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West Deer event barn project up for vote Wednesday

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 11:03 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
A West Deer couple plans to turn this barn along Deer Creek Road into an event center.

West Deer supervisors are expected to vote Wednesday on approving development of a wedding and event center, two years after it was initially rejected.

Supervisors in July 2015 denied a request from Ariel and Brandon Forbes to use a barn at 997 Deer Creek Road as a gathering place for wedding ceremonies, receptions and other events such as bridal showers, birthday parties, corporate retreats and community events.

During two public hearings, residents opposed the project, citing concerns about noise, parking, traffic and lack of sewage and water services.

Supervisors based their denial on the barn not being a “place of assembly” under the township's zoning ordinances. The couple appealed to Allegheny County court, and a judge overruled the township in February 2016.

In June 2016, the couple and the township agreed to a consent order allowing the project to move forward.

The project's site plan, identifying it as “Starling Hall,” is on the agenda for the supervisors meeting Wednesday.

The township's planning commission recommended approval at its June 22 meeting.

The commission's approval came with conditions, including creating a 48-inch high mounding on the northern property line; providing a mixture of three different tree species; providing at least 21 evergreens of at least three different species between trees on the northern and western border; and satisfying requirements from the township engineer.

In a letter, engineer Scott Shoup asked for a lighting plan and description of lighting and a storm water management operation and maintenance agreement with the township.

The project will also need permits from PennDOT for its driveways and storm water system and from the county before any earth-moving work can begin, according to Shoup's letter.

The Forbeses could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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