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Change streamlines application process for permits in Cranberry

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

If Paint Monkey — a bring-your-own-beer painting studio — had applied to Cranberry before September to open, it would have had to wait until December for proper approval from the township.

It also would have had to spend $550 in application fees.

Earlier this month, the township cut red tape for some businesses to make it easier and quicker to win the necessary township zoning and occupancy approvals.

As of Sept. 5, prospective businesses simply apply to the township for necessary zoning and occupancy permits, and the application is ruled on within several weeks.

“This encompasses a wide array of businesses, everything from dance studios to martial arts schools,” said Ron Henshaw, director of community development in Cranberry.

The change, approved by Cranberry's supervisors on Sept. 5, gets rid of a lengthy and expensive process to determine whether special conditions need to be met to ease a new company's impact on neighboring properties.

“A painting studio does not have an impact on neighboring businesses. This is a business-friendly change that saves time and money,” Henshaw said.

Certain types of recreational businesses would still be subject to conditional approval. “Something like an indoor gun range would need conditional approval,” Henshaw said.

Conditional approval takes two and a half months and costs $550.

Paint Monkey has a studio in Lawrenceville and is opening a second studio on Freedom Road in Cranberry. The business was able to get approval in less than a month.

Owner Mary Lou Bradley said she was pleased with the change.

“It was helpful. We were paying rent for the space anyway, and there was no reason to wait 10 more weeks before opening. I feel lucky that we benefitted from it,” Bradley said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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