California unveils plan to put curbs on building boom
Downtown California has a problem most communities would love to have, Councilman Patsy Alfano admits.
Growth came at a pace too quick even for borough planners.
“We've had such a building boom in past few years that things have gotten out of control,” Alfano said. “People are putting up any styles, colors and not meshing with neighboring businesses.”
Thus California is about to embark on a master plan. Recently, the borough contracted with the firm of MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni to conduct that plan.
“California native Albert Filoni is a world renowned architect,” Alfano said. “We're lucky to get him.
“They're going to look at downtown area, giving us a template for any future building that will take place for possible new facades.”
The $30,000 study will examine an area of the downtown stretching from Mechanics to Green streets and from Second to Fourth streets.
The study will begin in February and take roughly three months to complete. It will involve some design concepts. Several meetings will be held with council, zoning officials and public during the process.
“This plan will give us some direction for the future,” Alfano said.
He said the suggestions made in the plan will serve as a blueprint for future build design and streetscape projects.
Alfano acknowledged that the study is symbolic of recent growth in California.
“We've had a building boom in the past four to five years,” he said. “We got caught behind the eight ball.”
Alfano credited much of that growth to increased enrollment at California University of Pennsylvania. There is now a coffee shop with a drive-through and about a dozen new off-campus town houses, he noted.
“Several investors are courting us now to do some more building in downtown, raze some old and build new — a combination of retail/commercial and residential,” Alfano said.
California is one of the few communities in the region experiencing such growth, Alfano said.
He said the growth took place at a period of some uneasy transition in the zoning office.
“The former council got rid of key people, and the contractor couldn't get it done for us so had to bring it under control,” Alfano said.
Bruce Large, longtime zoning officer, was let go in January 2010, and council at the time hired contractor HMT and Associates. But recently, the current council brought code enforcement services in house, hiring Shannon Kratzer as code enforcement officer, John Petro as assistant code enforcement officer and Lori Clancey as administrative assistant.
“The commercial district is what it is,” Alfano said. “The zoning changes will be what they tell us.”
Alfano said the study, which is being funded by an LSA grant, will project a master plan for the next 20 years.
“We will go after those types of businesses which will improve the look of town and improve the tax base,” Alfano said. “We're not opposed at this time to looking at some ways that we can offer incentives for businesses to come in. We'd like to talk to them.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trials ordered for two charged in Monongahela mugging case
- Trio arrested by Monessen police on drug charges
- Rostraver seeks big bucks from gas service co.
- West Newton foster father faces child sex charges
- Monessen OKs 2015 budget with no tax hike
- Washington Township man faces trial in home invasion
- Ringgold agrees to stay under Pa. tax limit
- Bentleyville Scout scores Eagle with mini golf project
- Craft brewery opens in West Newton fire hall
- Music to highlight Cal U Civil War Roundtable
- Rostraver Food Pantry continues to meet need