Jefferson Hills planning commission tables UPMC land development application
The Jefferson Hills planning commission could make a recommendation to borough council on how they think the municipality should proceed with a land development application for UPMC in December — or they could agree to extend the deadline.
UPMC, operating under the name AUUE Inc., is appealing a decision by the Jefferson Hills zoning hearing board to strip the health care giant of a zoning permit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Thomas Ayoob, legal council for AUUE, appeared before the borough’s planning commission on Nov. 18 seeking a “general table” of the land development process until the court renders a decision on the appeal regarding the permit.
AUUE filed its appeal in Common Pleas Court on Nov. 21.
“It doesn’t make sense to expend the energy and effort of both the applicant and the staff of the borough and the planning commission on an application when the use itself is the subject of an appeal,” he said.
Jefferson Hills leaders, however, said that is not how they typically handle land development applications. If there is meaningful progress with the application being reviewed and amended, the borough has, in the past, granted a 90-day extension on the application, planning consultant John Trant said.
“That’s how we handle every application,” he said.
AUUE must secure land development approval from the municipality — along with other permits — before it builds a planned 63-bed hospital, medical clinic and professional offices near the intersection of state Route 51 and Elliot Road in Jefferson Hills.
The planning commission has a 90-day timeframe to render a decision. While UPMC filed the land development application in November 2018, a stay was imposed on it when 104 residents challenged the borough’s issuance of a zoning permit.
With the zoning hearing board rendering a decision in October, the clock again started ticking on the land development application. The planning commission now has until Jan. 22 to render a decision.
Ayoob said AUUE would agree to a waiver of the deadlines.
“Table it, generally, until we would request that it be reconsidered and then we would have a 30-day time frame to request that and have a proceeding before the planning commission at that time,” he said.
Trant said when planning commission members table an application, it comes before them the next month.
“Our practice is that it will come back at the December meeting. There is no general,” he said. “You can withdraw the application.”
Ayoob said he does not want to do that. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“We understand that. But that’s not our dilemma. We have a process. We’re following our process — the 90-day window,” Trant said. “At the end of the 90 days, if meaningful progress is being made, we certainly can agree to an extension.”
Planning commission members voted 5-1 to table the application until December. Commission member Christopher Hynes dissented.
“I feel that that’s the most prudent thing to do. Hopefully, this can be resolved by the Jan. 22 deadline,” commission member Derek Reckard said.