The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

October 1, 2013

Zoning variance granted for Coopersdale property owned by city councilman

— A Coopersdale property owned by a Johnstown city councilman has received a special exception for the installation of a storage shed in a residential district.

William Gentile Jr. asked the city’s zoning board for the variance at the property in the 100 block of Cooper Avenue.

The panel voted 2-0 in favor of granting the request with Chairman Tony Caputo and Tony Piro casting yeas. Another member, the Rev. Calvin McCray, was absent from the meeting on Monday morning.

A few residents showed up to oppose the exception, citing concerns about safety from activities taking place at the location. They had collected about 60 signatures on a petition.

Caputo explained the board was only addressing the issue of the 1,280-square-foot structure, not other matters.

“I think basically what we’re voting on is a pole barn,” said the chairman. “We’re not putting anything commercial or anything like that. That’s another issue.”

Gentile succinctly said, “It’s going to be a storage building.”

John Kuzmiak, Gentile’s lawyer, stated he does not believe his client intends to use the property for commercial activity. The land is going to be for storage of equipment Gentile needs for his hauling and plowing business, according to the attorney. Kuzmiak feels building the shed will help put a property back into taxation in a neighborhood where little residential development has occurred in recent years. He explained there are already other nonresidential properties on the street, including a tire shop and motorcycle organization’s clubhouse.

“It would be nice if you get someone that’s going to build single-family residences in Coopersdale, but I don’t believe that that’s realistic today,” said Kuzmiak.

Commercial activity is still not permitted on the land. Josh Summits, Johnstown’s economic development coordinator, said if any does take place it would be an issue for the city’s codes enforcement department to evaluate.

“We’re disappointed in the decision,” said Bob Thomas, an attorney for the residents. “Our concern is that by granting the exception for the pole barn it’s a tacit approval of the commercial ventures that are going on there and that it’s going to ruin the neighborhood. There are safety issues, noise, dust. It’s really too bad for the neighbors. I think they’re going to be the ones that suffer from that.”

The zoning board granted the exemption with three stipulations. Gentile must build a fence, only access the property via Cooper Avenue, as opposed to driving vehicles on a nearby narrow alley, and use safety lights from dusk until dawn.

The ruling can be appealed for 30 days.

Gentile acquired the property, which was most recently an abandoned tennis court, earlier this year. He originally tried to buy the property when the city put it up for sale, but did not submit the high bid in the process. Gentile then purchased it from the winning bidder, according to Kuzmiak.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • amd 31 New filtration system targets mine water

    Orange stones surround a black plastic discharge pipe at the Rock Tunnel abandoned mine drainage site.
    There is a rusty tint to some nearby water and mud, too.
    Soon, though, a new filtration system, consisting of shallow vegetative wetlands, a settling basin, concrete trough, buried limestone and aeration component, is expected to help return those elements back to their natural appearances.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland to weigh speed study

    A group of Theatre Drive residents has convinced Richland Township’s supervisors to look into the costs of a special traffic study weighing whether their residential neighborhood’s current 35 mph speed limit should be reduced.

    July 30, 2014

  • Border battle lingers: Adams Twp. wants court to become involved

    Adams Township officials are asking the Cambria County court to once again become involved in its long-running boundary line dispute with Richland Township.

    July 30, 2014

  • FRANK BURNS 31 Officials urge creation of crime watch groups

    State Rep. Frank Burns told the crowd about the night his life changed forever.
    After leaving a AAABA game, the then-16-year-old Burns was surrounded by three males, “dancing” around him like boxers and taunting him.
    They attacked and he was on the ground. He took a powerful kick to the face.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Injured officer back on duty

    Two people were injured in a three-car accident Tuesday evening when a truck failed to yield to a Johnstown police officer who was rushing to assist another patrol car, police said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimm, Michael Child rapist to report to jail Monday; medical concern cited

    A Johnstown man set to pick a jury today on charges he sexually abused two boys, entered a guilty plea in Cambria County court Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIFT JOHNSTOWN ‘They got it done’: Lift Johnstown recognizes pair for trailhead work

    Rob McCombie and Steve Coy showed up Wednesday at a Path of the Flood Trail spur in East Conemaugh dressed like they were ready to get to work.
    Instead, a group of community advocates were waiting there to thank them for the hard work they’ve already put in.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local News in Brief | Philly man arrested for selling heroin

    July 30, 2014

  • Conemaugh Valley board tackles security, pupils’ instruction time

    The Conemaugh Valley school board on Wednesday agreed to improve security at the high school and increase instructional time and add art classes at the elementary school.

    July 30, 2014

  • Wine tasting, picnic will aid animals

    Briar Valley Winery and Bedford County Humane Society are hosting Yappy Hour 2014 at the vineyard grounds on Stein Road in Everett.

    July 30, 2014


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