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Developer makes pitch to transform Murrysville Golf Course into housing

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A developer envisions transforming Murrysville Golf Course's land into a haven for local empty nesters seeking single-level living.

Richard Kacin of Murrysville-based Kacin General Contractors, presented to Murrysville Council on Wednesday a conceptual plan for the 137-acre tract along Sardis Road.

No deal for the land has been finalized. The course's ownership is evaluating its options, one of which is the housing development concept, said Jim Geiger, president of Recreation Inc. and general manager of the golf course.

The property owners asked council to change the land's zoning designation from “rural residential” to “R1-low density,” a switch that would allow more homes, which is necessary to recoup development costs, landscape architect Brian Almeter said. The concept calls for about 84 single-family homes.

Council did not issue a decision this week about the rezoning request. The planning commission approved the zoning change this month and referred it to council.

The 83-year-old golf course is surrounded by properties zoned R1, said Geiger, who asked council to “establish the proper zoning classification for the land for the future.”

Under its current zoning, a developer would be required to provide bigger “estate lots,” said attorney Bill Sittig, who represents Recreation Inc. But a zoning change, he said, would allow a concentration of homes along Sardis Road while still maintaining open space and character.

“It's not senior citizens' living, it's empty nesters (with) dual income. ... They're pretty desirable people,” Sittig said. “They can move into a high-quality (place) that keeps them here ... keeps them around their families but allows them to have first-floor (master bedrooms) and not have the maintenance issues.”

The real estate market demands “one-level living” homes, Kacin said. The development would feature high-end architecture with front porches, sidewalks, backyards and open park areas.

“We would be keeping some of our finest citizens in the community where they've been for years and years. And chances are, we can get their families to move here, their kids,” Kacin said. “There's a change in the housing market. I think this is a change we should address.”

The homes might also attract young families, he said.

If developed, builders would have to provide sewage and water service to the properties, a costly endeavor, Almeter said.

Resident Ron Rodman, whose property borders the golf course, said he prefers the “character of the lower density.”

But Joe Jelovich, another neighbor of the course, said he supports the zoning switch to allow the landowner to “develop it into a more reasonable facility.”

In other business, council learned that an arborist checked over Murrysville's tree sign and recommended brush removal from the area.

“It may not be as bad as originally thought, but I have no idea what the price may be at this point on the brush clearing,” chief administrator Jim Morrison said.

Earlier this fall, Morrison reported that the sign, which spells out “Murrysville” in trees overlooking the municipality, was in a “state of disrepair.” The arborist estimates the trees will live about 15 to 20 years.

“There's a very healthy stand of trees there; no evidence of any blight or disease,” Morrison said.

Morrison will research the cost to clear brush.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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