- Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 23:55
- Published on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 23:55
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The Westmoreland County Board of Zoning Appeals met on Aug. 24 to hear Frank Iannarelli’s appeal of a County Zoning Administration finding that mud bog activities on a property zoned as Business General near Leedstown needs special exception approval to continue.
Action was deferred until the Board of Zoning Appeals convenes its next meeting on Sept. 28, but evidence was entertained to support positions on both sides of the question.
The mud bog property was zoned A-1, Agricultural when Iannarelli first sought local government’s approval to hold three all-terrain vehicle mud bog events in April and May 2007.
The late Zoning Administrator Gary Ziegler at that time characterized the three special events as “a temporary land use issue” that could be accommodated by a special use permit. Ziegler reasoned that no special exception approval was needed because the three mud bog events were not proposed as a permanent or ongoing land use activity.
The permits the mud bog operator received were temporary and conditions were attached to the approval.
By July 2007 mud bog neighbor Gerald Fisher lodged a complaint with the county government, asserting that conditions associated with the special use approval had not been observed. Fisher asserted that unauthorized activities were occurring on the site.
In April and May 2008 Iannarelli was back with a requested zoning change. The A-1, Agricultural property would be upgraded to BG, Business General at the recommendation of the late Gary Ziegler.
According to Ziegler, the activities could occur on a Business General property without the requirement of a special exception. In his official capacity, Ziegler publicly praised Iannarelli’s vision as an entrepreneur and touted the mud bog enterprise as a “seed or incubator industry” that would bolster local tourism and foster creation of employment opportunities when sales and small engine repair establishments were created to support the mud bog enterprise.
When the rezoning was approved, conditions were attached but complaints of ongoing violations were again presented to the local government. An official investigation followed earlier this year.
Westmoreland County Code Enforcement Officer Charles Wrightson addressed multiple notices of zoning violations to the mud bog operator on April 11, 2009. On June 12, 2009, Wrightson issued a notice of violation and an order for Iannarelli to bring his operations into compliance with the county’s regulations by submitting a complete application for a Special Exception.
Iannarelli had 30 days to either submit the special exception application or appeal Wrightson’s determination to the county’s BZA.