Zoning request for Sewickley property raises concerns
Some Sewickley planning commission members say they are concerned a request to rezone property along Water Works Road could be considered spot zoning.
Sewickley Heights resident James Rock purchased 13.6 acres of Waterworks Park in Sewickley Borough for $350,000 in February. Rock, whose property borders the park, said he plans to sell 9 acres to Sewickley-based nonprofit Allegheny Land Trust for preservation and park land and keep the remaining 4 acres as residential-zoned land in Sewickley.
“The bigger picture is to help the land trust help acquire more of the land,” Rock told planning commission members last week. Rock said he is considering building a home on the 4 acres.
Planning commission members Tom Rostek and Sharon Pillar say they worry rezoning 4 acres to residential could be considered spot zoning.
“This creates a problem for us zoning this one little corner to residential and not considering the rest of the space,” Rostek said. “We can't just spot zone.”
Allegheny Land Trust Land Protection Director Roy Kraynyk said his organization wants to create a greenway through the area to offer more park land.
Allegheny Land Trust protects “land of natural value” in and around Allegheny County, its website says.
Sewickley Borough Manager Kevin Flannery said the plan is a “great way” to protect a source of water known as Davey's Run, which runs from the Water Works Road area into Sewickley and toward the Ohio River.
Pillar questioned why the borough would sell the land. “If that's the intent, we could have sold it to the Allegheny Land Trust,” she said.
Rostek agreed. “If that's our goal to preserve open space, why sell it?” he said.
Flannery said “borough council indicated that it would be wise to sell that land” after conclusion of a study.
“There's not much you can do up there if you walked it,” Flannery said. “You're not going to build much.”
Flannery said the land would receive more care under the land trust's control than the borough could offer.
Planning commission members said the issue is not with the already-zoned 9 acres of open space, but with the 4 acres.
“It's a one-lot zone,” Rostek said. “That's the issue.”
“This is spot zoning,” she said. “It's pretty cut and dry that this is what this is seen as. The borough will be dragged into another lawsuit and pay thousands of dollars to defend this.”
Planning commission members voted 6-1, with Rostek opposing, to schedule a public hearing for July 2.
That meeting could be moved to July 9, borough leaders said.
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
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.
- Lane: Welcoming guests? Make it easy
- Retiring official taking love of Leetsdale with her
- Sewickley Valley Girl Scouts adapt to digital cookie sales
- Repairs made to Sewickley stream