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Clearfield County, property owner in dispute
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer
The Clearfield County Commissioners officially have no comment concerning a sign that recently appeared at the Third Street property formerly occupied by Ethan's Café/The Angry Bean and Evans Photography as well as several apartments, or about a court order or recent claims made by the owner.
The buildings were destroyed in a fire on Feb. 9 and the property is owned by Dustin Quigley. The commissioners made an offer on the property for $40,000, which was announced at the June 12 meeting. Quigley was asking for $125,000 unpaved and $150,000 paved, according to the article. Quigley did not accept the offer from the commissioners.
After the fire the commissioners hired ServPro to perform cleaning and restoration work at the county administrative offices, which abutted the burned buildings, due to damage from the fire.
On June 11, the commissioners filed a petition for immediate temporary access to the real estate. According to the document, part of the cleanup work included inspection, cleaning and repair to the wall that adjoined the buildings destroyed in the fire, and ServPro could only access the wall by crossing onto the property owned by Quigley. The petition also states that Quigley, listed as the defendant, refused to permit the commissioners or ServPro employees access to the wall for the work and that the county only wanted access to the property for work on the wall.
On June 14, Judge Paul E. Cherry ordered Quigley to allow ServPro access to the property to inspect, clean and repair the wall so that it is no longer a threat to the health and safety of the employees or borough residents, and the order was delivered by a sheriff's deputy to Quigley.
On June 25, a letter was faxed to The Progress from Quigley concerning the matter. Quigley stated in his letter that people authorized by the commissioners entered his property without requesting or receiving his approval and applied plastic wrapping to his construction vehicles in order to protect them. He contacted the Clearfield Borough Police and told them he wanted to press charges. He said that at 2 p.m. he received the court order from the sheriff's deputy and stated he was not notified of any hearing on the matter. He also stated in his letter that he did no believe there was any justification for the public safety issue "because it took 2½ days after the order was served to begin the work. ..."
Quigley then stated in his letter that a "high ranking official has spoken that Clearfield County government is preparing for condemnation proceedings of my property after their low ball offer expires."
At the conclusion of the commissioners meeting the commissioners were asked if they had any comment on the matter and Solicitor Kim Kesner said they cannot comment, only that the court order was lifted and ServPro is completing the punch list of items inside the administrative building.
"If there is a fire you think shouldn't be burning, you don't pour gas on it in the form of public comment," Kesner noted.
Kesner also commented on the appeal of Clearfield County's 10-year waste disposal plan, which was submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection last year. The plan was approved by DEP but is currently under appeal by Waste Management Inc. Kesner said it appears Waste Management wants to prevent the county from having the benefits offered by Veolia, now Advanced Disposal, including those related to recycling and waste reduction, the lack of which Kesner said would be detrimental to the county.
Kesner said he intends to give the public updates on the appeal as often as possible, but has asked the commissioners not to comment due to it being a legal issue. While the county is not technically part of the appeal, which is against DEP's decision, the county has taken a position on the matter and hired special counsel.
Currently the appeal is in the discovery phase and Kesner reported that the Solid Waste Authority director, Jodi Brennan, was deposed one full and a partial day last week and all three commissioners and two representatives of Advanced Disposal were also deposed. On Friday representatives of DEP will also be deposed.
According to an article in The Progress on July 11, a hearing will follow in a few months in Harrisburg.
The commissioners also awarded a contract to repair the bridge on River Street in Curwensville to Francis J. Palo Inc. for $516,349. The company was the low bidder on the project and the county engineer, Lee Simpson and Associates, recommended accepting the bid. A notice to proceed will be given to the company, and the commissioners hope the work will be completed in October.
Commissioner Mark McCracken added that the county has been considering this project for many years and has been working with local businesses, the school district and the borough and hope to complete the repairs without too much disturbance to the community.
In other business:
• the commissioners approved a proposal from Integra Realty Resources for appraisal of the ethanol plant owned by Pennsylvania Grain Processing. PGP is appealing the taxes assessed on the property and the appraisal cost will be shared by the county, the Clearfield Area School District and Clearfield Borough.
• a consulting agreement and provider agreement between the county and AVANCO for the child accounting system used by Children, Youth and Family Services was approved.
• an agreement between the county and Ricoh for a copier in the sheriff's office was approved.
• Sheila Williams was appointed to the Clearfield County Housing Authority to fill an unexpired term until the end of this year.
• the commissioners approved an agreement between the county and 765-DECK LLC to construct a pole building for the probation office at a cost of $64,495. The building will be used to store various equipment used by the probation department and the cost will be paid from fines and costs collected by the department.
• a purchase of service agreement was approved with Dr. Allen Ryan, Amy Spaw Counseling, NHS Youth Services, Western PA Cares, Community County Services and Children's Aid Society.
• the Liquid Fuel allocation of $3,632.94 for Karthaus Township was approved.
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