Owners of former hospital site, South Fayette officials debate coal operations
By Matthew Santoni
Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The owners of the former Mayview State Hospital want to mine for coal underneath 37 of the site's 158 acres, but South Fayette officials said on Wednesday night it could cause problems for adjacent roads and parks.
Duquesne Heights-based Aloe Brothers LLC went before the South Fayette zoning board last month seeking permission to dig up the coal as part of its plan to grade and redevelop the site as a light industrial/office park.
That hearing was continued so the township's solicitor could respond.
Upper St. Clair attorney Chris Cahillane testified as an intervenor in the case, arguing that the now-demolished mental hospital was nearly surrounded by the 475-acre Boyce-Mayview Park, with its recreation center, playing fields and walking trails within hundreds of feet of property where Aloe planned to do digging and blasting.
“(The park is) to the north; it's to the east and to the south. ...The township has pretty significant concerns about a strip mine in such close proximity,” Cahillane said.
South Fayette traffic engineer Ray Caruso testified that tractor-trailers like the ones that would carry coal off-site could not make the turns between Mayview and Boyce roads, or between Boyce Road and Washington Pike, without encroaching on opposing traffic. He admitted he had not studied whether shorter, tri-axle dump trucks would make the turns.
Aloe attorney William Sittig Jr. and witnesses he called spent much of the earlier hearing detailing how the proposed coal mining would be done and how it would compare to hydraulic fracking of the site, which is permitted under the zoning ordinance.
Each side has until early November to write and submit legal arguments. The board could vote on the matter as soon as Nov. 20.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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