A hearing was held on Wednesday afternoon in Carbon County court on two complaints filed by Parryville against the operator of a saloon in the borough. However, the hearing was not completed and was continued for 90 days at the request of both parties.
Parryville filed the complaints against Mark W. Stemler, 318 Beechay Lane, Palmerton, the owner and operator of the Riverwalck Saloon, located at 8 Center St., in Parryville.
Yesterday President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II began a hearing on the two complaints. Parryville filed a contempt complaint against Stemler claiming he continues to do construction at the site without permits and after a stiuplation was filed in December 2009 ordering him to stop all construction. The second complaint sought an injunction against Stemler over sewage disposal. The borough claims the enlargement of the facility required Stemler to seek a permit to increase the sewage facility flow.
Following almost three hours of testimony, the proceeding was continued for the 90 days when Atty. Michael Greek, representing the borough, and Atty. Carole Walbert, for Stemler, said they agreed to allow the borough's sewage enforcement officer, Sean Corey, conduct an inspection of the sewage system and determine if there is an increase in the flow levels which would require a permit.
Also left open was the complaint about the contempt allegation. Both attorneys indicated that during the 90 day period they would attempt to work out a settlement.
During the hearing Richard Fedor, zoning officer, testified that after the Dec. 15, 2009, order issued by the court that all construction at the site had to stop, Stemler continued to build onto the main structure and adjoining properties.
He presented two sets of photos of the site. The first set was taken in September and October, prior to the court order, showing what construction was ongoing on the site. The second set, taken in June 2010, showed that the construction was continuing and many parts completed.
He said Stemler was told he needed permits for the construction he was doing but failed to obtain the ones needed. He also claimed Stemler ignored his warning that he was in violation of the court order to cease all construction.
Under cross examination Fedor admitted he only estimated the number of seating available in the facility after Stemler took over. During the hearing it was noted the borough contends that Stemler enlarged the seating capacity of the structure and adjoining properties that required he obtain variances from the zoning board. The borough claimed Stemler continued the construction without permits.
Fedor also admitted that some of the construction continued after he took the first set of photos until the court order was issued, which would have not violated the order.
The borough also had filed an action claiming that Stemler exceeded the permitted parking requirements because of the expansion. That action is pending before zoning board for review after it had been remanded back to the board by the county court.
Corey also testified that he went to the property to inspect the sewage facility but was denied access by Stemler.
Walbert asked Corey where he got the authority to go to the property to inspect the system. Corey claimed it came under the state sewage act and quoted the section he felt gave him the right. He also admitted a letter he sent to Stemler stating he was in violation quoted the wrong sections of the sewage act.
At this point Nanovic interupted the testimony.
He said to Walbert, "As a practical matter, and rather than go around in circles, wouldn't it be beneficial for everyone that your client allow Corey to inspect the system to determine if the flow has increased and a permit is needed?" Nanovic added if Corey finds there was no increase that required a permit, then the matter would be settled without further legal action.
At this point Nanovic recessed the hearing to let Greek and Walbert confer. After about 10 minutes the two said they reached an agreement to allow Corey to conduct his inspection and also would try and work out an agreement on the other disputes.
Nanovic said he would grant the 90 days continuance and then resume the hearing at a future date.