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Baldwin Borough officials deny Breckenridge Highlands request

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

Baldwin Borough officials denied the latest request from Ryan Homes to modify site requirements for the Breckenridge Highlands housing complex.

Representatives from Ryan Homes sought a change to the front building line setback from 20 to 15 feet for homes on Towervue Drive to allow the sing-family, condominium–style houses to be build closer to the road so that “morning rooms” could be added in the rear.

Baldwin Council on Tuesday denied this request.

“They've come to the well one too many times,” council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk said.

At a public hearing last month, council members expressed concern about the site's past, filled with many variance requests and even a court case.

The Breckenridge housing complex was approved by Baldwin officials in 2004 as a planned residential development to be build in two phases.

The property is owned by Holly Hill Development Corp., and Ryan Homes was contracted to build and sell homes on the site.

Baldwin's planning commission in December recommended that council deny the request.

Tax rate set

The 2013 property tax rate is set for Baldwin Borough.

Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance setting the town's tax rate at 5.41 mills, down from 6.61 mills last year.

The rate reflects an additional 5 percent in tax revenue compared to last year - something which is permitted as part of the court-ordered countywide property reassessment process.

Residents may pay more or less in taxes, depending on the assessed value of their property.

Council last month approved the borough's 2013 budget that includes a $10,867,935 general fund and $7,866,627 sewer fund.

Solar regulations

Baldwin Borough leaders are looking to place regulations on solar panels.

Working with 19 other Allegheny County municipalities through the Congress of Neighboring Communities, the borough participated in the U.S. Department of Energy's Sunshine Initiative grant program, solicitor Stanley Lederman said.

A model ordinance was drafted to “promote the safe, effective and efficient use of installed solar energy systems that reduce on site consumption of utility supplied energy,” Lederman said.

The ordinance will serve as an amendment to Baldwin's zoning code.

Baldwin Council on Tuesday approved the first reading of the ordinance. Neighboring towns and Allegheny County leaders will have time to comment on it before Baldwin can approve the final ordinance.

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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