The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 16, 2013

Forest Hills discusses variances

SIDMAN — Members of the Forest Hills school board, currently working with engineers and architects on the new, consolidated Forest Hills Middle High School, met with the Adams Township Zoning Hearing Board on Thursday to discuss four variance allowances to township ordinance.

All were met with approval from the board and general community support, although minor restrictions were placed.

Project engineer Keith Gindlesperger of H.F. Lenz Co. presented the most important variance request first – a height increase of 32 feet, 6 inches above the maximum township-ordinated building height of 40 feet.

The three-story structure will cover 200,000 square feet. Its highest point, roughly 72 feet, is reached by facades that will hide HVAC systems placed on the roof of the school.

Gindlesperger told the board that building upward, rather than spreading out the building’s “footprint,” was the impetus be­hind many planning and design decisions.

“The soils in that area are what you would consider unstable,” he said, adding that a wider footprint would create a significant financial impact on the project in terms of ground testing and the laying of new foundation.

Roy Hoffman, Adams Township roadmaster, expressed concern that third-floor windows – planned at 39 feet – could be too high for local fire truck ladders to reach. Gindlesperger referred to a coalition between the Richland Township and Portage fire companies to respond to emergency situations at the new school, allowing use of Portage’s 75-foot ladder and Richland’s 100-foot ladder.

The second variance pertained to the width of the 493 current parking stalls, which are set at 9 feet although township ordinance requires at least 10 feet to minimize stormwater runoff.

Gindlesperger estimated the cost of widening the spaces at $50,000, with indirect costs coming through new earth disturbance measures that would need to be taken.

John Cordek, who lives just across from Forest Hills High School’s G.H. Miller Field, said he was wary about increasing incidences of stormwater overflowing near the area, which flooded at least one nearby resident’s basement.

After adjournment, Cordek met with Gindlesperger in front of the site plan easel. Gindlesperger showed him how the new system would actually be relieving the stressed area by diverting runoff away from the high school, down Locust Street.

The third and fourth variances involved temporary and permanent signage for the new school.

Restrictions were placed on the LED message sign, which is similar in height and function to the Forest Hills Pharmacy sign – no animation and a message delay of at least eight seconds.

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

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
Local News
  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads