AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

August 28, 2013

Complaint halts paving project

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock landlord Frank Monteleone's concerns that town officials weren't following their own ordinance put a stop to a planned paving project at the borough building.

"They shut themselves down," said Tim Bruno, watershed manager of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's northwest regional office in Meadville.

The borough was finalizing plans to pave the gravel portion of the parking lot at 306 E. Water St. when Monteleone on July 29 filed a complaint with the Butler County Conservation District, saying the borough didn't have the required stormwater management plan in place.

The complaint was forwarded to the DEP that same day, which is also when Bruno visited the parking lot in person, Bruno said Friday, adding his responsibilities include serving as the regional stormwater management coordinator.

Each county and each municipality is required by DEP to have stormwater management ordinances in place. Slippery Rock council in 2011 adopted one that says any paving project over 5,000 square feet must have a stormwater management plan, and the gravel part of parking lot that was going to be paved is about 12,000 square feet, Bruno said.

"They're bound by their own ordinance," he said.

The borough's solicitor, Neva Stanger, called Bruno at his office July 30 and told him someone photographed his DEP business card and sent it via text message to several people, whom she didn't name, and she had questions about what he had been doing in the borough, Bruno said.

He explained Monteleone's complaint, his findings and the borough's own ordinance, and Stanger later sent him an email confirming the paving project wouldn't happen.

Bruno said he's not sure how things would have played out if the borough had moved forward with the paving project minus the stormwater management plan.

"I think you'd have to ask them that," he said.

The issue was addressed briefly at the end of the Aug. 6 council meeting during public comment, when resident Dennis McGlone said he felt the borough had planned to circumvent its own code, calling into question officials' credibility. "Consider whose interests you're elected to serve," he said.

After the meeting, council President Dave Miller wouldn't comment except to say the parking lot would not be paved.

According to a sample of the ordinance on the Butler County Planning Commission's website, which Bruno said would be very similar to Slippery Rock's ordinance, a stormwater management plan is designed to: manage accelerated runoff and erosion and sedimentation problems; preserve natural drainage systems; protect water resources; and maintain existing flows and quality of streams, among other preventative measures.

Published Aug. 14, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.