Zoning change sought in Upper St. Clair
Developers who envision retailers, offices and residences at the former Consol Energy Inc. headquarters are trying a new way to secure zoning approval.
Years of work to tweak Upper St. Clair's regulations led to a court case involving the 27 acres at Route 19 and Fort Couch Road.
The partners known as 1800 Washington Road Associates continue to defend a 2011 amendment to the township's zoning code that made a mix of homes and stores a conditional use on land zoned for special business.
When Commonwealth Court sent a resident's appeal of the amendment back to Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, the developers opted to seek approval for a complete change in the property's zoning. Commissioners will consider the matter and hold public hearings, though probably not in September.
“What you're seeing is us doing the exact same thing, just in a different way,” said Jerry Cipriani, one partner in 1800 Washington Road. “The plans are the same; the project will look the same.”
Cipriani said the township initially presented two options for allowing mixed-use development on the site: Amend the special business zone so retail/residential project would be a conditional use, subject to review and approval, or change the zoning entirely to something that allows a mix of uses.
Since changes to the special business zone are still challenged in court, Cipriani said he and his partners would try the zoning change.
The developers propose a three-phase project, anchored by a Whole Foods Market. They would build underground parking along Route 19, semi-detached houses and townhouses, and two levels of stores, restaurants and professional offices.
Residents Jarrod Shaw and Moira Cain-Mannix sued the township, seeking to overturn the decision allowing the development. They claim township officials didn't properly notify neighbors of the proposed changes. Shaw since has dropped out of the suit.
Attorney Tom Ayoob, who represented them, said the developers' new approach validates some of his clients' arguments.
“We'd been saying from the beginning that the original ordinance was a (zoning) map change when it was being presented as a text amendment,” Ayoob said. “Now the developer is resubmitting the same ordinance and calling it a map change.”
Proposed zoning for the site would be “mixed-use special development” and would follow the requirements to which the township and developers agreed under the current zoning, said Scott Brilhart, director of community development.
Township officials posted a notice of the proposed zoning change on the property and mailed notices to neighboring properties.
“The staff recommended approval because it was basically the same ordinance the township passed two years ago,” Brilhart said.
The planning commission, which helped commissioners refine rules and conditions the developers must meet, recommended approval of the zoning change.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
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.
- Paralympic club steps up its adaptive workouts for rowers
- Businesses in McKees Rocks struggle amid $39M revamp of West Carson
- Cheaper gas a boon for road projects in Western Pennsylvania
- North Allegheny teen eager to serve
- High school dance marathons raise money to help children
- Mt. Lebanon awaits formal letter nixing extended deer season