Harmar supervisors approved the rezoning of three undeveloped properties along the Allegheny River from industrial to residential to pave the way for a private group to build a parking lot so they can access Twelve-Mile Island.
Supervisors unanimously approved the change as the first step for Maple Island Campers Association, a private group of people who own camps on Twelve-Mile Island, to build a parking lot near the area of Wenzel Drive where they can park their vehicles and then take their boats over to the island.
Twelve-Mile Island is between Harmar and Oakmont in the Allegheny River and is home to dozens of cottages.
Township Engineer Matt Pitsch, of Senate Engineering, said the properties were part of the former Harmar Coal Company site. He said a parking lot would be the best use for them because they are in the flood plain and any kind of housing development would be unrealistic.
Pitsch said the initial plans call for 80 parking spots with two parking spots going to each person involved in the group.
The group still needs to submit a final proposal of their plans for the township to review including the specifics of the parking lot and stormwater management plans.
Two residents of Wenzel Drive came to voice their concerns at a public hearing on the rezoning that was held before the supervisors voted.
Dee Presnikar, who has lived on the street for nearly 70 years, had concerns about cars speeding down the street, which has a posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour, as well as driving at all hours of the day and night.
Pitsch said there are no restrictions for when people can access the parking lot, but he expects they will mostly drive in on Saturday mornings and leave Sunday afternoons because they typically access the camps on the weekends.
Resident Pamela Slaby worried about traffic being backed up and causing issues for residents.
Pitsch doesn’t expect the parking lot to cause any traffic backups or issues. He said the township could boost police patrols in the area if anything becomes an issue.