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Ligonier Y loses bid for zoning changes

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ligonier Borough council voted 4-3 to deny the Ligonier Valley YMCA's zoning requests at its meeting on Monday night.

The YMCA proposed to change the zoning on two properties — from R-2, two-family residential, to C-2, general commercial — and to amend the zoning ordinance to allow surface parking lots as a conditional use in the C-2 zoning district subject to the standards for conditional uses already in place.

Council members Tom Freeman, James St. Clair and Robert Helterbran voted in support of the requests. Council members Judy Hoffer, Kim Shaffer, Jim McDonnell and Bob Bell voted against them.

YMCA board President Douglas Welty said the organization plans to appeal council's decision in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas. He said the YMCA will proceed with plans to construct an expansion onto its building regardless of what occurs with its appeal, because the property is zoned C-2, and the use and expansion are permitted. He said the YMCA will consult with its architects to look into building a parking garage on the property, as parking structures are allowed as a conditional use in C-2 districts.

In other business, council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating the planting and growing of bamboo. The ordinance restricts bamboo, stating that anyone who plants or grows the invasive plant will be subject to penalties, such as a summary conviction before any district judge, a fine not exceeding $1,000 per violation and costs of prosecution, or, in default of payment of the fine and costs, possible imprisonment. Bamboo planted prior to the passing of the ordinance may remain but will be subject to compliance with the law.

Hoffer asked that residents and visitors attending Fort Ligonier Days be aware that dogs are not permitted in the festival grounds.

Director of Public Works Paul Fry announced that leaf collection in the borough will commence Oct. 16.

The next meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 14.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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