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Sewickley Council OKs proposal for 'pink house'

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 10:40 a.m.

Sewickley Council members gave the green light for the “pink house” to be turned into a fellowship center, despite objections by nearby residents over the location of a playground.

Council members Monday night voted 4-1 in favor of approving a land development and conditional use plan by The Presbyterian Church, Sewickley for the property at 202 Beaver St.

Members Susan Aleshire, Tom Defazio, Robert Glenn and James Morrill voted yes. Carole Ford voted no.

Council President Bob Hague recused himself as he is a member of the church.

Stan Ference, Bill Cornman and Charlie Driscoll were not present.

Among conditions council members approved by passing the resolution include access easements for parking and shared stormwater sewers, that parking not exceed 46 spaces on the unified lot, a landscaping plan that must be approved by the borough's tree commission and a lighting plan.

At issue among some residents living near the church is the proposed location of a playground.

Thorn Street residents Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson filed a lawsuit appealing the borough's April zoning hearing board decision to allow the plan to move forward. In testimony at a public hearing in May, Farlow said noise at the playground drives her inside her home.

She said she worried a proposal to relocate the playlot closer to her home would increase noise.

Farlow and Olson were not at Monday's meeting.

According to drawings, the proposed playground would be located near Duquesne Way.

The playground is used for 2 12 hours per day — weather permitting — from about September through May, church member Joan Murdoch said at a meeting last month.

Some summer sessions also are held.

Murdoch said groups of 15 preschool-age children use the playground for a 30-minute period.

Church leaders were not at the meeting.

With pending litigation, church leaders can move forward with plans, but run the risk of penalties if courts rule against them, borough Manager Kevin Flannery said.

Sewickley resident and Save the Pink House member Peter Floyd Monday night questioned council members on the project.

“It's absolutely shameful for you, as council members, to ignore the taxpayers,” he said. “We're the ones who pay to pave the roads so these members can get to their church.”

Council member Glenn said noise issues with the playground weren't important.

“The fact that kids get out there and make a little bit of noise during the day … quite frankly, I can't get concerned about that,” he said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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