South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Boro council hears concerns about scooters, speeders and senior residence


Last updated 9/30/2021 at 8:31am

Mt. Oliver Borough Council's September public meeting was in-person with all council members present and along with a number of people in the gallery.

Council President Amber McGough turned over the opening of the meeting to Solicitor Emily Mueller who explained a change was needed in the announced agenda. A personnel matter had arisen in the past 24 hours and was being added to the agenda which necessitated the change and a correction of the agenda.

Prior to beginning the regular agenda, Chief Ron Lowrey from the Mt. Oliver Fire Department (MOFD), reported on the company's activities.

The department responded to 40 calls in August: 25 of the calls were for EMS and the other 15 were fire calls.

He told the council the MOFD's International Services Organization (ISO) classification had been upgraded to a Class 3 from a Class 4, adding that as little as five years ago they were a Class 7. He said the improved classification could help borough residents with the cost of their homeowners' insurance.

He added there are 2,289 fire departments in Pennsylvania and only 159 are Class 3. There are only five Class 1s and nine Class 2 fire departments in the commonwealth.

"That's due to a lot of the trainings the guys do, a lot that we do with our run cards. People may see that a lot of fire departments show up if we get a fire. One of the reasons we do that is, one of the requirements is how much manpower can you get to the scene in 'x' amount of time, how much equipment," Mr. Lowrey said. "We've added other departments to make sure we're meeting those minimum standards."

Moving into the agenda items, the council accepted the resignation of Police Officer Jason Loose and authorized a Civil Service Examination for full-time police officer. A resolution was also adopted for the sale of 346 Anthony Street to a neighbor under the Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program for use as a side yard.

The added personnel item concerned the termination of employee #11 for an issue that had arisen in the past 24-hours. The motion to terminate the employee passed 7-0 without discussion.

In further business, Councilwoman Christina Reft was appointed to the School District Reapportionment Commission with Aaron Graham as the alternate.

The owner of 232 Stamm Avenue requested they be permitted to remove the existing sidewalk along the property's Sherman Avenue side and re-grade and re-seed the property. Currently, the sidewalk is in disrepair and only 2' wide with a utility pole blocking part. The borough code requires a 5' sidewalk.

The solicitor is checking to see if the sidewalk can be removed entirely, replaced with another of similar size or if the new one must be the 5' width.

In unfinished business, Ms. McGough asked for a motion to waive penalties and interest on five properties owned by Mehrouz Emamzadeh in the borough. At the August meeting, Mr. Emamzadeh's son asked for the relief from the penalties and interest saying his father had been ill and had failed to make the tax and fee payments, incurring the extra penalties.

The request failed with no council member making the requested motion. Even without a motion, several members of the gallery spoke out against granting relief to Mr. Emamzadeh.

Councilman Francis Heckman expressed concerns about the senior residence on Ormsby Avenue.

"There's a lot of problems there that need to be addressed," he said. Residents there have told him there are things needing fixed and they haven't seen the manager in weeks. He asked Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson to see if something could be done to help them.

Mr. Hopkinson said the residence gets annually inspected, but he could contact building officials concerning the current problems and the next inspection. He said if people reach out to him with specific issues, he can relay those problems to the building management.

"If there's a property maintenance issue or a safety issue, then we can get involved," he said.

Mr. Heckman also expressed concern with drivers, including school bus drivers and parents, "flying up and down Otillia Street." He said there aren't any sidewalks there and worried the school kids are "taking their life into their own hands daily."

"(The drivers) are a bunch of morons and you can't get two cars up and down the street, let alone a school bus," he said. Mr. Heckman suggested the school buses shouldn't travel those streets and should instead use Margaret Street.

"Those kids can walk across the field and up the steps to the school," he added.

"I swear to God, I look everyday and one of these kids are going to get hit and killed and it's going to be too late," Mr. Heckman continued.

Councilman Paul Doyle asked if, "we were ever going to get rid of those (electric) scooters around here?"

Mr. Hopkinson replied, "we have no say over that."

Mr. Doyle countered that if there are scooters taking up parking spaces, they are losing the parking revenue.

Police Chief Matt Juzwicak said they don't have a lot of control over the situation.

"I don't believe they're supposed to be parking in parking spots, but there's no way to really control when a 12-year-old goes in a parking spot and walks away it's not a big issue, but it's also not up to me to move those (scooters)," Chief Juzwicak said.

When asked if the owners could be cited, he said it would be something they could look into.


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