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Residents upset over road, YMCA youth shelter plan

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 11:20 a.m.

Greensburg Council was confronted Monday by residents upset over the tar-and-chipping of a road in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood and the location of a proposed youth shelter on East Pittsburgh Street.

City council told a group of Moreland Avenue residents it would monitor the condition of that street, which was tarred and chipped by Donegal Construction about a week ago.

Thomas Daumit Jr. of 18 Moreland Ave., told council that the tar-and-chip surface is unacceptable as a final surface and residents want it to be paved. Cars are being damaged by the chips, oil is ruining the surface of driveways and local children can't play on the street. With the recent hot weather, the condition of the road has worsened, he said.

Mayor Karl E. Eisaman agreed that the city is not satisfied with the condition of the street, but said it would be at least a few weeks before any decision is made on what action the city would take.

City Administrator Thomas Sphon said the paving contractor followed the recommendation of the state Department of Transportation. PennDOT called for that surface because the road has so many cracks and the state believed the tar and chips would adhere to the base. Two paving contractors said the tar-and-chip surface could provide a base for future paving, Sphon said.

The city would have to wait at least two to three weeks to see if the tar-and-chip adheres to the surface before it could do any paving, Sphon said. If the paving is done this year, the city would have to find the funds for it because repaving Moreland Avenue is not in the 2001 budget, Sphon said.

If the city waits until next spring and the winter is mild, the project might cost $45,000, Sphon said. If the winter is severe and the road is damaged, the project could cost $80,000, he said. The city's public works department may be able to do the paving project for about $40,000, Sphon estimated.

In another controversial matter, council approved a conditional use for the Greensburg YMCA to operate a 22-bed youth shelter at a site zoned for commercial use at 128 E. Pittsburgh St.

Council approved the YMCA request by a 3-1 vote, with one abstention. Councilman Thomas Tridico was the only council member who opposed the project. Eisaman abstained because his insurance company does business with the Greensburg YMCA.

The YMCA plans to house court-remanded boys at the shelter, which would be staffed on a 24-hour basis. The boys would be moved from their current location atop the YMCA on South Maple Avenue.

Harvey A. Zalevsky, an attorney with an office at 134 E. Pittsburgh St., said he was concerned about the impact the youth shelter might have on his business.

Zalevsky said he believes the YMCA youth shelter site does not meet the requirements of the city's ordinance for a group home. It is less than 4,000 square feet from the existing YMCA Youth Shelter on South Maple Avenue, and the lot probably is less than 10,000 square feet, as required in the group home ordinance.

Patrick Dicesare, who owns Century 21 Real Estate at 116 E. Pittsburgh St., said he also was concerned about the impact the youth shelter would have on his business. He said the change in the use of the former office building at 128 E. Pittsburgh St. might make him move his business out of the city.

Attorney Patricia Rodgers, who owns properties at 113, 115 and 117 Alwine Ave., said she has 'real concerns' about a group home operation near her properties.

City Solicitor Timothy McCormick argued that the youth shelter is not a group care home and that council has leeway in granting a request for a conditional use of the property. He said the youth shelter is a hybrid of a group home and halfway house.

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