Monday, October 5, 2015

Court Orders Mt. Lebanon to end hunting in Twin Hills Park UPDATED 3X

Court orders Mt. Lebanon to end controlled archery hunt in Twin Hills Park

Mt. Lebanon has been ordered to end its controlled archery hunt in Twin Hills Park.

This morning an Allegheny County civil court granted a Scott Township request that the neighboring municipality stop its contractor, White Buffalo, from shooting deer in the 25-acre park at the northern tip of Mt. Lebanon.

The archery hunt, organized by the nonprofit wildlife management group, is part of Mt. Lebanon's ongoing effort to reduce deer-vehicle collisions by 50 percent in five years.

In 1994 the park was purchased from a private owner by Mt. Lebanon, but the park is located within the boundaries of Scott. Scott solicitor Robert McTiernan said the property was purchased with a conditional use agreement stipulating that Twin Hills Park must be used for “recreational uses.”


Judge: Mt. Lebanon must immediately prevent hunting in Twin Hills Park

By The Tribune-Review
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, 2:45 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon must immediately prevent hunting in Twin Hills Park in Scott, a judge said Monday.

Scott sued Mt. Lebanon in Allegheny Common Pleas Court, seeking an injunction that would halt deer hunting in the park until the municipality gets permission from Scott's commissioners. The hunt is part of a longtime effort to control Mt. Lebanon's deer population.

An Allegheny County judge granted a preliminary injunction, ordering Mt. Lebanon immediately to put up posters or markers making it clear that hunting is prohibited in the park.

When Scott granted Mt. Lebanon a conditional-use permit for the 25-acre park in 1994, it was limited to recreational uses, said township solicitor Robert McTiernan.

“This is, in our view, not a recreational use,” McTiernan said.

Mt. Lebanon manager Steve Feller wrote in an email last month that Mt. Lebanon does not need Scott's permission to hunt.

“We believe that Mt. Lebanon, like all property owners, has a right under state law to conduct archery hunting according to the rules of the Pennsylvania Game Commission,” he said. “Scott Township officials have been briefed on the program. Twin Hills Park is one of the designated public sites for archery hunting under the program.”

Mt. Lebanon only “briefed” Scott after township officials found out about the hunting and contacted the municipality, McTiernan said.

Update October 5, 2015 3:54 PM

Scott Township Affidavit
Scott Township Complaint
Scott Township Motion and Court Order

Update October 5, 2015 6:15 PM New sign posted at Twin Hills:

Update October 6, 2015 4:59 AM See, Commissioners? There will be no need for "sharpshooting."
Despite the injunction, “We have enough properties available that we can go through with a successful cull, and it won't severely affect the outcome,” said Cori Vipperman, a member of Lebo Residents for Effective Deer Management, a group that favors the deer cull.


Barbara said...

As it should be! What chutzpah they had trying to plow right over Scott. What do you all think this will mean for the rest of the program and the sharpshooting?

RG said...

Having just finished reading the legal documents presented by Scott I am amazed that Mt. Lebanon even bothered to defend! It is clear from the evidence that back in 1994 Mt. Lebanon went out of its way to convince Scott that it wanted the Twin Hills property as a public park. Scott gave Mt. Lebanon conditional use of the property as such. To go before a court and argue that the land is the municipality's "private property" is an embarrassment. I can't help but think that our solicitor knew he was defeated even before he entered the arena! In fact, I wonder whether he advised our esteemed commissioners that they were going to get their clocks cleaned.

You can bet that relations between Mt. Lebanon and Scott Township have dropped, but I doubt that this will bother the apparatchiks on Washington Road; such is hubris in the 21st Century.

Anonymous said...

Susan Morgans said: "We obviously don’t want to do anything that is in violation of Game Commission regulations that puts us in a long term conflict with a community that has always been a good neighbor.”

How many of us spoke at the commission meetings asking about the use of Twin Hills? And of course, we were ignored. These folks created divisiveness among residents as a result of Benner coming to town, now their creating divisiveness among neighboring communities. What's next?

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

Mt Lebanon staff and commissioners do what they think they can get away with because they have gotten away with so much for such a long time. These problems have worsened with the current commission but many of their current tactics are long standing. I don't think they are losing their minds. I think they are just escalating in their battle tactics.

Thank you to those who went to Scott Township meetings, wrote, or called their council members!!!

Anonymous said...

So Scott Township pointed out that Mt Lebanon's Archery schedule fails to follow Game Commission regulations.

Here is what PGC states on its website for archery in WMU2B:

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 19- Nov. 28 and Dec. 26-Jan. 23, 2016. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

Here is what Mt Lebanon's FAQ states about the schedule:

Experienced archers will conduct a deer hunt on private and specified public properties in Mt. Lebanon during archery season beginning September 19 through the last weekend in January with a break for two weeks in December.

This means that Mt Lebanon created an archery schedule that included approximately 23% more archery hunting days than is permissible by the PA Game Commission.

E. T. Gillen said...

Tsk, tsk, tsk, 12:09 PM. Don't you know by now that Susan Morgans trumps the PA GC?
And the commissioners and staff don't want to know how many deer were killed until the end of January. Jody, Jodi, Joe D. did say that giving numbers just causes problems. FOR HIM!

Anonymous said...

Did the guy yesterday have two antlerless licenses?

E. T. Gillen said...

1:33 PM, currently, there are 21,888 antlerless licenses available in 2B.

Jody, Jodi, Joe D. told us at the recruiting meetings that they are limitless. As long as you keep sending in the pink envelopes, you can get up to three at a time.

Elaine, who is learning waaaaay too much about killing deer.

Anonymous said...

1:33pm, based on the pics provided yesterday, there may not have been any license for the Shady Ln deer - the pics showed the deer after they were moved and I can't see any tags on them. That is against PA regulations.
Does anyone know if the Shady Ln deer were part of the White Buffalo program or a private agreement with the property owners?

Anonymous said...

Will anyone be reporting any suspected or definitely known ongoing violations? Seems to be a good way to get the program shut down. That is of course, until sharpshooting starts.

Anonymous said...

The violation reports won't make a difference to the Game Commission because they are bad boys. So, the violation reports will have to gain the attention of the wider community so that Mt Lebanon is basically shamed into action. That's really, really tough to pull-off but not undoable.

I am curious as to whether Scott and Mt Lebanon actually met yesterday and today as the PIO stated in an article reported by Harry Funk via the Almanac. If Scott is opposed to archery, I really hope they are opposed to sharpshooters.


E. T. Gillen said...

5:34 PM, they are definitely opposed to "sharpshooters." I have the podcasts to the Scott meetings on my website. Thank you, David Huston for recording them for me. Thank you, Barbara Sollenberger, for bringing it to the Scott Commissioners' attention.

Ongoing violations are Jody, Jodi, Joe D.'s responsibility. He is the project manager. "Triple J" told me that if anything goes wrong, he will be the one who is blamed. So let's take him up on it. The commissioners need to know, as well.

The commissioners ignore me, so feel free to use the photos from here or on my website and let them know.

Anonymous said...