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Miles Brothers Get Green Light for Rezoning at Glassworks Business Park
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The request from Miles Brothers, LLC. to rezone a plot of land between Robinwood Drive and Bond and Gemmell Drives for expansion of its $39 million Glassworks Business Park was approved by the Clarion Council Borough on Tuesday evening.
(PHOTO: Miles Brothers, LLC. is owned and operated by three brothers: Ryan Miles, Curtis Miles, and Theron Miles.)
The approval grants the rezoning of a 35-acre parcel located behind the old Owens-Illinois Glass plant from Residential 1 to Commercial 1.
Glassworks plans to convert a 28.5-acre Brownfield site formerly housing the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant into a compound with seven building pads ready for business development. One of the “pads” already has a tentative contract for five acres and a proposed medical marijuana grow facility.
That site is already zoned for commercial use.
“We purchased an additional 30 acres behind the park that was formerly zoned industrial. Sometime close to five years ago that was rezoned residential,” said Ryan Miles of Miles Brothers.
According to borough officials, the property was rezoned residential in 2011.
“We intend to bring some of that property back into the park,” Miles said. “We would like to rezone that and have it as an option to extend the Terra Works business to the end of that parcel and to add a stormwater detention facility for the park. The reason is we don’t want to take away from the land that can be developed for stormwater management. Instead of using three acres here we could use three acres in the back.”
At a public hearing about the proposed zoning change held prior to the June 5 Clarion Borough Council meeting, Ryan Miles also indicated plans to put a garage on the property.
“We want to put a garage back there,” Ryan Miles said June 5. “We don’t want to put it on the Glassworks (property). That is intended for jobs. Building a garage on that property takes away from that. Right now, I have a 7,000-square foot garage. It is not big enough, and I can’t petition to put a garage on residential-owned property.”
During the citizens’ comments at Tuesday evening’s meeting, the council heard from many in a crowd of over 20 residents in attendance, some in support of the rezoning and others with concerns.
Stephanie Kalinowski, who lives on Bond Drive, provided the council with packets of information that included a compliance notice from the Department of Environmental Protection, which states that the DEP conducted an inspection of a timber harvest that was completed in the fall of 2017 on the South Sheridan Road property.
According to the notice, the inspection revealed that heavy equipment was used within wetlands during the harvest, an “encroachment” which requires a permit or authorization from the DEP, which the Miles Brothers failed to obtain. The conditions were identified as a violation of the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, the Clean Streams Law, and Chapters 102 and 105 of the DEP Rules and Regulations.
The violations were referred to the Clarion Conservation District for resolution.
Theron Miles responded for the Miles Brothers.
“We’ve been working with the EADS Group Engineering Program and a representative from the DEP came on the site and asked if they could walk the site and evaluate its environmental conditions,” Theron Miles said. “The year prior we had logging activities to cut down stump trees on the property. They came out to see how the regrowth was being handled.”
Miles went on to say that all of the concerns regarding protected wetlands have been addressed, additional areas had been identified as protected wetlands, and the project is now in compliance with state and local environmental regulations.
“I’d also like to note, on behalf of Miles Brothers, that these designated wetlands are not naturally occurred,” Ryan Miles said. “They’ve occurred from rainwater discharge from manmade development from the Troese addition, from the University Manor housing development along with other runoff. Being that the elevations in that area was the lowest elevation, it collected a lot of this rainwater and became a manmade issue. We’re accepting that, and we’re working with everyone to solve these issues. One of the things we’re going to do is put in a detention basin for water collection along with keeping the manmade wetlands in there to satisfy any needs of the state or local government.”
Theron Miles said these aren’t new plans.
“These are things that have been addressed years past,” Theron Miles said. “Obviously, this has very much been brought to their attention where they need to come to the site due to scrutiny, which is perfectly fine to do. We’re happy they came.”
“Essentially these did not change anything we plan to do in the past. We’ve always known of these areas, and as contractors, it’s something we’ve worked around our entire lives, and we certainly respect these areas and will not disturb them.”
“The logging was done by another company. The one logging path they pulled through was reseeded, maintained, and has been addressed.”
Kris Cosby, a Liberty Street resident, spoke in favor of the proposed rezoning.
“I’ve lived in Clarion for over 25 years…I’ve witnessed the slow but steady decline of our economy during that time, and I think what the Miles Brothers are doing here is our best bet for the future,” Cosby said. “I just came today to support these guys in their efforts. I understand they want to get that land rezoned for commercial use. Let’s do it. Let’s bring jobs here. Let’s save our town.”
Another citizen, a resident of Robinwood Drive, expressed concerns about a possible decrease in the value of nearby residential properties due to issues like the smoke the nearby residents dealt with from the property in the past.
Theron Miles spoke up again, stating that the smoke that caused complaints previously was a one-time issue from the burning of limbs and small brush during the clearing of the land.
“We received complaints about it and notified the fire department and the borough and ceased doing that immediately and decided we would chip the remaining brush that was there,” Theron Miles said. “I apologize. Sometimes the wet pine does put off an odor, and we ceased that as soon as we received the complaints, and it will not happen again.”
