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S. Hill zoning officer is criticized at meeting

Published October 11. 2011 05:01PM

A Summit Hill couple last night criticized the borough's zoning enforcement officer for threatening them with a fine and confronting them on an issue in a crowded grocery store.

James and Cathy Gieniec of Mountaintop Drive said they were told they could be hit with a $500 fine for not complying with a situation that existed when they bought their home 11 years ago.

The zoning officer, Larry Marek, wasn't at the meeting because he is reportedly on vacation.

James Gieniec said the problems started when he considered putting a shed on his property.

He said he was told he will need a permit for the shed, but that the zoning officer then told him he was in violation for his fence and enclosed porch.

"When we bought the home we had a fence," said Cathy. "We replaced it."

She said they also bought the home with an enclosed fence.

James said Marek approached him in the Fell Street Deli while there were other customers present and told him about his alleged violations.

He presented photos to the borough council which indicated the fence and enclosed porch already existed.

"You showed us proof," said councilman Michael Alabovitz, who said they shouldn't worry about a fine.

Mayor Paul McArdle commented, "He should even approach you in a public place."

Alabovitz apologized "on behalf of the borough."

Attorney Joseph Matika, borough solicitor, said the Gieniecs will have to obtain a permit if they decide to construct a garage.

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