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Developer looks to build in Pitcairn

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

An Allegheny County housing developer has expressed interest in building three new houses in Pitcairn, at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and School Street.

Tom Wiater, a senior construction manager with Pittsburgh-based Action-Housing Inc., offered to purchase the property, with the intent of building three homes, worth about $200,000 each, property owner Jim Szekely said.

“I thought it was a good idea,” said Szekely, who has owned the property for about 25 years.

Some residents who live near the vacant plot disagree and said they worry that a deal with Action — which offers home development and weatherization for low-income families ­­— could mean low-income residents will move into their neighborhood.

Wiater did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Officials say the property originally was zoned commercial but was rezoned residential in the late 1990s to prevent an adult-entertainment business from moving in to the borough.

A nonprofit organization in Pitcairn headed by Councilman Rollo Vecchio — The East Suburban New Life Development Corp. — is seeking a trust-fund grant to fund the project, officials said.

Vecchio is one of four council members who serve on the board for the nonprofit, but council President John Prucnal said the group held only one meeting when it was first organized about five years ago.

“I'm as much in the dark as the public is and as much as other councilmen are,” Prucnal said. “At this point, there's been no action for council to take.”

Borough officials say they have not been approached with any zoning or building-permit requests.

“This project may never come to fruition,” Pitcairn Solicitor Craig Alexander said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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