Share This Page

Traffic issues stall proposed Plum Square building in Plum

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted
A rendering of proposed Plum Square

A doctor's plans for a new medical and retail building in the Unity section of Plum have stalled because of potential traffic issues.

The Plum Borough Planning Commission on June 16 voted to table a site-plan application for Plum Square, a building proposed by Dr. Amer Z. Akhrass at 314 Unity Center Road, near the intersection with Old Leechburg Road.

Prior to the discussion of the site plan, commission members recommended approval of a two-lot consolidation for the project.

Plum planning director Jason Straley said after the meeting that David E. Wooster and Associates, a traffic engineering firm in Crafton, has recommended a traffic signal at the intersection where the building is proposed.

Straley said the worries stem from plans for Bill's Hometown Pharmacy, located in a plaza across the street, to move into the new building.

Straley said, in particular, engineers are worried about additional traffic from a potential new tenant in the space vacated by the pharmacy.

“The intersection has traffic problems, and the pharmacy would make more traffic,” said Joseph Khalil, an engineer with Hampton Technical Associates in Etna, who represented Akhrass before the planning commission.

“We may need to do improvements at the intersection.”

Akhrass' practice, Prime Care Internal Medicine Associates, currently is located near the intersection of Unity Center Road and Saltsburg Road.

The physician wants to construct a two-story building with retail space on the first floor and his office on half of the second floor of the building, which would be near St. John the Baptist Catholic School.

Akhrass, of Murrysville, said he rents space and has been hoping to relocate.

He purchased the property at 314 Unity Center Road, which had a 114-year-old house on it, in 2011 for $120,000 from a trust, according to the Allegheny County Assessment website. The house was demolished.

Khalil said potential traffic issues could be eased by doing the project in phases or reducing the size of the building.

Khalil said he hopes to have a solution for the July 21 planning commission meeting.

Commission Chairman Robert Zunich said the project appears to be a good addition to the area.

“It sounds like a splendid use for the property,” Zunich said. “We encourage and will support it. But we would never be in a position to ignore traffic problems.”

The Plum Borough Zoning Hearing Board in April approved three variances for the proposed building.

Khalil said once Akhrass gets approvals and permits, construction would take about three months to complete.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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.