Share This Page

Nonprofits could lease prime space in Sewickley

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Some nonprofits including Village Green Partners soon could be permitted to lease prime space in Sewickley's business district.

The borough's planning commission at an April 2 public hearing will consider a proposal to allow some nonprofit use of first-floor spaces across Sewickley's Village Overlay District, which encompasses much of the business district. Current ordinances forbid first-floor office space within the district.

If the planning commission recommends the change, council could vote on the proposal as early as April 21.

If approved, organizations with nonprofit status would be required to open at least 50 percent of the floor space they occupy to the public.

The move would allow Village Green Partners, the nonprofit marketing and event-planning group that hosts events such as Light Up Night, to relocate to a first-floor office.

Under the name Mulberry Street Properties, Jennifer Markus, Village Green president, purchased 611-613 Beaver St. last year with intentions to relocate the nonprofit's office from its current third-floor office in the 400 block of Beaver Street to first-floor space in the building she purchased.

Markus said the group would operate a “welcome center” for the business district and art gallery space.

“We do have a lot of pressure coming from many parts of the town for office (space),” planning commission member Thomas Rostek said. “This was a use that really is beneficial to the whole town.

“Everyone has the ability to have a tenant of this nature on the first floor of a building. So it's fair, and it maintains the integrity of our Village Overlay.”

Allowing the change “is something that is going to promote business throughout the whole town,” Rostek said.

Markus asked for a zoning change last fall, but Rostek said planning commission members “weren't interested” in that.

“We didn't want to ... trim at the edges of the Village Overlay,” Rostek said. Markus' property sits at the southernmost end of the Village Overlay.

She said the nonprofit's current lease ends later this month.

“Our lease was up, and our landlord has rented to somebody else,” Markus said. “We would love to be moved in by this summer.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@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.