Ross OKs zoning change needed to build townhouses off Jacks Run Road
Ross Township commissioners have approved a long-time property owner’s request to rezone a portion of his land to permit the construction of townhouses.
Mark Purcell of McIlrath Drive requested that the zoning for three of the 4.3 acres of land he owns along Jack Run Road in the township’s 6th Ward be changed from an R-2 zoning classification to R-3.
Only single family homes and duplexes are permitted in an R-2 district. R-3 permits the construction of single-family units, duplexes and townhouses.
“I think this property is most suited to this type (townhouse) of development,” said Purcell, who served as a Ross commissioner from 1978 to 1998. “Within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance there are six or seven R-3 or R-4 areas that allow townhouses and apartment buildings.”
Purcell’s property sits in a valley just over the hill from Bellevue Memorial Park & Pool and is close to the Parkway North.
“I think this is ideally suited for young professionals who work in the city,” he said, noting that it is an 8 minute commute from the area to Downtown Pittsburgh. “I think the 6th Ward could use some development, some young families coming in.”
Purcell said his goal is to build a maximum of 15 upscale townhouses that would cost between $275,000 and $325,000.
Two commissioners agreed that there is a greater need for housing in the 6th Ward.
“There’s not a lot of room to develop there, so the move makes sense,” said Commissioner Jason Pirring. “It’s something we need.”
Commissioner Pat Mullin, who represents the 6th Ward, concurred.
“It’s almost across the street from my driveway,” he said. “I think it would be a great addition to the area.”
Because some of the land at the center of the property has been filled in, the homes would have to be built in a horseshoe configuration on three sides of the property and would require the removal of trees.
Purcell noted that his home borders the area he is proposing to develop.
“I’m going to continue to live there, and it will go to my youngest son, who wants to live there,” Purcell said. “I’m just as concerned as any other neighbor about what goes in there.”
Commissioner Rick Avon questioned how Purcell would address the township’s requirement that trees removed for development be replaced on the property.
“I would absolutely want some sort of buffer between my home and the development,” Purcell said. “I see no reason why they couldn’t plant even more (trees) than what’s there now.”
Steve Korbel, president of the board of commissioners, said approving Purcell’s request for a zoning change does not mean he has the go-ahead to develop the site.
“That’s a whole different track,” he said, noting that before a development can proceed a number of approvals from the township and state are required along with public hearings to allow residents to comment on the proposal.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .