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Borough council opts not to sell property to Snyder Township

Tyrone Borough Council met last evening and opted not to sell a 75-acre plot of land on the borough’s watershed along Van Scoyoc Hollow Road to Snyder Township.
Council voted 5 to 3 to not sell the property. Council member Steve Hanzir, vice-president of council Bill Latchford and Mayor James Kilmartin voted to sell the land.
Snyder Township Supervisor Charlie Diehl sent a letter to council urging a vote on the sale of the property that supervisors wanted to use as a possible recreational site. None of the three township supervisors attended last night’s meeting.
Snyder Township was offering to buy the borough’s property at a “fair market value.”
But, two former Snyder Township employees did attend borough’s session to ask council not to sell the property to the township. Snyder Township resident and former township code enforcement officer Robert Ayers presented council a petition signed by 80 township residents who were opposed to the sale.
One of those concerned residents, Viola Dysart, who also was the township’s former secretary, addressed council about the traffic and safety issues of having a recreational area along the narrow hollow road. Dysart lives near the property the township was hoping to attain.
Kilmartin asked Ayers if the township supervisors also saw the 80 signature petition presented to council. Ayers told the mayor that the supervisors have not yet seen the petition, but would get copies to them.
The mayor was disappointed that the majority of council opted to not sell Snyder Township the property, but understood its residents concerns. He said council made a decision and it’s time to move forward.
“I’m for working with the township to find a place for recreation,” stated Kilmartin.
In other business last night, council agreed unanimously to join the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Challenge. The challenge consists of the Capital Regional Council of Governments out of Harrisburg, which includes a coalition of local municipalities challenging the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) unfunded mandate for the Chesapeake Bay clean-up.
Council also agreed in a 7 to 0 vote, with Hanzir abstaining, to pay the $5,610 from the borough’s Community Development Block Program (CDBG) to the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD) to support activities in the 2008 program year.
ABCD Deputy Director Pat Miller was on hand to update council on the economic development in northern Blair County. The funds will be utilized along with other public and private resources to support the provision of assistance to firms located in the northern I-99 zone corridor, and to firms interested in locating into that particular area of the county.
A new 2008 Tymco Model No. 600 street sweeper will be purchased by the borough after council unanimously agreed to the terms of the cost. The street sweeper will be purchased from Golden Equipment Co., Inc. The company allocated $17,000 as a trade-in value for the borough’s 10-year-old sweeper. The money to purchase to the new sweeper came from the Special Highway Fund and in the general fund.
In the public comment section of the meeting, Juniata Valley Audubon Society (JVAS) President Dr. Stan Kotala addressed council. Kotala asked council if it could not vote on the windplant proposal until after a “Save Ice Mountain” public forum could be conducted in March.
The mayor told Kotala that a few members from council and the borough authority still needed to take a tour of Gamesa’s Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm and gather more information before a vote would be taken on the wind farm proposal, which Kilmartin felt would most likely give Kotala’s public forum ample time to be conducted.
Kotala said the Save Ice Mountain coalition, consisting of the JVAS, the Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club, the Little Juniata River Association, and Save Our Allegheny Ridges, along with 1,400 Tyrone-area residents who have signed a petition against wind mills on the mountain, will be coordinating a public forum featuring speakers who are experts in various fields.
He said the speakers will discuss topics such as the impacts of industrial windplants on people, wildlife, and the landscape.
A date, time or place for the forum hasn’t been set yet, but Kotala said there will also be a question and answer session. The forum will be open to all, including municipal officials from Blair and the surrounding counties.