- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—RACCOON TWP. — A decision regarding a zoning district change was postponed July 14 because of a lack of needed documentation, and township residents aren’t happy.

Robert Springer, owner of Springer’s Truck Service in Raccoon Township, filed for an application with the township’s board of supervisors for a zoning change of four properties on Holt Road.

Currently, the properties are in an R-1 residential district, and Springer has requested they be amended to C-2 highway commercial, according to a letter sent to neighboring township residents.

Springer and his attorney, Myron Sainovich, did not return several calls seeking comment.

On July 14, residents attended a meeting to see whether their residential neighborhood would become commercial. A public hearing was held the previous week so that residents could voice opinions regarding the possible zone change.

Near the beginning of the July 14 meeting, township solicitor Chad McMillen announced that no vote would take place regarding the Springer case because “we’re waiting on additional documentation,” he said. He said the vote would take place at next month’s meeting and no further questions regarding the case were to be addressed.

Some residents were not happy that the vote was postponed and that their residential neighborhood might turn commercial.

Lifelong Raccoon resident Frank Progar opposes any change. He said Springer wants his trucks to have enough room to enter his lot without having to turn around and back in.

But Progar said the smell of diesel fuel has become overbearing and the truck noises wake him up at 5:30 a.m. sometimes. He also mentioned that originally, Springer was allowed to have only two trucks on his lot, but now he has four or five.

The property where Springer’s trucks are located is a densely residential area, township resident Maureen Cox said.

“Our roads are rural roads; they’re not equipped to handle the burdens of tractor-trailer traffic. Our children wait on buses on this narrow road, so safety is a huge concern,” she said.

Resident Anna Moore said many unanswered questions remain about the potential change.

Resident Daryl Care said he finds it disturbing the supervisors did not provide answers to the community’s continued questions at the last meeting.

“Is this road (rated) high enough to have trucks on it? Has a traffic study been done?” he asked.

But McMillen said the supervisors also have questions, which is why they haven’t voted yet.

“From what we know right now, (Springer) purchased a first parcel and maybe an additional prior to any zoning being established in Raccoon. … The question we don’t have an answer to is if there were any restrictions when the zoning went into effect in 1999,” McMillen said.

Apparently, Springer was grandfathered-in regarding the zoning restrictions, but McMillen said officials haven’t found any evidence of that yet, so it is still up for debate.

Care’s big concern is that one of the supervisors is employed by Springer, which he believes is a conflict of interest.

That supervisor, Tom Marshall, could not be reached for comment despite numerous calls, but McMillen said, “Mr. Marshall contacted the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors regarding this issue and they said he is permitted to vote.”

Cox said that even if Marshall is legally allowed to vote, morally he should step back.

“We can only hope that our supervisors vote in the best interest of the community and say no to the change,” she said.

“I’m against (the zoning change) 100 percent, and everyone around me is,” Progar said.

Township secretary Janice Mikoloski said the board is permitted 45 days to make a final decision.

The board plans to vote at its 7 p.m. Aug. 11 meeting.

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(c)2015 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)

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