ordinance the board approved on Feb. 14 required the township's haulers to register and submit a rate they would charge for one year.

Unity residents are required to have a state-licensed hauler collect their trash, and residents are permitted to select the hauler of their choice.

The association claims that the state's waste planning, recycling and reduction act, as well as Westmoreland County's municipal waste management plan, prohibits municipalities from enacting a licensing program.

Unity has four haulers operating within the township, which has resulted in a lack of uniform rates and services, making it difficult for residents to easily compare rates, according to the ordinance.

“Because this was recently filed, there has not been a lot of time for the supervisors to decide which way to proceed with litigation,” township solicitor Gary Falatovich said Thursday.

Falatovich reviewed options the board could consider, including defending the ordinance through the lawsuit, repealing the ordinance to prohibit multiple haulers from registering and go to a single hauler provision, or repeal the ordinance substantially and resume the township's former system of allowing multiple haulers at varying costs.

“The supervisors are going to have to make some decisions. We have (until March 28) to respond to the complaint,” Falatovich said.

Supervisors last year discussed seeking bids for a single hauler, but met opposition from smaller haulers and some residents.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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