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Cheswick residents concerned about plant expansion

| Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spruce Street area residents jammed council chambers Tuesday night to ask questions and comment on the proposed Millennia Corp. expansion.

They left the meeting with no firm answers as to what council will do next.

Millennia, a circuit board assembly works along Pittsburgh Street, is in an area zoned C-2. The firm, through CEO Michael D'Ambrosio, would like to buy adjacent property currently zoned residential. The company wants property's zoning to be changed to commercial in order to accommodate a plant expansion. The residential lot is owned by the Mock family.

Residents expressed concern that the expansion would negatively impact Spruce Street and the surrounding residential streets with more traffic from a larger number of employees.

Currently, 120 people work at the company. D'Ambrosio, who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, said last week that he hopes to hire up to 50 people.

"We're bending over backwards for him (D'Ambrosio) at the expense of the homeowners," said resident Jack James. "He's promised to take care of the parking area for 12 years now."

Resident Larry Majestri was concerned that trailer trucks will be idling on Spruce Street during deliveries.

Council president Frank Meledandri said the next step would be to schedule a hearing where all sides on the issue could be heard.

But Councilman Sherman Kephart felt an issue with Elizabeth Street should be resolved first. Elizabeth is a private road between Millennia's building and its parking lot and continues to Spruce Street. It runs parallel to Pillow Avenue.

Solicitor Tony Colangelo said since Elizabeth Street is a private road, the abutting owners own the land to the center of the road. Those property owners would have to convey their land to Millennia, which is now a right-of-way.

"We need to iron out that alley situation first," Kephart said.

Mayor Dan Carroll, Kephart and Colangelo will meet with D'Ambrosio on Friday to hear what is termed a Plan B.

"We want to try to see some middle ground with Millennia and the residents," Carroll said. "Millennia is a valued member of our community."

Colangelo said the borough must give at least 30 days notice before the hearing. Millennia is considered a non-conforming use since its predecessor, Allegheny Label, was on the property before zoning was established in the early 1960s.

In other business

• Borough engineer Larry Seiler said the Pittsburgh Street paving and curbing project is completed. Property owners are now liable for sidewalk reconstruction either through the borough's paving contractor or another contractor of their choosing.

"All property owners, to my knowledge, are cooperating," Seiler said.

• Seiler also said the Blockdale water project to serve a warehousing area adjacent to the Allegheny River is completed. The $105,000 project has been paid by state grant money.

• The borough will buy a Chevrolet Impala police car. A $10,000 grant through state Rep. Frank Dermody will be used. The borough has budgeted for the remainder of the cost. The cost could be reduced if some items are transferable to the new car, such as the emergency lighting bar.

• Melandandri told zoning officer James Desmone he is concerned about water left in swimming pools over the winter. Desmone said he would leave a tag in residents' doorways recommending the pools be drained or chemically treated.

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