Decision on Robert Morris hotel-to-dorm plan delayed
After debating the safety, traffic and tax roll questions linked to a plan to convert a Holiday Inn to a Robert Morris University dormitory, Moon supervisors opted on Monday to continue a hearing to July 22.
Supervisors Chairman Marv Eicher said safety is the No. 1 concern with the university's request to rezone the hotel on University Boulevard and 12 nearby properties for dormitory and other educational uses. Supervisors conducted a hearing for nearly three hours, then spent several hours more in executive session discussing the plan.
The university, which owns the hotel and uses part of it for student housing, is asking for the rezoning and a conditional-use permit to turn the building into a dorm, YorkTown Hall, in a commercial area.
Moon police Chief Leo McCarthy said traffic signals added in recent years have reduced the numbers of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents on University Boulevard. If students observe pedestrian traffic laws, they can negotiate the road safely, he said. The hotel is about a mile from campus.
B. Lafe Metz, an attorney for Robert Morris, said sidewalks couldn't immediately be built in certain steep areas along the boulevard because earth would have to be added.. Township engineer Malcolm Petroccia agreed.
Township solicitor Tim Bish said vehicle access to Rosemont Drive near the hotel could be eliminated.
Eicher said he is concerned about students making left turns out of the Holiday Inn onto University Boulevard, adding that traffic on the four-lane road will worsen when a planned Wal-Mart opens.
The university's traffic engineer, Darren S. Myer, said traffic lights could be timed differently.
University officials said 45 percent of the 323 students living in the hotel last school year applied for parking permits, and about a quarter of those students drove cars to class.
Officials also discussed the loss of tax revenue when the hotel attains nonprofit status as part of the university.
University officials said the front of the property could be developed for commercial uses.
Robert Morris President Gregory Dell'Omo said the university intends to make a $230,000 contribution to the township. Of that, about $100,000 would be used to apply to PennDOT for a permit and to build sidewalks linking the campus to Beaver Grade Road.
The Moon Area School Board signed an agreement in May for the district to accept contributions from the university for 10 years. The annual contributions are $150,000 for the first three years, $100,000 for the next four and $50,000 in each of the last three years.
Dell'Omo said about 500 students have requested space in the hotel.
The hearing will resume at 7 p.m. July 22 in the township building, 1000 Beaver Grade Road.
Sandra Fischione Donovan is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon residents opposed to loss of brick roads
- Back in session: What’s new at Pittsburgh-area schools
- Feasibility of Moon Area-Cornell merger remains uncertain