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South Fayette development needs new zoning classification

| Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, 9:57 p.m.

South Fayette commissioners will further consider a new zoning classification at their September workshop with the possibility of approving it the next week.

Charter Homes officials want to build an 81-acre residential development at the former Mayview State Hospital site along Mayview Road.

To do so, however, they are seeking the creation of zoning called a “Neighborhood Design District.” Currently, the property is zoned as a business district.

Charter Homes has planned more than 620 units that would include apartments, town houses, single-family homes and space for commercial uses, such as offices and stores. The traditional residential neighborhood would be called Hastings.

“In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful underdeveloped areas in South Fayette,” said Anthony Faranda-Diedrich, vice president of Charter Homes. “We recognize the enormous potential this site offers.”

The company first presented the project to township officials in July 2014 and met in June with the planning commission, which recommended the rezoning.

Charter Homes officials said the new neighborhood will offer more commercial real estate, a new entrance to Fairview Park and more taxes for the township.

They estimate tax revenue to be about $3.5 million annually for the school district and $469,000 for the township, excluding income tax.

Resident Suzette Collins said she worries that more than 600 additional homes would bring in more than 600 students into the school district, requiring more expansion.

“We already have one of the highest school taxes in Allegheny County,” she said. “The fact of the matter is that one of those town homes won't generate enough (tax money for education).”

The school district is planning a $34 million expansion.

South Fayette School District Superintendent Bille Rondinelli asked township officials to examine any implications for the district's transportation department and how the increase in students would affect the building and facilities.

“Certainly, we want a diverse student population and our district to grow. … We would be more than willing to work together,” she said.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to advertise the motion to change the zoning, pending Solicitor Robert Garvin's approval. Commissioner Jessica Cardillo-Wagenoffer dissented.

“The ordinance is somewhat of a work in progress,” Garvin said. “It will not be put out for physical advertisement until we have a final draft.”

The commissioners will revisit the zoning proposal at the Sept. 9 workshop. A vote could come Sept. 16.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or afelser@tribweb.com.

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