School board seeks rezoning for Plum property

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

The Plum School Board wants property it owns off School Road rezoned to expand development opportunities.

The site, with about a dozen acres, is home to the former Plum School District administration building, the former Pivik Elementary School and the new school building.

The site also has vacant land.

Plum planning Director Greg Bachy said the property is zoned suburban residential which, in addition to homes, permits public buildings and schools.

“The district has decided because we own quite a bit of property up School Road, we would like something (zoning) that would create more potential users of that property,” said district Solicitor Lee Price.

“We want to file for a zoning change for that area along the (School) road.”

Price said the district has not applied to the borough planning commission for a zoning change and hasn't determined the zoning designation it would request.

Price said the consensus among officials is that the terrain of the property does not make it conducive to building homes.

The school board in January approved the sale of the former administration building located at the intersection of Old Leechburg Road and School Road, to Michael E. and Sherry A. Podobnik of Plum for $185,000.

The sale price was for 1.79 acres of the dozen-acre site, Price said.

The solicitor said the site is still under an agreement of sale.

Bachy said the Plum Zoning Hearing Board earlier this year denied the Podobniks' request for a variance for the property to permit a light manufacturing business because the Podobniks failed to demonstrate a hardship that prohibited them from utilizing the property under the designated zoning.

Bachy said the Podobniks did not appeal the denial to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

The zoning hearing board considers requests for variances.

The planning commission considers rezoning requests.

Michael Podobnik is president of Teletrix, a manufacturer of radiation training simulators at One Boyce Park Center in Plum.

Carlos Contreras, a real-estate agent who represents the Podobniks, said earlier this year the couple would have no comment until the conditions of the sale have been satisfied.

Contreras could not be reached for comment earlier this week.

Price has said the Podobniks indicated they planned to use the building to manufacture an electrical product.

The solicitor said the potential rezoning request would not be requested for solely the parcel on which the former administration building is located.

“They are thinking globally — the whole area,” Price said.

The former administration building had housed the district's administrative team and was the venue for school-board meetings.

It has been vacant since April 2008, when administrators moved to offices in the high school.

Since that time, the district's maintenance department has used the building for storing supplies, district business manager Eugene Marraccini said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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