Warren City Police Chief Joseph Sproveri, Warren City Police Officer Shane Russell, William Lyon, and Ty Hillard listen as Warren Mayor Dave Wortman recognizes Russell and Hillard for their actions which helped save Lyon's life in December. Photo by Stacey Gross.

Date Set for Zoning Ordinance Public Hearing

February 20, 2024

WARREN, Pa. – Warren City Council has set the date for a public hearing regarding proposed updates to the city’s zoning ordinance.

Council unanimously agreed to a Monday, March 18, 2024, public hearing at 7 p.m. The hearing will allow the public to comment on the proposed zoning ordinance changes, among which are the introduction of a “mixed-use” district along Market St. and portions of Conewango Ave. These changes, Director of Codes and Planning Randy Rossey told council at its last meeting, would make the ordinance “less restrictive and more user friendly.”

That sentiment was not echoed by council members Phil Gilbert and Wendy McCain, who argued that certain changes within the proposed new ordinance, would be restrictive to certain business owners, including AirBnB owners. A draft of the proposed new ordinance is available for public review on the city’s website, and physical copies are available at both the Municipal Building and the Warren Public Library.

Rossey strongly encouraged city residents to take a look at the proposed new ordinance and to attend the public hearing on March 18.

Another issue addressed by council was a pair of sidewalk egresses designed for disabled visitors to First Methodist Church. Several cars are often parked in front of them, preventing visitors with physical disabilities from easily accessing both the sidewalk from the street and the church itself, which has no ADA-compliant entrance other than the one on Second Ave. City of Warren Police Chief Joseph Sproveri explained that without an ordinance preventing parking in front of the sidewalk egresses, the “situation is not enforceable.”

Council Member Phil Gilbert cast the only vote against the proposed ordinance, which would include formal disability-only signage and a marked “no parking” zone in front of the two sidewalk access points, stating concern for the reduction of available street parking downtown.

Council also agreed to act as a sub-grantee for a $1,100,000 grant awarded to the Warren County Development Authority (WCDA) by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The WCDA does not meet the criteria set forth by ARC for a “designated economic development agency,” but the agreement would allow the city to stand in as the grantee, sub-granting the funds to the WCDA.

“I think it’s great the city is able to assist in this matter,” said Mayor David Wortman.

Council also recognized several people Monday evening, including Ty Hillard and City Police Patrolman Shane Russell, who worked together to save a driver during a medical emergency earlier this year.

Warren Mayor Dave Wortman recognizes Josie Gerardi for her years of service on the Street Landscape Committee. Photo by Stacey Gross.

Josie Gerardi was also recognized for her 18 years as a member of the city’s Street Landscape Committee. Among the many things Gerardi listed as “jewels” within the city as a result of that committee’s work are its 25-year Tree City USA designation, the development of the Crescent Park Walk and Healing Garden, the bird viewing platform located along Pennsylvania Ave. W., and the city’s Civic Beautification Awards. Gerardi said she looks forward to seeing what will be planted in the roundabout as she transitions out of serving on the Street Landscape Committee and into enjoying the city’s ongoing beautification efforts as an observer, rather than a participant.

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