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Changes to Lowe's building plan granted

Published August 22. 2011 05:03PM

Mahoning Township supervisors granted changes to the Lowe's building plan to allow for the removal of two light standards and curbing that was on the plan but actually was placed on the neighboring property of Edgar Steigerwalt. The changes were granted by a 4-0 vote, but not before a first motion by Supervisor George Stawnyczyj to link the approval of the changes to the establishment of an escrow account for the maintenance of the traffic light at the intersection of the Lowe's store failed on a 1-3 vote with the other supervisors voting down the motion.

"There are two light standards and six parking spaces along with curbing the plan said needed to be placed on the Steigerwalt property that they are requesting be removed from their property," said Lowe's engineer David Koemer.

Koemer said the Steigerwalts will still retain an easement that provides access to their property from the Lowe's store lot, but they wanted the light poles and curbing removed from their lot. Supervisors had discussed this to an extent at a previous meeting when they debated whether or not their engineer could approve the request, but because they decided he couldn't Koemer came to ask himself.

Chairperson John Wieczorek said that while Koemer was present, he was interested in knowing Lowe's position on the traffic light at the intersection. "Walmart had a prior agreement to maintain the light while they owned the store and we wanted to know what Lowe's position was with regard to continuing the maintenance."

Koemer said that Lowe's wasn't opposed to accepting the maintenance of the light but pointed out the requirement made by supervisors to install a pre-emption system since the original agreement was discussed changes the nature of the light and he felt that it changes the light's liability. "Once we agree to take ownership it becomes our liability and if the light is changed from the original state that also changes the liability. I think Lowe's would like to see some agreement with the [Carbon Plaza] Mall to share the liability for the light once the pre-emption system is installed." He also mentioned that he couldn't speak about Lowe's installing the pre-emption system because he was not sure about the costs. Township Fire Chief Mark Ebbert told Koemer the cost for the installation is $15,000.

Wieczorek asked what would Lowe's do if the Mall refused to accept liability for the changes to the light. Koemer said that happened Lowe's would consider everything and do what it could to make everything good.

Supervisor George Stawnyczyj said he believed the light went with the property and that since Walmart maintained it while they were there and the light's maintenance was transferred to Lowe's, it was now their responsibility.

Supervisors then briefly discussed the idea of making the approval of the plan changes contingent on Lowe's establishing an escrow account for the maintenance of the traffic light. Supervisor Franklin Ruch said he was not in favor of holding the project up for the purpose of getting an escrow account established. Koemer said the negotiations for this account could take more than a few days for attorneys to agree to and that it would needlessly hold up the project for some minor changes.

Stawnyczyj agreed the changes were minor but he also believed the escrow account should be established for the light and made a motion to make the approval of the changes to the plan contingent on the escrow account being created by Lowe's. The motion failed due to lack of support with Wieczorek, Ruch and Supervisor Linda Benner opposing the conditional motion for a 1-3 vote.

Next, Wieczorek moved to grant changes to the plan removing the light standards and curbing changes which passed on a 4-0 motion followed by a second motion to direct Solicitor Tom Nanovic to work with Lowe's attorneys to set up an escrow account for maintenance which again passed 4-0 with Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt absent from the meeting. Koemer said he would speak with Lowe's about the pre-emption system and they would determine what their decision would be.

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