The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

May 1, 2013

Judge denies zoning appeal for townhouses

JOHNSTOWN — An Ohio developer’s plan to build income-eligible townhouses in Richland Township has been dealt another setback.

A Cambria court judge has denied Laurel Pointe Family Apartments’ appeal seeking to change zoning at Walter and Nees avenues to pave the way for the development.

President Judge Timothy P. Creany’s ruling: The land is properly zoned as is.

“We do not consider the Ashbridge property spot zoned or improperly set aside on an island,” Creany wrote in an 11-page opinion. “To the contrary, it is positioned at the intersection of two well-traveled roadways, making it highly suitable as an office-commercial venue.”

While noting that he also did not believe changing the property to the R-4 zone the developers are vying for would change the character of the mostly residential neighborhood either, Creany noted the legal burden was on the Laurel Pointe group to show the current zoning was improper.

They fell short, he wrote.

Creany’s ruling gives another victory to the more than 100 local residents who have staunchly opposed developer Miller-Valentine’s Laurel Pointe proposal. The developer has been pushing plans to build two

24-unit townhouses and supporting amenities on the land since late 2010.

Miller-Valentine challenged the township’s zoning ordinance in March 2012 – and then appealed the township’s decision to keep the zoning as-is in August.

“I think the court’s opinion speaks for itself,” Richland Township Solicitor Gary Costlow said. “The judge agreed that there has to be a legal basis to change an ordinance. That includes zoning.”  

The 12-acre lot – a subdivision of Ashbridge Oil – has been undeveloped for years.

Originally zoned residential, it was zoned commercial in the mid-1980s at the request of the land’s owner, Frank Ashbridge.  

And it has remained that way ever since, Richland Township supervisors said.

Laurel Pointe’s attorneys now have until May 20 to appeal the decision to Commonwealth Court.

Attorneys from both sides suggested last year that the matter, regardless of the decision, could be appealed up to the state’s highest court – but as of Wednesday it was unknown if that will happen.

Butler County attorney Donald Graham, who is representing Laurel Pointe’s developers, did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • fire_23 Investigators seek cause of West End fire

    The cause of a five-alarm fire early Monday at a vacant structure in the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in Johnstown’s West End has not been determined, according to city fire officials.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland seeks loan for roof, HVAC work

    Richland Township’s plans to replace the municipal building’s roof and heating and air conditioning system will cost nearly $600,000, Solicitor Gary Costlow said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Undocumented children already arriving in state

    An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border is spilling over into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Auditor cites flaws in gas drilling regulation

    Strained by limited resources and the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, environmental regulators have failed to adequately monitor well safety or to provide clear and timely information to citizens, the state auditor general said Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Driver in fatal DUI crash will serve jail time

    A Vintondale man was sentenced Tuesday in Cambria County court to serve 16 to 32 months in the county jail for a 2011 alcohol-related crash that killed a woman.

    July 22, 2014

  • Reade Twp. water projects receive funding

    Three water treatment systems in Cambria County will receive financial assistance from the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove acid mine drainage from nearby waterways.

    July 22, 2014

  • stoystown Tractor Fest Antique tractors chugging toward Stoystown fest

    A display of a whole lotta horsepower and pulling contests will highlight the 14th annual Antique Tractor Festival.
    Sponsored by Stoystown Lions Club and Laurel Highlands Antique Power Club, the event will be held July 31 through Aug. 3 at the Lions’ park, one-half mile east of Stoystown on Route 30.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Irish dance school wants to set toes tapping in Cambria County

    If you ever wanted to learn to dance an Irish jig, now is your chance.
    Kenny Cavanaugh School of Irish Dance, based out of Milford, Pike County, is expanding into Cambria County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State for $1M

    A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    July 22, 2014

  • Local briefs 7/23/2014

    July 22, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads