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Municipal News

By J.R. Brower

After complaints from neighbors regarding excessive horse manure odors, Peters Township Council on May 11 agreed to work with a resident to solve the problem.

Kellie DiBattista of 295 Bower Hill Road keeps two horses on her property and was served a notice from the township after neighbors Peter and Trudi Alexander of 287 Bower Hill Road complained about the odors, which they called intolerable.

By all rights, DiBattista is allowed to keep the horses per a township ordinance that allows horses on parcels more than two acres. Trudi Alexander had complained to Council saying that her property had been "devalued" as a result of the smell of horse manure.

Council member James Berquist said that horse ownership in Peters is fairly common on larger acreages and that he has never before heard on anyone complaining about manure odors. Alexander said she has no issues with horses themselves, only their manure. She said she was irate, because she felt that the strong odors prevented her from having a college graduation party in her yard in early May.

DiBattista said that she had already contacted Washington County authorities and has been working with them to resolve the problem. Township Manager Michael Silvestri said that his office would be happy to follow-up with the county to see what addition assistance could be provided.

In other business, Council:
• Was informed by David Mastrostefano of Sheetz, Inc. of their intention to build a new convenience store / gasoline station at 2873-2893 Washington Road, the site of the old GetGo location on northbound Route 19. The Altoona-based company plans a new model type design for this store, which includes 6,300 square feet of space, eight gas pumps, 48 parking spaces and an eatery – all on a 2.5-acre commercial space. Planning Director Ed Zuk said that the parcel would need to be rezoned as well as approved for variances in regards to outside walls and signs.
• Discussed proposals to do an architectural study of security and space utilization for the township municipal building. Silvestri indicated to Council that one of six proposals submitted for the project included a company already familiar with the building, Ross Schonder Sterzinger Cupcheck (RSSC) Architecture. They said that they estimated that a study would take about 84 hours and cost $9,960. The other proposals came in at over 100 hours for the project. Council then asked for the township staff to look into how much more RSSC would charge to perform a study over 100 hours as well.

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