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Decision on townhouse plan in Aspinwall delayed

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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Aspinwall Council delayed a vote on a proposed townhouse development off Center Avenue for a month, after concerns were raised about possible landslides on the site.

A site plan for Overlook Court, a 12-unit development, was scheduled to be approved or denied last week, but council members said they wanted to see a final geotechnical report and plans for a retaining wall.

Developer Bob Stern agreed to extend a deadline for a vote to no later than Dec. 11. If the wall designs and report are finished sooner, a vote could be set for Dec. 4.

Residents who live near the property expressed concerns this month about how work on the site could impact their land. There also are concerns that the project could impact a pedestrian walkway near an unopened part of Seventh Street. That street was never accepted by the borough. The neighboring property owners have rights to that property.

Resident Joan Brindle said the path still is used by pedestrians.

“You still see quite a few people coming down that street,” Brindle said.

Steve Victor of landscape architectural firm Victor-Wetzel Associates said plans could be adjusted if needed to allow pedestrian access or to only use the part of Seventh Street the developers have rights to.

Brindle said she and other residents also long have had concerns about the possibility of a landslide if a retaining wall for the development isn't completed properly.

She said she supports the development.

Information from the geotechnical report will be used to design the wall.

“We just want to protect our property,” Brindle said. “We don't want our property sliding.”

Borough engineer Dan Martone said it would be reasonable to approve the project with conditions, such as standards for the wall design.

Stern noted that permits could not be issued until the wall design is finished.

Councilman Jim Donahoe said even if the wall designs are not finished next month, having the geotechnical report that's needed for its design would make him feel better about voting on the project.

“I would feel comfortable with just knowing those reports are done, and they say it's feasible,” Donahoe said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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