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Zoners delay decision on request to build garage in Sewickley Township

| Friday, June 27, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A North Huntingdon developer's battle to win approval to construct a garage to house two flatbed trailers adjacent to his Sewickley Township warehouse will have to wait for at least another month.

The township's zoning hearing board on Wednesday decided to continue the hearing on the request by Robert Shuster's company, R2MC Co. Inc. of North Huntingdon, until the board's next meeting at 7 p.m. July 23.

The board voted to delay the hearing for one month to enable interested parties the opportunity to review Shuster's application for a building permit for his property at 540 Dicks Station Road because the developer had just submitted an amended application on Wednesday. Shuster amended his application to construct a 40-foot-by-100-foot detached garage adjacent to a warehouse on his 5-acre parcel. The initial application for a building permit had proposed attaching the garage to the warehouse.

Attorneys for both Shuster and two residents opposing the request, Bette and Christopher Kovac, agreed to continue the hearing.

Shuster's request for the building permit went before the zoning hearing board because the township's zoning officer, Mike Stack, had denied Shuster's initial request to build the garage as an expansion of a non-conforming use within an area zoned for residential purposes.

Even if the board permitted the one-hour-long hearing to continue on Wednesday, Charles Wade, zoning board solicitor, said the panel would not have taken a vote on the request. Wade said he would have had attorneys for both sides submit legal briefs explaining their positions.

Shuster said during the hearing he had purchased the property last year and it had been a warehouse and storage area for construction materials for Shuster Building Components. A garage at the site would enable the flatbed trailers to pull into the garage and out of the garage, without time-consuming maneuvers that are required when the vehicles are stored in the existing warehouse.

Shuster, a housing developer, said the flatbed trailers would not be bringing heavy equipment to the site on a frequent basis.

Bette Kovac, a neighbor of Shuster's property, said after the hearing that, “I just want to be heard.”

“I think the zoning should be enforced,” Kovac added.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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