Ross Township Board of Commissioners President Grant Montgomery has promised "immediate" action to cite any and all violations of township ordinances along Fairley Road.
His promise came Monday night after several residents of Fairley Road told commissioners they've had enough of loud noises, bright lights and abusive language emanating from the home of neighbor William Ansell. The residents also complained about language and accusations included in signs posted outside Ansell's home.
"We are going to take action immediately. I'm not going to tell you what action we're going to take, because I don't want to give anything away," Montgomery told the residents at the commission meeting. "For those of you who have been involved, you know what happens."
Wiliam Ansell lives at 109 Fairley Road in a home owned by his brother, Robert, according to the Allegheny County Real Estate web site. Disputes among neighbors on Fairley Road have existed since at least 2005, when William Ansell erected an elaborate Christmas light display in his yard. The display and what happened to it was the subject of this KDKA-TV report in 2010.
Now, instead of Christmas lights, neighbors say Ansell points bright floodlights in the general direction of their homes and leaves the lights on all night. Sam Spear, who lives nearby on Siebert Road, told commissioners he believes township officials have the power to do something about that.
"Our lighting ordinance is exceedingly brief," he said. "I would suggest that our lighting ordinance is inadequate to prevent what's called light trespassing—basically shining lights on people's property where they don't want it."
Randi Grubb, who lives across the street from Ansell's home, told commissioners she wants to sell her house and move but has been unable to find a buyer because of broken statues, blinking signs and blue tarps that cover portions of Ansell's property.
"I have potential homebuyers from other states, other townships, other areas, and the question my real estate agent continues to get is, 'What the hell is going on over there?' "
Joanne Hebda, another neighbor who lives across the street from Ansell's home, said she is most disturbed by the signs posted on his property. One of those signs includes profanity and comments pertaining to the death of another neighbor who died in October 2011. Patch has not posted a photograph of this sign due to its content.
"The sign hangs facing the home of our deceased neighbor," Hebda said. "The township ordinance states, 'No signage shall contain lewd messages or messages intended to incite riots,' and believe me the day we saw that we all wanted to riot."
Parking along Fairley Road has been another point of contention in the neighborhood, prompting another neighbor, Pamela Heck, to request in October that the township designate the entire road as a no-parking zone.
Although the agenda for Monday's commission meeting included William Ansell's request for a handicapped-parking space near his home, Ansell did not attend the meeting and could not be reached for comment.
"He is applying for a handicapped-parking space?" asked Hebda. "I want to tell you that this man operates at night, he has very good lungs, he screams, he pounds, he wakes us up, he has a lot of strength. Handicapped? I'm not so sure about that."
At the Dec. 3 commission meeting, it appeared a compromise had been reached in the parking issue when the commissioners tabled the no-parking proposal.
"After hours of deliberations with Bob Ansell and Bill Ansell and our police chief, I hope we can resolve the situation up there and move forward," Commissioner Peter Ferraro said at the time. "This has been an item we have exhausted over the years, and hopefully we can bring this to a conclusion."
Board President's Reaction
After the residents completed their remarks Monday night, the commissioners adjourned for a private discussion in executive session along with Police Chief Robert Bellan, Zoning Officer Dan Hankins and Public Works Director Mike Funk
When the board returned to the public meeting, Montgomery promised action to resolve the neighborhood conflict but said the township can't solve problems alone. He appealed to the Fairley road residents for help.
"This is an issue that is very important, and we want to address it and give it the proper attention. Mrs. Grubb, Mrs. Hebda, Mr. White, Mr. Hebda, I need you to participate in these actions moving forward. I need you to be involved," he added.
"In the past we've had court cases and they've been subpoenaed and not attended. When they were called for witnesses and didn't appear as witnesses, that was negative for us," he said.
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