South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver officials raise questions about ‘three-quarter' house


Mount Oliver police learned recently while answering calls that three or four recovering drug addicts, all women and all unrelated, were living in separate rooms in a Giffin Avenue home.

Borough officials were surprised at learning the news and subsequently notified solicitor James Perich, who brought up the matter at the Oct. 17 borough council meeting during his monthly report.

"What do you want me to do about it?" he asked the councilors. "I understand that no one here knew what was going on and then Frank (Police Chief Mossesso) got some calls," he said.

"Go after them," Council President Pat Malloy said.

"We don't want them in there," Mayor James Cassidy said.

The name of the organization housing the former addicts, the specific address and the individuals' names were not revealed at the council session.

@Officials said they were confused because the occupants referred to the dwelling as a "three-quarters house" and they had never heard of the term before.

Mr. Mossesso explained after the meeting police responded to three requests for assistance regarding the tenants: a theft, an overdose and subsequent drug arrest and a domestic dispute. His officers heard from residents that recovering addicts lived there.

Officials at the meeting mentioned: Giffin Avenue is not zoned to allow group homes; that residence does not house senior citizens; as far as local officials know, such a facility at the address is not licensed by the county or the state. A neighboring home houses children under age five and officials have concerns about interaction between the residents of both homes.

Mr. Perich was asked to intervene, arrange for the tenants to leave the borough and report back to council.

In other business, Mr. Perich reported on a possible solution to resolve ongoing litigation. The owner of a Brownsville Road property that was once a local pet shop has offered to donate it to the borough in lieu of paying $12,000 he owes Mount Oliver.

Mr. Perich said the offer came about after he had a meeting and a phone conference requested by a mediator representing the state supreme court. Officials noted "it has a stained glass window and was an attractive building at one time."

However, the mayor and some council members want to inspect the inside of the building before making any decision. The street commissioner and code enforcement officer were requested to accompany them.

A resolution ending the litigation will be held and will be reconsidered at next month's meeting.

Councilman George Farneth was the only member absent at the meeting and Christine Brendel made the public safety report in his place. During September there were 10 narcotics arrests, three DUIs and 19 nuisance properties, two of them Section 8 properties. On the public safety committee's recommendation council agreed to purchase a new crime reporting system from Crime Star Corporation at a cost of $11,510.

Trick-or-treat is scheduled in the borough from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 29. "Crank it at the Clock" will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at the clock tower that day and will feature a celebration with Christian-based entertainment and snacks. Council members said last year's similar event was "fantastic."

Work is progressing on the comprehensive plan, Deana Wuenschel of the planning commission, said. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the planning commission can contact borough offices.

Borough Engineer Kurt Todd was asked to no longer schedule meetings for council at 6 or 6:30 p.m. since it interfered with some councilors' employment.

The mayor said he received an anonymous complaint postal workers were taking up metered parking spots during prime morning hours to load vehicles and business patrons were unable to park. Mr. Cassidy said he did not know if this was true since he was at work at that time.

One official's suggestion was to start parking enforcement earlier. "Why make the borough suffer?" asked Councilman Darnell Sains.

Officials said they hoped the post office could find another location for loading. Mr. Sains said he would talk to post office representatives about the matter.


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