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Zoning updates on tap for bridge area

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 10:40 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
The former Dugout Bar, at the end of the Freeport Bridge in Buffalo Township, is for sale on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
The former Dugout Bar at the end of the Freeport Bridge in Buffalo Township is for sale on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Potential development at the former Dugout Bar site on Freeport Road, up the hill from the new Freeport Bridge, has Buffalo Township looking into rezoning the area and potentially updating its billboard ordinance.

Real estate developer Brian Clark of Harrison said he plans to purchase the 2-acre parcel but hasn't determined what to put there.

“We want to take advantage of the amenities that are there,” he said. “With the Butler-Freeport trail and the (pedestrian) crossing on the bridge, we expect a new kind of traffic, like people on bicycles. We want to take advantage of that.”

Clark was involved with the development of the Dunkin' Donuts plaza on East Tenth Avenue in Tarentum.

“Those are the kind of small developments that we like to do,” he said.

The Buffalo Township parcel is zoned agricultural; Clark has requested the area be rezoned.

The area could be designated as a business district or a conservation district, which regulates areas where topography is an issue, such as steep hillsides or near wetlands, said township Supervisor John Haven.

But rezoning is a long process, he said.

“We have to review other people's plans for zoning like that,” Haven said.

Buffalo and Freeport's planning commissions are working together on the rezoning because the area is located on the border of the municipalities.

The commission members also will recommend whether billboards should be permitted on the site.

There are several billboards on the hillside that were “grandfathered” because they existed prior to Buffalo's 2009 ordinance regulating the signs.

The ordinance allows billboards only in a manufacturing district, so a special exception would need to be made for the hillside along Freeport Road.

Haven said he can understand Clark's and others' desire to erect billboards in the area.

“When you come off the bridge, for advertising, if you want to put a billboard anywhere, it's an excellent place to put one because you're driving right toward it,” he said.

Clark said he's working with the municipalities on zoning and other issues, such as utility relocation that's taken place because of the Freeport Bridge project and water runoff from the hillside.

“That's why we're not upset about taking our time on this, because there are so many issues,” he said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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