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Traffic concerns fuel some opposition to connecting road in Pine subdivision

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Some residents of a Pine subdivision have taken to court their objections to a developer's intent to convert a small field to a road that would connect their street to a planned housing development.

Citing concerns about more traffic, five residents of Pinkerton Road in the Woodland Farms subdivision filed an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County challenging Pine supervisors' tentative approval of Pine Development Co.'s plan for the Emerald Fields development.

The township is requiring Pine Development to pave a 250-foot area and convert it to a road that would connect Pinkerton Road to Emerald Fields.

Nearby residents “don't want traffic from Emerald Fields to be diverted through Woodland Farms, nor do they want the traffic from the southern portion of Woodland Farms to now come up through Pinkerton Road through Emerald Fields,” said Dwight D. Ferguson, an attorney representing the residents.

The residents objecting to the road — Russell Karr, Daniel and Maura Berger, and Richard and Lori Roller — either declined to comment or didn't return calls.

The area in question abuts Karr's property on the west and the Bergers' property on the east.

Emerald Fields is to be built on a 277-acre parcel bordered by Mt. Pleasant, Dean and Franklin roads.

The plan calls for 201 single-family houses ­— most priced at between $550,000 and $650,000 — to be built in five phases over seven to eight years. Construction on the first and second phases could start in the fall, and the second phase includes the Pinkerton Road connection.

Pine Development disputes the claim that Pinkerton Road residents would experience more traffic, because Emerald Fields residents would be able to access Mt. Pleasant Road more quickly, said Patrick Minnock of the Ross-based company.

“There really is no savings in time to go through (the Woodland Farms) plan,” he said.

The dispute shouldn't delay the development of Emerald Fields, said Minnock, who also is president of Minnock Construction Co.

The legal basis for the objection to the connector road is that state law mandates that a municipality must open a road to public use within 21 years of its being dedicated to that municipality, according to the appeal. The grassy area in Woodland Farms was dedicated to Pine as a right-of-way in 1989, but it was never opened to or used by the public, according to the appeal.

“Their power to open the road to the public has expired,” Ferguson said. The residents wouldn't be opposed to an emergency access road there, he said.

Pine Solicitor Gary Gushard couldn't be reached for comment.

The township's subdivision land development ordinance requires connectivity among new developments for reasons including allowing for access for emergency-response vehicles, good transportation planning and pedestrian access between neighborhoods, said Larry Kurpakus, Pine's director of code administration and land development.

Residents of other streets in Woodland Farms have expressed concerns about safety because there is only one entrance and one exit from Woodland Farms, said Michael J. Dennehy Jr., chairman of the Pine supervisors.

While the Pine board granted tentative approval of the Emerald Fields plan in March, each phase must be presented for final approval before work can begin.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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