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Evans City joins regional stormwater group

EVANS CITY — Borough council approved entering an intergovernmental cooperation agreement Monday, March 6, with Zelienople and Harmony boroughs and Jackson Township for stormwater management.

The agreement will fund a $250,000 study of the region, paid in part by the county’s Municipal Infrastructure Program grant. Council member Mark Widdersheim said the study will help the group determine how best to comply with MS4 requirements and mitigate flooding in the three communities.

“It’s more about disaster avoidance,” Widdersheim said.

Jason Sarver, zoning and code enforcement officer for Zelienople and Evans City and a Harmony council member, said the agreement was “advantageous” for the communities.

“When you join together and become a large group like that, you just get more opportunities for grant money and things like that,” Sarver said. “Whatever problems you have, you share, and you get through them together.”

Zelienople, the recipient of the $225,000 infrastructure grant for the project, will administer the group, according to Widdersheim.

“And the $25,000 that is not covered by the grant will be divided evenly between the four communities,” he explained.

The Joint Southwestern Butler County Stormwater Authority, as the group’s infrastructure grant refers to it, is comprised of members in the 10-municipality Southwest Butler Regional Stormwater Management Group.

“Not only is that an important stormwater concept, it’s just a great opportunity to work with you neighbors,” Sarver said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things. The group’s really getting along very well.”

Evans City is the second municipality to approve the agreement after Zelienople's council voted Feb. 27 to join.

Other business

Borough council is considering an update to its zoning regulations.

“It’s kind of a joke with zoning officers that the zoning ordinance is outdated as soon as you sign it,” Sarver said. “I wouldn’t mind tackling that with you all and working with the solicitor on the details of it. I think a lot of it needs updated.”

Sarver stressed the importance of reviewing zoning regulations as the borough grows.

“That’s just a suggestion, if you guys want to pursue it, we can,” Sarver said. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s not quick — it will take a little bit — but it’s important. It really is important. Your zoning regulations are kind of like the laws of the land.”

He emphasized that the review was simply an update for the benefit of the community.

“I don’t want to over-regulate,” Sarver said, “but there are some things to protect the borough and anyone in the borough that need to be done.”

Council agreed to consider the regulations.

Ryan Mergl was approved as the borough’s new solicitor Monday evening after the resignation of Bonnie Brimmeier.

Mergl, who operates a law office in Pittsburgh, said he was looking forward to working with the group.

“I’m pleasantly surprised with how well everyone gets along,” Mergl said.

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