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Upper St. Clair project protested

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Thursday, April 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

In a familiar scene for the developers and neighbors of the former Consol Energy headquarters in Upper St. Clair, residents came to the township's Community and Recreation Center on Wednesday night to hear arguments against the project.

Moira Cain-Mannix last month filed an appeal to the township's Zoning Hearing Board, contesting that the board of commissioners' decision to allow a mix of retail, residential and office uses on 28 acres previously zoned only for offices was invalid.

“My client lives a half mile from the Consol site. ... This ordinance deprives Upper St. Clair residents and my clients of their rights to have proper notice, information about what happens to that property and input,” said her attorney, Tom Ayoob.

The meeting had not ended at press time.

Developers Hal Kestler and Gerard Cipriani are seeking the township's permission to build “Siena at St. Clair,” a mix of townhouses, retail and a Whole Foods Market, where Consol Energy's headquarters once stood at the corner of Route 19 and Fort Couch Road.

In October 2011, the commissioners voted to make a mix of development possible within the township's “special business” type of zones.

There are other parcels in Upper St. Clair classified as “special business” zoning, but Cain-Mannix's appeal said the conditions the commission set pertaining to lot size, setbacks and planning approvals could only feasibly apply to the Consol property. That made it a case of “spot zoning,” or changing the zoning rules just for the benefit of a single parcel, which courts generally consider illegal.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

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