Swissvale Council Addresses Present, Future Needs

The new fire station, Carrie Furnace site, zoning ordinance, gas line work and road repairs are among topics discussed at Aug. 29 meeting.

Future vs. Present

A resolution to initiate the process of updating the borough’s zoning ordinances was tabled by Council at its meeting Wednesday evening.

Councilman Darrell Rapp opened the meeting with an explanation of Resolution 12-10, which would be made jointly with Edgewood and Rankin, which have already made a commitment to it.

“Our current zoning ordinances were adopted in 1991,” Rapp said. “With the participation of and Rankin, we will have state support for the rewrite.”

Rapp further explained that the process of updating the zoning would be beneficial on two accounts:

  • Updating verbage: In 1991, concepts such as “sustainability” were not known.
  • Zoning of the property: The borough would use a new market analysis method.

However, other council members had concerns about committing up to $10,000 of the budget to the project when there are more immediate needs in the borough. Councilman Darrell Bell, in particular, was concerned about focusing on the future when the borough had more immediate needs, like the repair or replacement of a back hoe for plowing in the winter.

“But if you don’t deal in the present to prepare for the future,” Rapp replied, “you’re going to repeat the past.”

After further discussion, the resolution was tabled until it was modified to provide the borough opportunities to withdraw during the process.

A War Zone

Among the present needs addressed is needed road work on Smokey Wood Drive.

"I drove behind someone on that road the other day," Bell said. "And it looked like they were dodging land mines.

"Our cars have been swallowed up because there's no road. It looks like a bombed out World War II scene," said resident after the meeting. "For the past three years, we've been promised something would be done. We came back tonight to check."

No decisions were made on the road repair, which was only briefly mentioned.

Educating the Public on Gas Repair

During the Public Works report, Councilwoman Sharon Hanchett expressed concern over the potential impact of gas work being done in the borough.

"I think our people deserve more education about what happens when they replace their lines," Hanchett said. "Some people didn't know they didn't have gas until the next day."

Hanchett, whose street is currently having gas work done, said crews are in their 10th day of construction and residents were not well informed about all that the work entails. Of chief concern is the potential financial responsibility residents may incur with the repair.

"Residents are liable for the line from the house to the street," said Mayor Deneen Swartzwelder.

There was consensus among council members that the community needs to be better educated on the process.

"But I think the gas company needs to communicate this to the resident, not us," Hanchett added.

Fire Prevention

Fire Chief Clyde Wilhelm announced upcoming activities at the :

  • Sept. 29: There will be the dedication of the station and a new ladder truck. A section of Irvine Street will be closed for the event.
  • Oct. 7: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a Fire Prevention Open House, including a safety trailer and tours of the fire station.

Council members urged the chief to consider making the Fire Prevention program an annual event. The chief agreed it was a goal of his to do so. 

H B August 31, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Would anyone at the Patch be able to do some research on what's happening with the abandoned (and condemned?) houses in the 7800 block of Westmoreland? They were damaged in a storm two or three years ago, and their tenants moved out soon after. I heard they were supposed to be torn down this summer, but they're still standing and dropping bricks now and then. This intersection is a bus stop for school kids, and I've often seen the crossing guard directing kids to avoid walking on the sidewalk in front of the building because she's worried they could get hit by debris.
Michele Stanton September 01, 2012 at 02:42 PM
H B Swissvale Council is approving the awarded contractor at the September 5th meeting. Demolition should start on that property in the next few weeks.


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