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Council to study woman's plan to install hair salon in home

Published March 16. 2012 10:01AM

Lansford council on Wednesday promised to take a hard look at the plight of a resident who says she was wrongly told she must hire the borough's engineer to establish a hair salon in a small frame home at 1 W. Kline Ave.

Kristie Zimmerman said her plans have been approved by the borough's zoning hearing board, and that she plans no major renovations.

However, she was told she needs $3,000-$5,000 worth of architectural services on top of the $500 she's already spent on the engineer.

Council members told Zimmerman she does not have to use the borough engineer. Councilman Lenny Kovatch said code enforcement/zoning officer Kathryn Labosky should routinely let people know they can use any engineer or architect they want.

Zimmerman told council she was told by Isett employee Rick Harmon that she also must attend a hearing in Harrisburg as part of the process, but she doesn't know why.

"I have my variance, I have everything here," she said. "What do I have to go to Harrisburg for?"

Zimmerman said she was told by Labosky that she needed to work with Isett.

"I was told in the borough (zoning office) upstairs that I had to use Barry Isett. They gave me the paperwork that says before you leave this office please read this, with Rick Harmon's business card attached," she said.

"I decided to go with him because I was told that that's who I have to use through the borough. I just don't know what else to do," she said. "I'm at my wit's end. I don't know if I should hire a lawyer ..."

Zimmerman said she has paid $500 to Isett so far. Harmon, she said, referred her to an architect because he said she needed an "architectural seal" on her plans. That's expected to cost between $3,000 and $4,000.

"I'm not changing anything architecturally, so why should I need an architect," she said. "I'm not even going to be able to buy the equipment for the shop."

Council president Rose Mary Cannon said she was upset by the situation.

"You don't have to use Isett," she said.

Fighting tears, Zimmerman, whose grandfather, Emil, was a barber in the borough for decades, said she's ready to abandon the whole plan.

"My family's been here for three generations, and that's all I want to do. But they are making it completely impossible for me to to do it," she said.

Labosky attended the meeting, but did not offer an explanation.

"We've had more than one complaint," Cannon said. "We're going to look into this."

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