O'Hara Council last week tweaked the township's zoning ordinance to allow for more improvements to property along the Allegheny River.
Members approved a riverfront Green Overlay District that will accommodate projects such as trail development.
In an overlay district, a local government can impose extra rules for specific sections of property.
In the riverfront area, “Our zoning is currently manufacturing,” Township Engineer Chuck Steinert said.
Iris Whitworth, executive director of Allegheny River Towns Enterprize Zone, or ARTEZ, a community development group, pushed for the move to protect shoreline plans that include a trail system from Millvale to the Allegheny Valley.
The overlay district requires developers to allow for a trail when new projects along the riverfront are planned, she said.
In 2011, ARTEZ proposed a trail connection along the river, and partnered with Lower Valley communities to research its feasibility, Whitworth said.
In Etna, there is a plan for a riverfront park, and in neighboring Sharpsburg a portion of Bridge Street will be reconstructed.
“Our group is focused on improvement of the riverfront in all seven of our communities,” she said. Member communities of ARTEZ are Sharpsburg, Blawnox, O'Hara, Aspinwall, Millvale, Etna and Shaler.
“We are working to ensure the river is a benefit and a resource,” she said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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