Parking issues at Mt. Oliver Council discussed in-person
June 29, 2021
The Mt. Oliver Borough Council returned to in-person meetings in June. Attending the meeting were council members Aaron Graham, David Lowe, Amber McGough, Christina Reft and Francis Heckman, along with Mayor Frank Bernardini. Absent were council members Nick Viglione and Paul Doyle.
Starting the meeting were several public hearings by borough residents concerning parking and loud noise.
Vincent Nararek requested parking be removed from the north side of Overhill Street. "I've been having so much trouble with people parking on that side," he said.
He said neighbors are refusing to move their vehicles, often making it difficult for him to cut his grass. Last year, a neighbor's window was broken while he was cutting the grass. Confrontations with the neighbors have almost gotten physical, he said.
"For a hundred years there's never been no parking on that street," Mr. Nararek said adding people used to park on Wagner, but don't anymore.
He also said during the winter when the street is plowed, snow will get piled five feet high along his property.
Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson said according to the current ordinance, parking is permitted on both sides of Overhill. Council can consider restricting parking to one side of the street.
Council President McGough asked if a fire truck would be able to get through if cars were parked on both sides of Overhill. Fire Captain Anthony Shuey said it would depend on which way the truck would be coming into the street.
Ms. McGough said the council could take a look at the situation and come back to the July meeting to come to a resolution on whether or not to allow parking on Overhill Street.
"Look at it, make your decision because the only alternative I have right now if I can't get the borough to put a "No Parking" (sign) I will have no other choice but to take the borough to court in front of a judge, let him see the pictures and let him make the call," Mr. Nararak said.
At the second public hearing, Jason Kottler said he was "disappointed in a situation with the police department" over an incident on May 31 about 2 or 3 p.m. On that day, he said a neighbor was playing loud music from his car. Mr. Kottler asked him to turn it down and he refused.
Mr. Kottler said he then called the police. The police responded to the call, but left without speaking to the man.
Police Chief Matt Juzwick said the officer told him there was an older gentleman playing oldies while he was waxing his car. In the officer's opinion, the music wasn't loud enough to make an issue about it and there wasn't anything inappropriate about the music.
Mr. Kottler disagreed the music wasn't loud saying he could hear it and it was disturbing him in his house. He added it has happened a couple times in the past, but hasn't had a problem with loud music since Memorial Day.
Ms. McGough told the police chief if there are more calls concerning loud music in the area, perhaps the police could talk to the neighbors.
"It may not be an ordinance issue, but you want to respect your neighbors," she said.
Mr. Kottler suggested a bicycle officer dedicated to quality-of-life issues would help in the borough.
Noting the borough has had bicycle officers in the past, Ms. McGough said they could add it into discussions for their working groups, but added there are cost and staffing issues involved.
Later, during discussions, council members deliberated on a possible new ordinance governing off-street parking. The proposed ordinance would require a curb cut, prohibiting driving over a curb to park in a yard.
"If you are going to park off street, you should have a proper curb cut," Mr. Hopkinson said. In addition to getting a permit for the curb cut, the property owner would have to follow the zoning rules and regulations. The new ordinance, if approved, would grandfather in those with existing gravel lots they park on. However, existing gravel lots would still be required to have a curb cut.
If someone is driving over the curb to park on a lawn, they will receive a notice and can get the necessary information on what is needed to install a proper driveway or parking pad. An all-weather surface, such as concrete, asphalt or pavers, is required for a parking pad. Zoning requirements passed last June include the provision for the all-weather surface.
The ordinance will be considered for adoption at the July Borough Council meeting.
Council members were also asked to consider two applications for handicapped parking spaces, one at 304 Church Avenue and the other at 309 Church Avenue. The application was complicated by Church Avenue only permitting parking on one side of the street.
Solicitor Emily Mueller said they have to look at all the requirements in the ordinance for a handicapped parking space. If they meet the requirements, they are entitled to receive the space.
Requirements include: Number and location of other reserved handicapped parking spaces within two-blocks of the applicant's residence; number of other parking spaces available within 500 feet of the applicant's residence; availability of off-street parking on the applicant's property; the affect granting the handicapped parking space would have on the free flow of traffic; and, the affect the reserved handicapped parking space would have on other parking spaces in the area.
Mr. Hopkinson said the only impact of granting the spaces would be on the last requirement considering there is only parking on one side of the street.
"I think they meet all the requirements. I think we have to approve both of these," Ms. McGough said.
Mr. Heckman suggested they table the request while they took more time to look at the situation.
Ms. McGough disagreed, saying they've been looking at some things month after month after month. She added they get the agenda items in enough time for the council to look at things ahead of time.
In separate votes, both handicapped parking spaces were granted with Mr. Heckman and Mr. Lowe dissenting.
In the Fire Department Report, Capt. Shuey said there were 49 calls for service last month: 22 were fire related calls and the remaining 27 were for EMS.
He said the department brough in "a couple" new members and attended a joint training Engine Company Class and a Truck Company Class for eight weeks with other local fire companies. MOFD will have four members attending the National Fire Academy in Maryland at the end of July.
The MOFD has been training more with their mutual aid companies.
In regular business, the council approved the 2021 Road Program for $119,686 to Independent Enterprises. The contract covers the complete resurfacing of Ormsby Avenue. Paving costs will be shared with Pennsylvania American Water Company which will be doing work in the street starting in the next several months. Mr. Hopkinson said due to water company work, paving of Ormsby may not happen until next year.
In accordance with the Mt. Oliver Borough Civil Service Rules and Regulations, council approved the hiring of two new full-time police officers: Anthony Zitalone and Jason Loose.
Two resolutions brough before council had to do with vacant property.
In the first one, Resolution 844-1, council approved the Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program Application for the acquisition of 725 Brownsville Road. A resident requested the vacant lot, next to their primary residence, to be used as a side yard.
The second resolution, 844-1, encompassed four properties: 193 Ormsby, 201 Ormsby, 139 Stamm and 200 Stamm for Mt. Oliver Borough. Mr. Hopkinson said the Ormsby Avenue lots are the remainder of the Ormsby Avenue fire lots and the Stamm Avenue properties may be considered for off-street parking for the park in the future.
The council also adopted a resolution approving an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with the City of Pittsburgh for Emergency Medical Services.
Mr. Hopkinson said the borough has had an agreement with the city for some time to provide EMS services. The agreement is for three years.