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Ross Board President Pledges to End Long-Simmering Neighborhood Dispute

Some residents of Fairley Road complain to the township Board of Commissioners about a neighbor's signs, lighting and conduct, saying they've been disrupted for years.

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."

History

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. 

Residents' Complaints

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 Issues

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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Stephanie Davis January 09, 2013 at 01:39 PM
What is the point of township ordinances if they are not enforced??!! These neighbors have put up with a lot of bad behavior from Mr. Ansell without much support. Shame on Ross Township!!
Conrad January 09, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Yeah....But you gotta admit...The "Peeing Santa" thing is kind of funny!
Marian Tartaglione January 09, 2013 at 02:40 PM
I am shocked that it has taken this long for the Township to do something about this property. As a realtor, I know that this can damage property values, it only takes one eyesore to ruin a neighborhood and this property is not only an eyesore, it is a obnoxious and it took malice and forethought to get that way! I really feel for the neighbors who have to live near him. We are about 3 blocks from it and I am ashamed of this property. My children and grand children loved the house when it was lit up for Christmas, but I know the traffic and lights bothered the neighbors and caused this dispute. I hope it gets resolved.
Pam January 09, 2013 at 02:59 PM
I am shocked at these five adults who are acting like five year olds! Fairley Road has become a daycare. Everyone has jumped the 'I hate Ansell' bandwagon, but they started the feud by complaining about a wonderful display that helped collect money for those in need. I can honestly say that I am appalled by the actions of these neighbors who selfishly fought to ban this display due to 'traffic' issues. Let's weigh the options; support for the needy or a month of waiting in traffic. Hum, I'm going to go with 'helping the needy'! I lived by one of the busiest light displays years ago, in West Virginia (Ogelby). At times, I could sit in traffic for over an hour to get home. I admit, at times, while sitting in traffic, I would become angry (a natural human response). But the fact is, I realized over time that it is better to be patient and accepting of the slight inconvenience when comparing it to the donations that would benefit those who have very little, or even help to give proper health care to families of sick children! In short, the Fairley Road residents started a battle that they couldn't win themselves, due to Ansell's tactics of retaliation. They all became tattle-tales by involving our township leaders, wasting township money, and pulling valuable police presence to their neighborhood because a light is too bright or a mailbox was blocked. They ALL have acted inappropriately, including Ansell and should ALL be punished appropriately for wasting our time! Grow up!
Someone that Cares January 09, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Pam, you have NO reason to comment on this; First off, the light display was NEVER the issue. The issue was that Mr. Ansell decided that he would direct traffic in a 1 way direction. Let me be VERY clear, Fairley Road is a 2 way road. This means that you can go either left or right. Second, do you honestly think that the signs that this man has put up are justified? Accusing people of murdering neighbors, calling children names, accusing people of being theives, foul language directed at the children and adults. Do you honestly believe that the way his property looks is justified? There is a house for sale on that street, you are more than welcome to purchase the house that is for sale if you think this is someone you would like to be associated with on a regular basis. Im sure that the home owner would LOVE for you to purchase this and they are able to take their children to a NORMAL and SAFE neighborhood. Everyone wants to put in their two cents, but honestly no one really has any clue what is going on up there.
Joanne Hebda January 09, 2013 at 04:49 PM
For the record, to our knowledge, we have never been subpoenaed and did not show up. We were subpoenaed and did show up several times. And for our protection, we were once escorted out due aggessive behaviors by other party who proceeded to follow us to our next destinations. We also did not oppose the lights.
cm January 09, 2013 at 07:02 PM
This is disgusting as a ross twp resident.I cant beleive nothing has been done.to put signs up disrespecting your neighbor's should not ever be allowed.
North Hills Hooligan January 09, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Cm... the township can't stop you from putting up signs because under most situations the signs are protected free speech.
Peter Kim January 10, 2013 at 02:24 PM
We all know "Pam" is actually Bill himself. Anyone who knows anything about this man or his actions would not make such an ignorant, doltish, and senseless remark (unless they themselves are ignorant, doltish and senseless). Good try Bill; "Pam" stop commenting.
RWVRes January 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Survivor, Honey Boo-Boo, Storage Wars, Dance Moms, Sister Wives, Buckwild, and now, Fairley Road.....
Pam January 13, 2013 at 10:06 AM
Dear someone who cares and Peter: The fact that you are completely fired up at my comment (otherwise considered to be an OPINION) only solidifies my point about you, your neighbors and Mr Ansell. ALL OF THE FAIRLEY ROAD RESIDENTS are responsible for this situation, and it was created and amplified people, such as yourself, who: 1. Don't have a heart and love thy neighbor! 2. Folks who I would define as 'busybodies', that are constantly in everyone else's business. 3. Those who believe that the world is out to 'get them'. 4. You just have a horrible temper, plain and simple! ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE! Now, first and foremost let me be VERY CLEAR, I will comment on anything I wish, freedom of speech, AND, I am tired of this ridiculous feud filling the paper every week! As a Ross Township resident, I am appalled that MY TAX DOLLARS are being wasted on such a juvenile and preposterous situation! Ross township has commented that this an important issue and deserves proper attention. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I can address a handful of other issues that NEED attention now; not this absurdity! What makes you believe your issues are more important than everything else? You people need to get your act together and realize that you have wasted YEARS of Ross Township money, time and mediation. 1 of 3
Pam January 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM
SECONDLY, My point to you is this.... It takes 2 to tango, although the neighbor that you obviously loathe, was the source of all your hate, because he did unthinkable things, you instigated the ongoing feud. Even though there were horrible antics brought on from Ansell (doesn't mean it's right), you are just as responsible as he is. Anyone involved in this debacle had the chance to step down and end this situation. Lastly, I would not be interested in any home for sale in or around the vicinity of you or anyone else involved in this childish backyard feud! I wouldn't want to live near that type of drama. (I assume if you didn't have this conflict, you would create another). I have many neighbors with whom I love dearly and there are those that I couldn't give a rats butt about. The ones I don't care for are pretty ridiculous as well, but being a human being, I not only 'turn the other cheek', but I remember to 'love thy neighbor'. If you choose to live in a residential area, then you need to learn how to cope with neighbors, good and bad! You all chose unwisely because you can't control other humans, especially their living habits and personalities. There seems to be a monster in every neighborhood, it's all about how and what you feed the monster! 2 of 3
Pam January 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM
And no, I am not BILL and I never intended for the display to sound like the MAIN concern, I mentioned it was a TRAFFIC CONGESTION (as stated in the original police report) issue that caused the light display to terminate. Oh yeah, I am NOT FOR ANY OF YOU, I am AGAINST ALL OF YOU, ESPECIALLY FOR ABUSING MY TAX DOLLARS 3 of 3
Wonderful JoJo January 15, 2013 at 08:47 AM
I am quite disturbed by the words Mr. Montgomery used that were conveyed and written in this article. I am somewhat concerned by the tone of his words. It could be misconstrued that he might be holding a personal grudge. Whether elected officials think it fair or not they are expected to maintain a higher standard of behavior than the people who put them into office. They have to follow the law just like the rest of us. But in exchange for public support, they also must meet a higher threshold of civil decency. With that being said… Perhaps Mr. Montgomery should consider recusing himself from any further involvement in this neighborhood dispute.
disgusted May 21, 2013 at 12:13 AM
It's all your fault, You were the people who started it all. You have some nerve.
disgusted May 21, 2013 at 03:37 AM
Some One Who Cares, You are a bunch of ulgy people for what you did to the whole neighborhood. You moved in and decided to destroy what once was such a wonderful place. Your evil. I can only wonder what you did to your last neighbor.

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