Zoning board could vote soon on Sewickley Country Inn site plans
By Bobby Cherry
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Little is left of the Sewickley Country Inn, and soon, a nearly 3-year-old lawsuit arguing a borough-approved zoning change was spot zoning could be nearing an end.
Sewickley Zoning Hearing Board members could vote April 2 on whether the Ohio River Boulevard mixed-use-development zone approved in 2010 by council is a case of spot zoning, as lawyer and former Councilman Michael Lyons argues in a lawsuit.
That vote changed the former hotel site from a residentially zoned district to mixed-use development.
After the demise of the Country Inn in 2009, developer Cody Mueller — under the name MCM Ventures — presented plans to demolish the hotel's several buildings and replace them with office buildings along Route 65 and town homes along Thorn Street on the nearly 4 acres.
Sewickley Code Enforcement Officer Nancy Watts testified in front of the zoning hearing board last week the property always has had unique zoning classifications; it had been zoned for both residential and motel use over the course of its nearly 50 years before eventually being changed to the mixed-use development.
She and Sewickley borough manager Kevin Flannery testified that the property also has had a variety of uses in addition to its main use as a hotel.
Flannery, who said he worked at what then was the Holiday Inn in 1970, called the hotel one of the “premier places” at the time in the region, with its River Room restaurant and a bar.
Since the hotel closed in 2009, Flannery said, tax revenue from the site has declined.
The property is assessed at nearly $2.5 million, according to the Allegheny County assessment website.
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.
In a decision last year, Commonwealth Court judges 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 tearing down the former hotel in January.
Trespassers had gained access to motel rooms and other parts of the property since the inn closed, according to police reports.
Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 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.
- Glen Osborne mayor set to retire
- New director continues mission of Beaver County Toys for Tots
- The Way I See It: True joy of season best seen through eyes of a child
- Ambridge model railroad museum, display open weekends through Jan. 5
- Photos: Santa visits Sewickley fire station
- Wintry weather didn’t stop Sewickley Light Up Night
- No hiding holiday spirit: Western Pa. homeowners light up the holidays