The Unity Township Zoning Hearing Board approved a request to construct an addition to an existing auto repair business during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Sandra Griskey Curnow owns the property, located at 4926 Pleasant Unity Road, Latrobe, and Ted Curnow operates the facility. The request was for a change and expansion of a non-conforming use of the property, which is three miles from the entrance to the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and contains 2.747 acres with existing commercial improvements.
“We wish to expand our repair business,” Ted Curnow said. “We would like to develop our repair business just to the extent that we have a reception area.”
Curnow added that he wishes to build a 270-square foot — 16-by-19 — reception and waiting area for repair customers, keeping them away from the actual repair business. Currently, the only repair customers he services are ones who hire him to complete work.
“We want to open it back to the public,” Curnow said. “It would be built attached to the warehouse and attached to the current building that we have. The structure has some of the facilities, and we’re going to get additional equipment as needed.”
There’s a one-acre, fenced-in impound area and three buildings on the property, including an office building that has been occupied since 1989, a warehouse constructed in 1993 and another that’s been around for about a decade. There’s an office building used for recovering cars and another used for vehicle repair, vehicle evaluation and minor repairs.
“There was a period of time when we leased it to an individual who had a Pa. inspection station and he operated there for six or seven years,” Ted Curnow said. “We’ve used it as an accommodation to our business.”
One employee has training through the state and a repair license. Curnow said he may hire another employee in the future. At its peak, the business had 17 part-time and “four or five” full-time employees. Currently, there are three full-time and two part-time.
“There won’t be a significant change in the number of employees or employee vehicles,” Curnow said. “We have more than adequate parking. We’ve stored as many as 100 vehicles on the premises.”
There aren’t any residences near Curnow’s property. There’s an individual storing antique automobiles and working on race cars nearby and an active farm. The expansion would be more than 75 feet from Route 981 and wouldn’t need additional signage or lighting.
Curnow estimated hours will be around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week.
“We want to continue our repair service in a smaller capacity,” Curnow said.
Also on Tuesday, the board approved a request for Richard L. Patterson for a special exception to operate a home occupation of a CPA on a property located on Youngstown Ridge Road.
There’s parking for six-to-eight cars on the 13.7-acre property, which features an existing house and barn. There won’t be any additional signage, new employees, or external alterations to his home for the business.
“I’m trying to downsize everything,” Patterson said. “We’re leaving our office in Greensburg and I just want a small portion in my home to become a place where I can meet with people occasionally to do tax returns.”
Additionally, the board approved the request of Daniel and Dorothy Boswell for a side-yard setback variance to maintain an existing home on their property, located along Second Street in Hostetter.
The setback variance is 10 feet and the placement of the home is 8.5 feet on one side and 8.79 feet on the other side.
The home is already in place, utilities turned on and furniture is moved in. The property was surveyed and it was discovered that through the process of the home being set, everything went off-center.
“It was marked,” Dorothy Boswell said. “I don’t know how it happened. An error was made during the installation and we’re trying to correct it.”
It’s a modular home so it would have to be broken down and torn apart. Board member Tim Thomas said that Boswell would have to return to the township if she wanted to construct a porch or roof on the property.
It was also asked if the transport company is accepting responsibility.
“He said it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to move it back the two feet because there are concrete footers that were poured and we have concrete slab over that,” Boswell said.