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Illegal Zoning Ordinance May Prove Costly To Township
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 14, 2003

SOUTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA--This past March, the township's board of supervisors decided to reject an application for a home for three men that have mental retardation.

Among other things, the supervisors wanted the property owner to put up a fence around the property -- something the owner's attorney argued was not required of any other single-family dwelling in the township.

Jay Kyrstofik, who owned the property and wanted to sell it to ARC Human Services, told the supervisors that their decision was not only illegal, but it also would prove to be expensive.

A month later, Kyrstofik, ARC, and the Disabilities Law Project filed a lawsuit against the township in federal court.

U.S. District Court Judge Donetta Ambrose informed the township recently that she planned to rule that the zoning ordinance violated federal anti-discrimination laws.

The board voted Tuesday night to approve the application.

According to Thursday's Observer-Reporter, attorney Thomas Lonich told the board that the winners in the fight now want the township to pay the more than $52,000 it cost to take the issue to court. Lonich said attorneys on both sides would negotiate an amount.

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