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Planners want more on Seton Hill arts center proposal

| Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Members of Greensburg's planning commission told designers of Seton Hill University's proposed Dance and Visual Arts Center they need to know more about how the building will operate before voting on drawings.

On Monday, the commission tabled consideration of plans until the Feb. 26 commission meeting.

“I think it's way too premature for us to make a motion on this plan as it's presented to us now,” Chairman Rick Cutia said.

Committee members said they want to know more about traffic flow to the proposed 46,000-square-foot building at West Otterman Street and College Avenue.

They further want to know how trash will be picked up, how students will be dropped off via shuttles and how deliveries will be made.

They further would like some other agencies to approve permits first, members added.

PennDOT needs to approve a highway occupany permit. Officials need to review modules for sewage disposal. Stormwater issues need to be reviewed, they said.

“I think you need to give the board the logistics of how the building will work,” City Planner Barbara Ciampini told project officials.

Seton Hill officials want to begin using the building in late summer of 2014.

The facility is proposed to have two galleries, including a more formal one, two practice dance studios and a larger dance studio and classrooms, said architect Gary Balog.

“(Lighting) would illuminate the building itself and illuminate the walkways,” he added.

Cutia questioned the effects of the building's height on neighbors' gardens to the rear of their homes.

Balog did not believe the building would hamper those gardens.

Early in the 90-minute discussion, member Karen Hutchinson expressed dissatisfaction that Seton Hill, which does not pay property taxes as a nonprofit, was taking more property in the city.

“This is going to be another nonprofit,” she said. “It's another building that's going to be a nonprofit.”

Seton Hill, which does make donations to the city in lieu of taxes, brings revenue to Greensburg in other ways, Ciampini replied, noting the 2009 opening of the university's arts center at West Otterman Street and Harrison Avenue.

“It's been a wonderful thing for the city,” the city planner responded.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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