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Commissioners OK zoning change

| Sunday, May 13, 2012, 4:07 p.m.

Rostraver Township commissioners on Wednesday approved several zoning changes in Webster at the request of the former planning commission chairman.

Stephen Morgan wanted five Webster properties, on which he plans to run his excavating business, to be rezoned from business to industrial. He told the commissioners he is trying to bring the properties into compliance.

Morgan is hoping to expand his business, which he said would be beneficial to the township.

"We employ guys from the township," Morgan said. "We'd like to continue our employment and increase our employment."

After some debate between the two parties, the commissioners voted to change the zoning on four of the five parcels. Two lots would combine to become one lot. Washington Street, which runs between those two parcels, would become part of that property.

Commissioner Nick Lorenzo said he was on the board several years ago when the township voted to hand over the street property to an individual, but it was never completed.

Morgan also would need to go before the zoning hearing board for a variance if he ever wants to change use of that property.

Commissioner Don Yoder's motion to change the zoning on another property failed. That property sits between the north- and southbound lanes of Route 906.

President George Martin said he felt that the parcel was a key business property and vital to the character of Webster. Township Planner Tamara Vayansky supported his concerns, giving an impassioned speech about a possible revitalization of Webster.

Lorenzo added that if sewage service ever was provided to Webster, businesses could return to the area. But Morgan said he couldn't see that happening, especially after the township sewage authority superintendent told him it would never happen.

At last week's work session, the commissioners asked Morgan if he would pay for a newspaper advertisement informing the public of the zoning change. The request from Martin came after Morgan asked if there was anything he could do to satisfy the commissioners' concerns with the changes.

Morgan was mum yesterday on whether he would pay, but Martin said the township will bill him. If Morgan doesn't pay, Martin said they will have to seek legal recourse.

In other business, the commissioners approved the purchase of a Crown Victoria police car for $23,205.

Yoder, chairman of budget and finance, wanted to table the purchase until budget issues could be addressed. He said the current budget provided for the purchase of only one vehicle, and this would be the third police car purchased this year.

Despite Yoder's request, the commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the purchase.

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