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Restaurant owner headed for court

Published December 15. 2010 05:00PM

Lower Towamensing Township has decided to take the owner of a township restaurant to court.

The township's board of supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to proceed with legal process against Ron Gilbert, owner of Covered Bridge Inn, for failure to comply with the township's uniform construction code.

Gilbert, who was not in attendance, sent supervisors a letter that said he was on vacation.

Last month, township solicitor Jim Nanovic told supervisors that at the request of the board, he has prepared an amendment against the owners to make them comply with the UCC code.

Nanovic previously said Gilbert has never followed the requirements of the code at his restaurant, located at 4300 Little Gap Road, from the time it went into effect in 2004.

Gilbert has clashed with the township in recent years. In Dec. of 2007, the township's zoning hearing board granted Gilbert an extension of a permit to build a kitchen addition onto his establishment.

As part of that approval, the zoners asked then-township zoning officer Sherwood Green to lift a stop work order on Gilbert's permit because work had already commenced at the site before the expiration of the permit.

In Sept. of 2007, zoners issued Gilbert a continuance on his appeal of the stop work order issued by Green. Gilbert appealed the stop work order so he could build a 65-square-foot kitchen addition onto his hotel.

As part of that continuance, zoners told Gilbert he had to come back before the board with a comprehensive plan that detailed his design, and was in compliance with the township zoning ordinance.

Green said he issued the stop order to Gilbert on Aug. 2, 2007, because he said Gilbert's permit was no longer valid. Green also said the location for the foundation of the addition had changed from what was initially approved.

Gilbert said he was originally issued a building permit by township zoning officer Duane Dellecker in 2004 for a one-story addition onto a side of the Inn to expand the dining room and put in a new kitchen.

Gilbert said he attempted to acquire the property from a neighbor that would allow for the addition. He also said that the original permit didn't require architectural drawings, and that the new location on the addition was up to code and fell within all required setbacks.

In other business, supervisors:

- Appointed Jay Mullikin II to fill a vacancy on the township's Planning Commission.

- Granted an extension for New Cingular Wireless AT&T Mobility until Feb. 28, 2011.

- Agreed to purchase a fire safe cabinet in the amount of $750.

- Granted Brian Stroup of Keystone Consulting three waivers for a subdivision plan.

- Granted Paul Berger an extension until Feb. 1, 2011, for a subdivision plan.

- Appointed Supervisor Jesse Mendez as voting delegate for the Hershey conference from April 17-20, 2011.

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