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Baldwin Borough residential plan back at beginning

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A local developer must go through Baldwin Borough's approval process again if he wants to continue with a plan to construct nearly 50 single-family homes off of Willett and Schuette roads.

Council members, in a unanimous vote Tuesday, denied a request for final plan approval for the Schuette Farm planned residential development, which they initially granted application for in October 2008.

“It's not necessarily going away, it's just coming back through the right way,” borough Manager John Barrett said.

Developer Michael Facchiano Contracting Inc. submitted revised plans to Baldwin Borough in October, seeking to reduce the number of lots planned for the project, making the streets in the development public instead of private and decreasing the set acreage of open space per lot, Barrett said.

Representatives from Michael Facchiano Contracting could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

The changes would reduce the amount of fill needed for the site from 300,000 cubic yards required to level the area to 100,000, Barrett said, noting he thought the changes were positive.

Borough officials had placed restrictions on the initially proposed 54-lot housing plan, including requiring all construction vehicles for the project to travel Streets Run and Schuette roads instead of using Churchview Avenue or Willett Road.

Crews also were required to only do work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The 300,000 cubic yards of fill, also were required to be on the site within three and a half years of the commencement of any work on the property.

Because there were several changes, Barrett said, the plan needs to go back through the borough's planning process for review and a public hearing — all of which were done for the initial plan, he said.

“Rather than trying to fit this round peg through a square hole, we said, let's just start back at the beginning and do this correct,” Barrett said.

“Why would we trust him with this plan without the proper vetting?” council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk asked.

The land set for development has come under scrutiny in recent months by borough officials, after cars were seen coming and going from the site, where Baldwin leaders said construction equipment was being stored.

The property is zoned residential and there are no building permits issued for the site, which contains heavy equipment, a stockpile of equipment and construction materials, Barrett said.

The owner was given 30 days by magisterial district Judge John Bova on Dec. 9 to remove the items from the property, Barrett said.

Baldwin Borough cited property owner McNeilly Realty Associates with violations of planned residential district standards and conditions, and purpose/intent. Court records show the owner was found not guilty on Dec. 9.

“These are two separate issues,” he said.

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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