White Township regulators on Wednesday unanimously approved the announcement of an updated amendment to the community’s hazardous structures ordinance, after the comprehensive plan’s steering committee revised the amendment to include public feedback.
After the July 29, 2021 death of a 5-year-old White Township resident who walked away from home and was found unresponsive at a swimming pool about ten kilometers from his home, supervisors began designing a new language that would would include swimming pools. Fences and other similar structures of regulation.
Regulators took public feedback throughout the drafting process and updated the amendment’s language during a steering committee meeting on Tuesday to include the structures covered by the regulation, as well as their physical conditions.
“Essentially, (the updated amendment) will add things like garages, sheds, barns, wells, cisterns, tanks, pools, hot tubs, fences, commercial/industrial buildings (in the language of the ordinance) and (outline) when added to a dangerous structure because they could become nuisance or dangerous through fire, decay, deterioration or (anything else),” said community leader Chris Anderson.
“So we’re not going to look at what a fence looks like. As long as it is installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, we’re fine with it. It’s about when it starts to fall over, when it creates a dangerous situation or something that’s dangerous to the public.”
Anderson said the goal is to get the regulation out there so regulators can formally adopt it during their Feb. 22 meeting.
“[This ordinance]has been a long time coming,” Anderson said, “but when you’re dealing with a community as large and diverse as White Township, it’s not one size fits all, so you have to be careful how.” you construct something from that language.
Chief Executive Gail McCauley said supervisors have been working diligently to finalize the language of the regulation since the summer of 2021.
“A lot of time has gone into the drafting of this regulation,” McCauley said. “It was serious business and we took the task very seriously. It wasn’t something we thought we could do in a few minutes and pull through. It took a lot of thought.”
Also on Wednesday, supervisors unanimously approved a grant application from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the second phase of construction of an amphitheater at the community’s recreation complex off East Pike.
DCNR has not awarded any of the $145,000 the community requested in October 2022. As such, the community is considering changing the scope of the project before applying for another round of grant funding, which ends in April.
“We will essentially be repeating what we proposed in the fall, and our decisions now are how much more to add to that (grant proposal) or whether to reconfigure the scope of the proposal,” said Chauncey Ross, PR and community communications specialist.
The community received $100,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development last summer for the project’s first phase of development, which includes site preparation and stage construction.
Initially, the second phase of development was to build the stage chapel and the third phase would have fitted the amphitheater with the necessary electronics such as sound and lighting equipment. But after missing two rounds of DCNR funding, Ross said the community could combine the second and third phases of the project into one grant application.
“Whether we include the sound and light in the bandshell (grant) proposal is something we’ll have to decide over the next few months,” Ross said.
Also on Wednesday, regulators made a series of announcements and approved a number of decisions, including:
• The community has not received any applications for a Recreational Advisory Council position, so the Board unanimously approved extending the application deadline to February 22nd.
• The Southwest Planning Commission accepted the community’s application for Complete Streets for Saltsburg Avenue to build a walking path around Getty Heights Park. The commission agreed to fully fund the trail project.
“If everything comes together correctly, I would expect it to be built in early 2024,” Anderson said. “(The way) is more than half a mile long, but not much more. I don’t know exactly (how much we’re getting), but it will be in the region of maybe $400,000.”
• The community began its Route 286 East wastewater expansion project on Monday morning, January 23. The project will add a sanitary sewer line and more than 35 service points in the area. Anderson said the project was in response to “widespread outages of onlot systems.”
“It includes gravity channels, a pumping station and a power line that can be integrated into our existing system,” Anderson said.
• The community unanimously approved a stormwater agreement by Stephen and Richelle McCabe of Aroma Joe’s.
“[It’s]essentially (a) maintenance contract that obliges them to maintain this (stormwater management) system according to their approved plan,” Anderson said. “This (agreement) will be recorded at the courthouse and make them responsible for maintaining that system to function properly and function properly for the next few years, no matter how many years it’s in place.”
• The community unanimously approved a no-build declaration from Earl and Sue Hewitt, who reside on Waterworks Road.
“A no-building waiver basically says, ‘We will not use any part of our property for construction or development purposes. It’s just going to be land,'” Anderson said. “(The non-building statement) puts language on the subdivision, and then … it states if and when they’re going to build something, or if they ever build anything, they must do the channel planning at that time.”