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Oakmont eyes view protection for Hulton Road

| Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

Oakmont Council is considering new landscaping, parking and other requirements for future Hulton Road developments with the goal of improving aesthetics and environmental impact.

Councilman Thomas Briney on Monday presented a proposed View Protection Overlay Zone that would impact Hulton Road properties from the Hulton Bridge to Allegheny River Boulevard.

Briney said PennDOT's forthcoming replacement of the bridge prompted the proposal, which is aimed at reducing “visual clutter” and improving sustainability.

“It is timely for us to begin thinking of how we can best leverage the changes for the community,” Briney said.

Ideally, Briney said they would like people coming into Oakmont from the Hulton Bridge to see landscaping along both sides of the road uncluttered by signs, lights and utility infrastructure.

Briney said the overlay zone would apply to commercial and residential properties in the corridor.

However, existing property owners would not be required to make any changes unless they propose to redevelop or sell their land.

The proposed overlay zone would set restrictions on:

• How close buildings can be constructed to Hulton Road.

• How much parking space and other pavement can be located between buildings and Hulton Road.

• The amount of landscaping required to create a buffer zone in front of the developments.

• The size of signs.

• The height and intensity of exterior lighting.

The zone would encourage links with the Arboretum Trail that runs along the railroad tracks and any other trail networks.

The proposal would provide for an expedited review process for development plans that include some environmentally friendly provisions, such as meeting the criteria for federal certification of using green building practices.

Council approved the first reading of the View Protection Zone Overlay on Monday.

The ordinance will be up for final approval July 8.

Also at the July meeting, council is expecting to hear a proposal from Ohio-based Speedway to construct a convenience store at the former Lieberth & Sons car dealership on Hulton Road.

Briney said Speedway's site proposal would not be required to meet the requirements of the overlay zone because Speedway's application was submitted before the zone was proposed.

However, he said he believes the company's plans are largely consistent with Oakmont's vision.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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