Rich Herman, a resident of Still Drive and a former Council member, offered additional commentary and a suggestion for the Miles Brothers.
“This isn’t an issue about jobs or not jobs: the Glassworks is already in development,” Herman said. “This is about land that is sitting in the back that borders two housing developments where we’re hoping to peacefully coexist. We’d like the jobs to come, and we’d like to work with the Miles Brothers and their development so we can all live peacefully and enjoy the fruits of the labor, so our homes are okay and their development is okay. The proof will come down the road whether they, in fact, are good neighbors as they say they want to be or not. Time will only tell that.”
“After looking at the plans, I know most of the people in University Manor feel, somewhat strongly, and I’ve shared this with Miles, that after looking at Mrs. Kalinowski’s driveway today, you can see all the way down to some of the equipment that’s laying by the old clubhouse and those trees that are there are going to shed their leaves and you’re going to be able to see a lot more. It would be a nice gesture, both on that side, on the Bond Drive side, and over on the Robinwood side if they would consider putting a tree barrier there.”
“I would encourage them to do that to show that their intentions are good, and we’d like to all work together.”
Arlene Troese, a resident of the Troese addition, also spoke up with concerns about the possibility of the changes lowering the value of surrounding properties.
“My husband built that project [the Troese addition],” Troese said. “He built it for families, and there are young families starting all over again. I’ve been there a long time. It is a safe place for even handicapped [people]. There are more people coming in and raising their children there. But the thing is, I don’t know how good that this company is going to be. Will it depreciate our properties? Our taxes, we pay high taxes there, very high, so we should have the best, not the worst. Like I say, you want to work with the people? A lot, they want to move out, but they won’t get their property value because of you. So, you want to do better? You’re going to have to do better.”
Emily Weiser, an employee of Miles Brothers, LLC., who is also a certified Pennsylvania evaluator and has worked in the field of tax assessment for over five years, said residents should be more concerned about the rise of low-income housing due to the lack of quality jobs in the area.
“I just want to basically address the crowd and let you know that nothing is going to hurt the value of your home more than increased unemployment, Section Eight, and that is what we’re getting here because there are not jobs, and that’s what these boys are trying to do,” Weiser said.
When it came time for the council to address the proposal, council member Rachel Roberts made a motion to bring it back to the table action on the rezoning request. Council member Brenda Sanders-DeDe seconded the motion, council president Carol Lapinto called for a voice vote, and the motion passed.
Roberts then made a motion to “take action” on the rezoning proposal, council member Sanders-DeDe seconded the motion, council president Lapinto called for a voice vote, and the motion passed.
Council solicitor John Marshall then paused the proceeding to clarify with the council members whether the previous motion was to take action on or approve the proposal. Roberts said it was intended to be an approval and the other council members agreed the vote was for approval of the proposal. Marshall then asked that the record be amended to reflect the motion was to approve the proposal.
In other business the council:
- Gave permission for Todd Colosimo to drawdown CDBG Funds to reimburse the General Fund for Colosimo’s CDBG wages from October 23, 2017, to June 29, 2018, in the amount of $2,822.82, and to reimburse the General Fund for 2018 CDBG Conference Reimbursements in the amount of $579.41.
- Approved Linda LaVan to attend the Pennsylvania Association of Municipal Administrators’ Conference August 12-15, 2018, at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, Pa., at an estimated cost of $1,034.36 (Hotel fee, $446.22; conference registration $300; mileage approximately $288.14).
- Approved Clarion Area Chamber of Business & Industry’s Special Event Request for the 65th Autumn Leaf Festival to be held September 29 through October 7, 2018.
- Approved Clarion Area Bobcats’ Special Event Request for their Ceremonial Bonfire to be held on August 23, 2018.
- Approved Cub Scout Pack 51/Troop 51′s Special Event Request to close South Jefferson Place between Clarion County Park and S&T Bank from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on August 19, 2018.
- Approved Ross A. McGinnis VFW Post 2145′s Special Event Request for Patriots Day Services on September 11, 2018, in the Clarion Memorial Park.
- Approved Resolution No. 2018-420, adopting the Clarion County 2018 Hazard Mitigation Plan.
- Appointed Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC as Auditor for Years 2018, 2019, and 2020.
- Accepted a resignation from Andrew Monger as park-time Meter Enforcement Officer, effective July 13, 2018.
- Authorized the EADS Group, Inc. to complete the design and cost estimate for the Seventh Avenue and Wood Street Storm Water Repair Project.
- Approved advertisement for a part-time Meter Enforcement Officer for 29 hours per week at the rate of $9.25 per hour.
- Authorized the EADS Group, Inc. to complete engineering, design, and an updated cost estimate for the Library Storm Water Project.
- Gave permission for the solicitor to advertise Ordinance No. 2018-825, to repeal Chapter 190 Subdivision and Land Development, and Chapter 38, Planning Commission, Section 38-4(b)(3) and (5) of the Clarion Borough Code of Ordinances; and to adopt Clarion County’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
- Thanked Eagle Contracting, Inc. for the donation of $200.00 for Paul A. Weaver Community Park.
The next meeting of the Clarion Borough Council will be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.
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