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Preliminary site plans for Baldwin apartments approved

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:45 p.m.

One hundred and fifty single-family apartments could be constructed within the next several years on an overgrown, grassy field at the crest of Route 51, in an area already densely concentrated with apartment-style housing.

Baldwin Borough Council last month approved preliminary site plans, submitted by AR Building Co., for a three building, four-story apartment complex to be built on a 3.5 acre site on Route 51, near the Cloverleaf. Nello Fiore owns the property, according to Allegheny County records.

“It's just preliminary,” borough engineer Larry Souleret told council members at a meeting last month.

Council's action allows the developer to proceed with drafting final plans.

Baldwin officials had questions about the project, including how it will affect traffic flow and sewage work in the town and what will make this housing any different than those already in place.

“It sounds like another Leland Point,” Councilman Larry Brown said. “When they came the first time, weren't they going to have all of these high-end apartments?”

The Fiore property, adjacent to Clairton Boulevard and a ramp leading to Lebanon Church Road, abuts the Cloverleaf Village apartments in Pleasant Hills and is across the street from the Cloverleaf Towers apartments that stradle the Baldwin and Pleasant Hills border. Also nearby are the Residence of South Hills, formerly Leland Point, apartment complex with more than 1,000 units, and Baldwin Towers.

AR Building Co. representatives initially came to borough officials with plans for the project about a year ago, they said. The company oversees more than 20 properties in Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to its website.

Representatives from AR Building could not be reached for comment.

Apartments similar to what would be constructed in Baldwin are being built in North Fayette, Souleret said.

The Baldwin apartments likely would be built within the next two to six years, said Councilman John Conley, chairman of planning and zoning. The project would be done in several phases.

Likely, the new apartments mostly would be one bedroom, Conley said.

The size of the units were not clear on the submitted plans, Souleret said, but based on parking regulations alone, most of the units would have to be one bedroom.

The preliminary site plans call for 235 parking spaces and, based on borough requirements, there would be 225 needed if all of the units were single-bedroom, Souleret said. Additional spaces would need to be added if the units were to be larger, he said.

“That's an issue,” he said.

Baldwin officials also had concerns about sewage flow from the site and if the developer would be able to get enough “tap-ins” into the sewage system from the Department of Environmental Protection for the units.

Plans indicate the site will have an underground storage tank, Souleret said.

Baldwin officials raised questions as to what back streets would see an increase in traffic if the plans for the new apartments move forward. Plans would be for the traffic to use Bliss Drive, Souleret said.

Earlier last month, Baldwin's planning commission recommended the preliminary site plans for approval, with stipulations, Souleret said. Baldwin's Zoning Hearing Board also rendered a decision allowing more units to be placed on the site than would be permitted in borough code, he said.

Final plans still must be submitted and approved by Baldwin officials before the project can proceed.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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