South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. O. Boro Council passes disruptive property ordinance

 

October 23, 2018



A new ordinance amending the Disruptive Property Ordinance was the lead story from the Oct. 15 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.

Under the amended ordinance, if there are three calls to a property for disruptive activity within a 90-day period, the property will be declared disruptive (excluding calls related to domestic abuse). At that point, the resident and owner (if different) will receive notification that their property has been declared disruptive and will be charged for services rendered related to subsequent disruptive activity.

A property may be removed from the disruptive property list if there is no disruptive activity for 12 months. Additionally, the resident or owner (if different) may appeal a disruptive property designation to the disruptive property appeals board, which is made up of three borough residents who do not hold any elected or appointed office.

The vote to adopt the amendment was 5-0, with council members Barbara Keener and Dave Lowe absent.

The meeting began with recognition of the borough’s elected auditors: Ron Stadler, Monica Thomas, and Dan Warren.

A request to install a mirror on the utility pole at the corner of Church and Walter avenues was rejected by council.

In the mayor’s report, Mayor Frank Bernardini said he and Councilman Nick Viglione met with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald about the proposal to turn the former Mt. Oliver School into a health and care giving facility operated by the human service agency Auberle.

“There’s no way this can work on the Hilltop. We’ve absorbed too much too soon.

“This borough isn’t a dumping ground for every social program they want to implement,” Mr. Bernardini said.

The former school is currently comprised of 16 apartments. The owner would sell the building if the plan goes forward, and the current tenants would have to move out.

Under Auberle’s substance use disorder program proposed for placement in the borough, families impacted by a caregiver’s addiction will move into one of the facility’s apartments for 4-6 months with treatment focused on everyone challenged by that addiction.

While the addicted caregiver will receive treatment by Auberle and UPMC addiction specialists, the children will have access to tutoring, mental health services, recreation activities, enrichment programs, and other services.

The program “supports eight families at a time in a secure location,” according to Auberle.

Besides giving Mr. Fitzgerald a petition with more than 200 residents’ signatures opposed to the plan, Mr. Bernardini told the county executive the police department is already overloaded with all of the drug activity in the borough.

The proposal is a permitted use for the property. The owner must apply for a special exception to the Zoning Hearing Board. A public hearing would then be held if/when an application is filed.

“We don’t need no more up here,” Mr. Bernardini said.

He said a more suitable location would be the 740-acre old VA Hospital site, comprised of 19 buildings.

“They can rehab 5,000 up there and no problem,” he said.

Mr. Viglione said to remember to vote in the November election.

“They would not pull this in Mt. Lebanon. Those people vote,” he said.

In the public safety report for September, Mr. Bernardini reported there were 597 total calls for service, and 27 drug arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia. There was one burglary on Sherman St. in which electronics were taken.

There was one DUI arrest.

The K-9 units were used 36 times, including for drug searches, arrests, warrant service, park-and-walks, traffic stops, and targeted patrols. Seven warrants were served by the police department.

The police responded to six commercial alarms and 12 residential alarms.

Parking Enforcement wrote 113 borough tags, while the Police Department wrote 22 borough tags. There were 59 state citations issued for parking violations.

The total collected for payment of fines for tickets issued this month was $1,455.

All equipment is operating properly.

The total miles on all vehicles for September was 3,679 miles. Vehicle maintenance and repair totaled $56.13.

In the treasurer’s report, 77 percent of the property tax has been collected so far, which is the same percentage as last year at this time. Of a total due of $872,354, collected so far is $679,786.

In the finance report, Councilwoman Tina Reft reported that all delinquent refuse data has been transferred to the borough. Mt. Oliver will begin legal filings for delinquent trash bills after the first of the year once the borough receives 2018 data.

Keystone Collections currently handles the task. The borough is taking back the collection of delinquent refuse because both parties feel the borough is better positioned to perform the function internally.

Work on the 2019 borough budget will begin next week.

In the code enforcement report for September, new Councilman Aaron Graham reported there were 103 violations, and 168 of 598 open cases year to date.

There were 18 hearings in front of District Magisterial Judge Richard King. Magisterial fines collected totaled $279.86.

Thirty-eight rental licenses were issued for 67 units, and 40 rental applications/notices were mailed out for licenses expiring Oct. 31.

One building permit and two zoning permits were issued.

In public safety, council voted 5-0 to accept Officer Andrew Guerriero as a full-time police officer as a result of successful completion of his probationary period as set by the Civil Service Commission and the borough.

In the public works report for September, Mr. Viglione reported routine facility maintenance was conducted, like emptying trash, cleaning/sweeping, and re-stocking supplies. Trash cans were emptied three times per week in the business district, and TVs, tires, and debris were picked up throughout the borough.

In Transverse and Ormsby parks, workers cut grass and weeds once a week. They also cut grass and weeds on vacant properties on Amanda, Arlington, Church, Hays, Frederick, Fremont and Giffin.

In sanitary/storm sewer maintenance, inlets were cleaned throughout the borough.

In resolutions and ordinances, council appointed the firm of Maher Duessel to the office of independent auditor.

In questions and answers, an attendee commented that “our road crew is wonderful.”

Another attendee asked the status of a Saint Joseph St. residence in which there is trash and building materials all over the property. He was told a hearing is upcoming.

The next council meeting will be on November 19.

 

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