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Unity zoning request worries neighbors

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 7:07 p.m.

Unity supervisors agreed to advertise a zoning change for a vacant lot near Whitney despite neighbors' concerns about future residential development.

The 1.3-acre property at 1007 Whitney Court Drive owned by Ronald N. Raimondo was zoned R1, rural residential. It's adjacent to other parcels owned by the developer, who requested the change to R3, rural village.

Supervisors voted 2-1 last week to approve the zoning change with Supervisor Mike O'Barto voting against it.

O'Barto said he thought the designation could eventually allow for housing too dense for the neighborhood.

“I just felt it's an infringement on Greenfield Estates development by Raimondo,” he said. “I just didn't think it was fair to them.”

The proposed change was first discussed at a planning commission meeting on Oct. 1, then at a hearing before supervisors on Oct. 22.

At the hearing, Robert King, speaking on behalf of Raimondo, explained that the request was for a small parcel. The nearby lots owned by the developer already are zoned R3.

“We're not really asking for anything significant to happen here,” King told supervisors at the hearing. “As we develop the property, we want to be able to use all three parcels.”

King said there are plans to formally request a consolidation of the three lots later, but no plans for any buildings.

Matt Federico, who lives nearby on Wheaten Way, said he believed, after speaking with Raimondo, that the lot could be developed to accommodate more housing, such as apartments or townhouses.

“The issue I have with that, zoning to an R3 is decreasing to the value to my home and other adjacent homes in the area,” he said.

Jenny Estok of Greenfield Drive said squeezing too much development might discourage people from moving there.

“When people buy in the township, they buy with the idea of having more space, and so when situations like this occur and every little sliver is bought up and built on, that's something you may want to consider,” she said. “I know that you have to grow, but I don't know if it's the most positive way in which to grow.”

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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