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South Fayette clears way for development on Mayview land

| Thursday, March 17, 2016, 3:49 p.m.

South Fayette commissioners voted 4-1 this month to create a Neighborhood Design District at the site of the former Mayview State Hospital, allowing a developer to use the land for residential and commercial purposes.

Charter Homes plans to build 620 housing units, a mix of single-family homes, apartments and townhouses, though the developer and school district disagreed over what the impact would be on student enrollment and related costs.

The commissioners hired Fourth Economy Consulting to study the question and sided closer to the developer's study than the district's.

The district estimated the development would bring 459 new students, while the developer's consultant estimated 222.

Fourth Economy projects 269 more students.

The study also determined that the development could support at least 214 students, assuming the highest cost to the school district and lowest revenue estimates from the growth.

It could support no more than 415, assuming the lowest cost to the district and the highest revenue estimates.

“It's important to Charter Homes that the school district works well,” said Bill Sittig, an attorney representing the developer.

The commissioners also incorporated changes suggested by Sittig into the ordinance creating the Design District.

They included increasing the minimum nonresidential development from 50,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet and increasing the initial phase of nonresidential development from 25,000 to 30,000 square feet.

Township officials had expressed disappointment that no school officials attended the March 9 commissioners meeting where a public hearing was held on the impact of the development.

But several township and school officials met informally March 14 to express their points of view. Commission President Joe Horowitz said he came away with a better understanding of the district's enrollment and the capacity of the schools.

Board member Teresa Burroughs said she left the meeting with township officials with good spirit and energy.

“There will be times where we agree to disagree, but it's a good step in faith and I'm looking forward to working together,” she said.

Charter Homes has not said when construction will start.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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