The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 7, 2012

Controversial tract sold

David Hurst

— The Richland Township property eyed for income-eligible apartments is now in its developer’s hands – even while a legal battle over the project’s fate continues.

Ashbridge Oil Co., the Walter and Nees avenue lot’s longtime owner, has sold the tract to Laurel Pointe Family Apartments Limited Partnership, whose parent company, Miller-Valentine Group, has been seeking to build a townhouse community there for more than a year.

Records show the land was sold for $550,000.

The group is trying to get zoning changed on the land to allow for the project. Neighbors are fighting it, arguing the land is properly zoned and the income-eligible apartments don’t fit in their neighborhood.

Cambria Judge Timothy Creany is considering the Laurel Pointe group’s court appeal, which asks him to overturn the township’s decision against a zoning change.

He has scheduled an Oct. 22 hearing to decide whether additional testimony needs to be heard or whether the case can be decided based on what’s already on the record.

Miller-Valentine officials weren’t reached for comment this week. Their attorney, Donald Graham, indicated during the summer that the developer could find zoning-permitted uses for the land, if all else failed, but has said it was not a preferred option.

Graham did not return a call seeking comment.

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