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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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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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