Foxley Farm loses appeal of pair of permit denials
Ligonier Township's zoning hearing board voted to affirm a previous decision that denied Foxley Farm owner Maggie Nied occupancy permits for two events at the farm in December 2013.
“This matter has been previously decided by the zoning hearing board — that these types of commercial events are not permitted in the current zoning classification and that absent a legislative amendment to change the zoning ordinance to allow these events, they cannot go forward as they've been applied for,” said Craig Alexander, solicitor for the zoning hearing board.
At Wednesday's meeting, Alexander said a request had been made by Ligonier Township and the attorney of neighbors of Foxley Farm for board member Linda McDowell to recuse herself from voting on the matter because of “a communication that McDowell wrote” voicing her personal opinion on Foxley Farm. He said it was up to her whether she could have an objective, unbiased opinion in voting, adding that McDowell indicated she was unbiased and prepared to move forward.
“Her position is that her personal opinion is irrelevant,” he said. “The law is what the law is, and she has to follow the law ... regardless of personal opinions.”
McDowell and board member Robert Ramsey approved a written conclusion stating the events are not allowed under the zoning ordinance.
The matter first came before the board in February when Nied appealed the decisions of township zoning Officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh to deny permits for a farm-to-table luncheon for the Progress Fund, a community financing agency, and a dinner to celebrate the wedding of a soldier who had just returned from overseas at her residentially zoned property.
Attorneys for Ligonier Township, Foxley Farm and the farm's neighbors presented arguments at the February hearing, but Alexander made no ruling and permitted the parties extra time for legal research in the dispute.
The Nieds will have 30 days to appeal the board's decision in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, Alexander said.
On Wednesday, attorney Patrick Doheny, who represents the Nieds, said he plans to review the board's written decision with his client and discuss whether they will appeal it.
Kaltenbaugh declined to comment. Attorney Mark Hamilton, special counsel for Ligonier Township on Foxley Farm matters, declined to comment on behalf of the township.
Attorney William Sittig, who represents several neighbors of Foxley Farm, could not be reached for comment.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Zoning update raises fears in Ligonier Township
- Shenefelt of North Huntingdon accused of road rage altercation in Westmoreland
- Reputed major heroin trafficker in Westmoreland County pleads guilty, gets prison sentence
- Event gets new formal name: Shop ’n Save Westmoreland County Airshow, presented by Xcoal Energy & Resources in Latrobe
- Auction nets $20,000 from ill-gotten gain in slaying, theft from Washington County woman
- Baby sitter arraigned on assault charges; Hempfield woman high on heroin, state police say
- Jeannette teen, charged with killing another, took ‘selfie’ with body, court papers say
- Excela center proposal worries residents of Hempfield neighborhood
- Court in the Classroom program provides insight for Norwin High School students
- Westmoreland leaders form workforce forum to help young people qualify for careers
- Police claim woman stabbed husband at their Jeannette business