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Penn Hills

Potential buyer of Aster Street property in Penn Hills wary of deal

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 2:42 p.m.
The former library on Aster Street that was owned by the Penn Hills School District before its sale was approved in April 2018.
The former library on Aster Street that was owned by the Penn Hills School District before its sale was approved in April 2018.

The Penn Hills School District wants the municipality to delay voting on an application that would allow a potential buyer of an Aster Street property to use it as a car repair and storage shop — but the buyer said it might be too late.

“My contract with the school district is expired at this point,” said Steve Parco, who said he signed a sales agreement with the school back in April, when the school board approved the $62,000 sale of 260 Aster St.

Parco said he wants to use the 234,000-square-foot facility as an auto repair shop and vehicle storage unit. He plans to store 35 to 40 cars inside. The vacant building was the former Penn Hills library until the school district bought it in 2007.

The Zoning Hearing Board is set to vote on the school’s application at a Sept. 26 meeting.

“It’s going on six months since the sales agreement was signed, and it was a three-month agreement. So it’s null and void right now. I don’t see it working out,” Parco said. “I’m not backing out. Obviously, if I’m able to use it for what I want to use it for, then yes. But it’s looking like it’s not going to happen.”

He said Nancy Hines, the district’s superintendent, contacted him recently and asked if he’d be open to running the facility as a storage garage only in order to avoid a zoning issue.

The vacant facility on Aster Street sits in a residential zone. Under the school’s current application, the building would be used as a commercial property.

“I said ‘absolutely not.’ I want to do what I want to do. It’s not worth putting all that money in it and not be able to use it,” Parco said, adding the property needs around $80,000 in renovations for his purposes.

Parco owns Allegheny County Customs, an auto repair shop on Rodi Road in Penn Hills.

Hines confirmed that she contacted Parco recently to reassure him the district is committed to “having all outstanding issues resolved,” but referred other questions about the school’s desire to delay a Zoning Hearing Board vote to the school’s solicitor, Craig Alexander.

Alexander did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Penn Hills Planner Damien Buccilli said a revision asking only for the vehicle storage facility would still be a commercial use for the property.

“In order for it not to be a ‘spot zone,’ they would have to rezone the entirety of Aster Street from Saltsburg Road. Currently, there are homes along Aster Street, and that prohibits that from being a possibility,” Buccilli said.

The municipality’s Zoning Hearing Board will vote to postpone its vote on the school’s application at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 26. The meeting will take place at the municipal complex, 102 Duff Road.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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