Bridgeville residents, Upper St. Clair developer take dispute about traffic to court
By Matthew Santoni
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
A group of Bridgeville residents aren't confident that they can stop a major development in neighboring Upper St. Clair, but they hope they can at least call enough attention to its impact on their borough to get a judge to intervene.
Bedner Farms Estates is planning to build up to 160 homes, called Bedner Estates, on 120 acres of former farmland at the border of Upper St. Clair and Bridgeville. When Bridgeville officials fought a proposed road and sewer connection between the development and Main Street in the borough, the developer filed a lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court seeking approval along with damages for lost revenue.
Bridgeville council approved settling with the developer last month, but residents Neil Lyons, Bob Fryer, Joel Lakus and Bill Colussy filed a motion to intervene and request a reconsideration. They maintain that Bedner should not have threatened to sue for lost time and revenue, that the court failed to consider all alternative exits and safety improvements the developer could build, and that the borough and its insurer were too hasty in agreeing to a settlement.
“We probably don't have standing to file the petition to intervene as a group, even though we include public officials,” said Bob Fryer, former chairman of the Bridgeville Planning Commission. Colussy is a current member of council.
“We are hoping that because the public safety issues weren't mentioned in the settlement ... the judge might reopen the discussion to have those features added by the developer.”
The motion to intervene argued that the developer should have been required to build an alternative to the Main Street connection or, at least, pay for traffic mitigation and safety measures such as sidewalks along Main Street and a turn lane where Bower Hill Road meets Sylva Drive. That intersection is already dangerous, the motion said, as are the nearby intersections with McLaughlin Run Road and Washington Pike; a nearby school bus stop and a Port Authority bus stop should also be relocated and the developer required to build sidewalks and curbs in the area.
The motion said Bedner Farms Estates could have built an alternate entrance that followed an old farm road that the Bedner family used to shuttle goods to a produce stand along Bower Hill, or it could have built a ramp down the hill to Bower Hill along the course of a stream.
Both the developer and Upper St. Clair's township engineer had dismissed a Bower Hill Road exit as impractical because of the steepness of the slopes and the environmental issues associated with the stream.
Bridgeville Solicitor Richard Ferris said finalizing the settlement — and allowing the project to go forward — will depend on how Common Pleas Judge Joseph James decides to handle the petition to intervene.
“We sat in conference, and the parties agreed to terms, but the judge has yet to issue an order,” Ferris said. “I imagine he'll have to rule on the petition to intervene before he issues that order.”
Jonathan Kamin, attorney for Bedner Farms Estates, could not be reached.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Young Achiever: Everitt D. Meer
- Giant Eagle combines ‘best of both worlds’
- Cool Springs owner plans ambitious revival
- Dormont bumps up parking enforcement
- North Side filmmaker returns to alma mater OLSH a success
- High school ensembles to perform at Allegheny County Courthouse
- Ross officials debate cutting insurance
- Brownsville, Broughton realignment, planned for decades, improves flow