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Developer outlines plans for Murrysville Golf Course

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murrysville Star
Murrysville Golf Course on Sardis Road. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murrysville Star

Richard Kacin has his eye on the Murrysville Golf Course.

Earlier this month, Kacin submitted a planning commission advisory to Murrysville officials that outlines a proposal to build 84 single-family homes on the golf-course property and an adjacent parcel if municipal officials grant the golf course officials' request to rezone the 137 acres.

“We've agreed in principal on what would be an acceptable plan for us, for them and for Murrysville,” Kacin said. “We have a vision with that property, and it's what the ownership feels would be a good use.”

The Murrysville Planning Commission is slated next week to review the advisory as the board considers a request from golf-course officials to change the zoning from “Rural Residential” to “R-1 Low Density.”

Jim Geiger, general manager of the golf club and president of its board, said he wants to increase the value of the property by changing the zoning to match other adjacent properties.

The course was deemed “Rural Residential” in 2005, when the municipality developed its comprehensive plan. As officials are revising that document now, Geiger said, he wants the zoning revisited.

“It's irritated us for eight years,” Geiger said. “There's no question — a higher-density zoning enhances the value of the land for whatever happens in the future. It's not gobs of money more.”

The “Rural Residential” designation is designed to protect environmentally sensitive areas, while the “R-1” designation is designed primarily for single-family homes. Geiger said he challenged the ruling in 2005. After his pleas were rejected, he enlisted Kacin's help as a developer.

Kacin, whose company has facilitated both commercial and residential developments in the community, developed a proposal for what he envisions the property could become.

“Murrysville has sort of practiced the point of ‘What do you intend to do with it?' if you ask to rezone,” said Kacin, whose wife, Nancy, previously served on council. “It's a fair question. We feel we have a good plan proposed that is market-sensitive and something that decision-makers would embrace.”

But for the foreseeable future, the golf course will remain just that. Geiger said his board has not received an official offer from Richard Kacin — though he has received calls from other developers.

“For years, people have been trying to buy this land,” Geiger said. “We're not intending to close. What the future holds? Who knows? There's nothing going to happen this year, that's for sure.”

Kacin said the rezoning is the first step towards creating a residential development.

“It's our intent to move forward,” Kacin said. “This is just the first part of it. It's a family ownership, and we have to formalize this.”

Kacin estimated that transitioning the property from a golf course to a residential plan would increase tax revenue from less than $25,000 a year to as much as slightly more than $1 million.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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