McKeesport may restrict use of ATVs and dirt bikes

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A resident's plan to turn five vacant acres into dirt-bike trails has McKeesport council considering restrictions on use of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes in the city limits.

The dispute began after a resident of the Haler Heights neighborhood purchased the land to create trails. The plan has divided residents, with some saying they're trying to provide a safe place for kids and teens to play and others expressing concern about noise and safety.

Beatrice Longo, a retired lawyer who has lived in Haler Heights for two decades, told council that she's receiving complaints from residents about teenagers riding dirt bikes and ATVs in the streets. She called on council to enact an ordinance that would limit or ban the use of such vehicles in the city limits.

After nearly an hour of discussion last week, council President Darryl Segina made a motion to direct the solicitor to draft an ordinance governing the use of ATVs and dirt bikes in the city.

Councilwoman Fawn Walker-Montgomery said the issue could be dealt with using existing laws, like zoning ordinances and measures limiting excessive noise.

The motion to create the ordinance squeaked by, 4-3, with Ms. Walker-Montgomery, Dan Carr and Dale McCall dissenting.

The board also narrowly voted to remove from the agenda an "anti-nepotism" ordinance that would prevent elected and appointed officials from holding positions on city boards, authorities and commissions. Officials have been arguing about the bill for months and have tabled it before.

Mr. Segina said he was under the impression council members were planning to table it again, but Mr. Carr said he wanted to remove it from the agenda so the legislation can be redrafted.

The decision to remove the bill from the agenda passed, 4-3, with Ms. Walker-Montgomery, Mr. Segina and A.J. Tedesco dissenting.

In other matters, the board authorized demolitions of deteriorating properties in McKeesport's educational and cultural district.

The demolitions are part of a larger revitalization plan for the district, but before the revitalization can begin, about 30 buildings -- mostly houses -- have to be torn down, Mayor Mike Cherepko said.

The city received $200,000 in community infrastructure and tourism fund grants from Allegheny County for the work.

"You should see a tremendous difference by next summer," Mr. Cherepko said.

neigh_south

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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