ShareThis Page

Country Inn zoning fight continues in Sewickley

| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

As demolition of the nearly 50-year-old former Sewickley Country Inn continues, one resident continues to fight against rezoning for new development.

Mike Lyons in 2010 filed a lawsuit against the borough and the zoning board. He said rezoning the land from residential to multi-use was spot zoning.

Lyons, an attorney and former councilman, won the right in Commonwealth Court to offer more testimony to Sewickley Zoning Hearing Board last week.

He called the rezoning a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Borough officials are eager to see development on the site of the rundown building, a landmark in the borough.

“It's an eyesore and it's a safety concern,” Mayor Brian Jeffe said.

The inn, with its signature sign along Route 65, for years was a popular gathering spot. It closed in 2009.

The property at Route 65 and Boundary Street is surrounded by homes.

Borough officials say Lyons' lawsuit has cost taxpayers more than $50,000 in legal fees.

MCM Ventures, led by developer Cody Mueller, has proposed redeveloping the property into office space and single-family homes.

Lyons argued the trial court “erred in exercising jurisdiction” over MCM's appeal from the zoning hearing board's denial of the development company's motion to declare Lyons' claim invalid, according to court documents.

Mueller could not be reached for comment.

In their decision last year, Commonwealth Court judges also concluded the borough's public notices failed to comply with state law by being placed within a four-day span instead of a five-day window, which would constitute two consecutive weeks, according to court documents.

Crews began preparations to tear down the facility last month, borough Manager Kevin Flannery said.

Trespassers had gained access to motel rooms and other parts of the property since the inn closed, according to police reports.

Zoning board members are expected to continue the hearing at a March 5 meeting.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.